Being a creative entrepreneur in today’s world is not always easy. Whether you’re a photographer, web designer, musician or fine artist, self-employment is certainly not a process without challenges.
However, as the world begins to normalize remote working, more opportunities for self-promotion and connecting with buyers are opening up. You no longer have to rely exclusively on word-of-mouth and reputation for selling your skills to the public. There are many growing platforms designed for creative entrepreneurs to share their services with an international audience.
The struggles around creative entrepreneurship lie mainly in two areas: getting started and keeping momentum.
Yes, the creative sphere is saturated with scores of talented artists and creatives. But if you’ve got something to offer that’s both valuable and unique, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t succeed.
If you’re new to the creative entrepreneurial field, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s go through nine key steps you can take towards autonomous career success.
Before you can convince anyone else what your skills are and why they should invest in them, you need to answer these questions for yourself.
Who are you, as a creative?
What ideas do you draw on for inspiration?
What made you want to start creating?
The answers to these questions are ones you will have to repeat over the course of your career trajectory. Finding out what they are now will make you a stronger and more confident artist.
Clients and onlookers alike will want to know what sets you apart from other creatives in your field. Plus, they’ll want to grasp a tangible idea of what kind of work to expect from you in the future.
Cultivate a persona, refine it, and find a way to articulate it to the rest of the world.
Your vision is where you see yourself going in the future.
What are the goals you’d like to accomplish?
What kind of jobs are you setting yourself up for?
In your ideal world, what does the future hold for you as a creative entity?
While these kinds of self-analyzing questions might seem unnecessary, they are ultimately what defines you within your target market. And what advertises your skills to clients and other creatives within your sphere?
The creative world can be fickle and curious. Particularly for musicians, fine artists, designers, and photographers, entering these fields requires no short supply of self-awareness and charisma.
Having a clear, definitive vision for your future as a creative will indicate three things: you have ambition, you understand your talents, and you’re committed to achieving your goals.
The first thing that most clients will care about when they stumble across your name is your portfolio. They want to see exactly what you are capable of and whether your work is compatible with what they’re looking for. If you don’t have a solid, well put together portfolio, you’ll lose out on numerous opportunities.
Spending a significant amount of time producing a wide body of work will give you the edge over your competitors. It will also keep you on a continuously evolving path of creative exploration. There is no limit to what you can create. Put in those hours and prove to yourself what you’re made of.
Once you know who you are and where you are going, it’s time to spring-clean your online profiles. You need to focus on creating an attractive, on-brand website or social media presence that’s easily discoverable for clients.
Even the greatest creatives will struggle to find work if they are not properly showcased. You need a solid, smooth-functioning and appealing online presence that potential clients or interested parties can follow and invest in your vision.
Look, there are a lot of creative entrepreneurs out there—but are all of them experienced and professional?
You need to stand out from the crowd by being an excellent communicator and adopting professionalism as your new best friend.
Some of the best work opportunities you ever encounter will hinge on how professionally you conduct yourself. Be informed, be prepared, be prompt. Don’t waste your client’s time and never let a client waste yours. Even if you’re unsure of yourself at first, keep pushing yourself to maintain high standards of professionalism. If you have to, fake it till you make it!
Collaboration projects are one of the most mutually beneficial things you can do as a creative professional. You and the other people working in your field can use all the exposure they can get. Working together with someone else can give you both exposure and experience.
Working with others is a serious skill that you won’t have many opportunities to exercise if you are a solo entrepreneur. Collaborating with others will give you the chance to become more communicative, flexible, and hireable for future projects.
Creatives can often be controlling or guarded around their ideas. But collaboration teaches the necessary lesson of compromise. And at the end of the process, you get to share your combined efforts with each other’s audiences, ever-expanding your network of potential clients.
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is thinking that they’ve learned everything there is to know about their craft. If you want to play the long game, being consistently open to new challenges, skills, and techniques will be the fuel that takes you there.
It’s true that consistency is key to cultivating a good reputation. But that consistency should apply more to quality than it should to technique.
Sometimes, changing things up (or even starting from a completely new perspective) can give your work the push it needs to go to the next level. Using different software, trying out a new type of printer, or mastering a specific technique are all things you shouldn’t be afraid of. What’s the worst that can happen? You learn something…
Stay committed to your craft, stay connected to yourself, and never give up on your vision.
Establishing yourself as a creative professional is an ongoing job. You need to continually hone your skills, market yourself, and update your portfolio. The trick is to focus on the future.
Know where you’ve come from, but understand where you want to be, and keep on moving forward. Use your creativity in every way you can and make it count.