When I had started teaching at a local college about the creative process of illustration, I found myself talking a lot about the entrepreneurial aspects of it as well. It didn’t matter if your skills were the best on the block – if you didn’t know how to make the best of it, well then you’re not going to get far.
But so many artists and illustrators get it wrong. They think that if their work is good, then it should speak for itself. They think that if they weren’t getting picked up by clients, publishers, buyers, etc., that it just means that they’re not good enough. And so they try, again and again – and somewhere along the way they get lucky – they get picked. Fueled by the acknowledgement, they work harder, only to have their confidence plummet again because they weren’t picked, unlike before. They start to find a part-time job. Money is tight. Their passion dwindles. They eventually settle for a full-time job that they loathe. “It’s only temporary”, they mutter. But is it?
I’ve contemplated on heading back to a full-time job when I first started out as a freelancer. The pressure was too much during those first couple of years – I had a mortgage and bills to pay, and there were essential things that I wanted to save up for. A fridge. A washing machine. There were days when it was great, and there were also times when the thought of not knowing where my next income might come from made it hard. But each time I stared at the classifieds, I felt my heart sink. Each time I put it away.
I never did get a full-time job after all, only one part-time gig to tide me over a few months, and I have never looked back for the past 4 years. It was only from my second year of freelancing did I start to reap the rewards that I’ve so carefully sown from the beginning. A lot of it was about relationships – ones that I never stopped cultivating, even before I left the corporate world. I made new contacts, which lead to even more work, which eventually snowballed to even bigger opportunities. I’ve carved a name for myself in a niche industry. I’ve come to a point where I have to turn down projects, lucrative as it may be so that I can pursue what I love: teaching.
And today marks the day where I launch my first solo online class for aspiring artists and illustrators who want to find their footing in this big bad digital world. So starting in September, for 6 weeks, I’ll be guiding artists and illustrators on how to hone in on their style and story, and how to turn their skills into a viable business while having fun along the way.
I’ll be teaching you the things that I’ve learnt along my journey, along with the results of my careful observations of artists and illustrators over the past 6 years. I’m going to touch on marketing (and no, it’s not a dirty word) and how the spirit of generosity will create not only goodwill, but massive opportunities for yourself.
I’ll teach you how to recognize opportunities and hunt them down (without making people cringe at you!), how to differentiate yourself from the sea of other talents out there, how to build your presence effectively, how to self-promote fearlessly and how to make money from your art.
Ultimately, I want to provide you with skills that are future-proof. Skills that can stretch far beyond what you believe you’re capable of, so that by the end of the course, you’ll have your very own road map and strategies to create great work, and the ability to find opportunities and income wherever you go and whatever you do.
If this is something that you’ve been looking for, then I invite you to come check out Work / Art / Play. It starts from 16th September 2013 and enrollment is now open for 3 weeks. I’m really excited about this class and I hope you are too!
SHARE WITH US:
What strategies did you put into motion that has helped you along your way to becoming a more successful creative business owner? What advice would you have to share with others so that they can avoid the heartache that you went through?