“Creative isn’t the way I think, it’s the way I like to live” – Paul Sandip
Image by Ian Schneider via Unsplash
Are you looking to quit your 9 to 5 and pursue creative living? Perhaps you are still on the fence, thinking whether or not to start your own freelance business, or maybe just curious about the creative industry in general. If you relate to one of the above then this blog post is dedicated to you!
The Creative Girlboss team is here to share with you a few important truths through our experience, to help prepare you before you embark on your creative journey.
Image by AJ Garcia via Unsplash
1. It is not about having more time but more control over your time
Often when we tell others that we work from home, some of the most common comments we hear are such as: ‘you must be very free’, ‘that must be so relaxing’, ‘means you can go out anytime you like’, and so on. Well, that is so not true! Yes, we are not confined to an office space and we do not have to report in to a building, that DOES NOT mean that we work less hours compared to anyone who sits in an office. In fact, most creatives actually work nonstop from the moment we are awake till we lay our head to rest.
Yes, it is true that we may be able to run our errands at mid day while most people are at the office, but we come back and continue working till late in the evening. The perk is to be able to control how we utilise our hours in the day flexibly, but it does not mean we put in less effort and are more ‘free’. Just as the Founder of Artsy Craftsy, Shia Lynn says it, as much as we love our job, when we run a creative business, every hour, every material and every effort put in counts.
2. Productivity is key, discipline and hard work never grows old
This leads us to point number 2, it all comes down to productivity. Siting in the office does not mean you are entirely productive over the course of 8 hours. The truth is we quit the 9 to 5 to do the 10 to 10. Why do we say that? That is because creatives are thinking all the time, and a lot of discipline is needed to plan, complete and perfect a task, or to sharpen our skills. Also, as creatives we take pride in our work and we often put our heart and soul into it, which requires immense hard work.
In our Time Management for a Creative Entrepreneur article, we mentioned that you basically now manage YOURSELF rather than having a company manage you. Now it is time for you to set these work guidelines for yourself, but the great thing is you can set your own time, and decide your own job description. Discipline is essential to help balance what you love to do, at the same time earn you a living to keep doing it.
Image by Roman Kraft via Unsplash
3. Money matters: Always planning and thinking ahead
Most, if not all freelancers are constantly thinking ahead and taking a leap of faith in terms of money. This is because we never know when the pay check is going to come. We are always seeking out for new opportunities for the next week, month, or even year!
Multitasking is our best friend, while we are in the midst of completing a current project, we are already starting another with a different client. At times, the most common mistake a creative entrepreneur can make is taking on every project that comes their way, and it becomes more than they can bear. However, that is not the best thing to do. It is always good to pace ourselves, take on what we know we can chew and the rewards will surely come. In the meantime, if you would like to make the most out of your earnings, you can check out our How to Safe Money While You Work from Home Article.
Image by Alice Achterhof via Unsplash
4. Learn how to say NO: Do not give away your work for free
This happens A LOT and it WILL happen to you. There will be that one client, who will request for a ‘friendship discount’ or ask for you to do the favour or work at no cost. SAY NO to these request as gently and as respectfully as possible.
Why? This is because people and society have to learn that creative work takes a lot of time and energy. Remember that it took you years to receive an education, build and sharpen that skill to do what you do today. By saying no, you are actually teaching others to treasure your art. By saying no, you are changing mindsets and the perception towards creativity. By saying no, you are indirectly adding value and significance to other artists and creators out there. In short, the work that you do is precious enough to not let anyone take away its value or take advantage of it.
Pic by Annie Spratt via Unsplash
5. You won’t have everything your way, at least not all the time
We briefly mentioned this in our Quote of the Month article. In terms of servicing clients in a creative industry, what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and what is deemed to be ‘great work’ is most of the time very subjective. What you think is beautiful or impressive, may be very different from what your client would think or can accept in this creative world. It all comes down to good management, understanding your client and communication.
Of course, you as a creative entrepreneur have the opportunity to offer your recommendations to steer them to the right direction, but at the end of the day it will have to please and cater to the client’s needs. Therefore, in that sense you might have to sometimes sacrifice what you think is best. If not, worst come to worst, choose not to accept that one job that contradicts your beliefs.
On the other hand, worry not as there will always be people who will engage you, seek you and trust you wholeheartedly in your art direction and allow you to express your creative work to its fullest potential.
We hope these truths help guide you and gave you insights one way or another. For more business advice check out here.