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A Foolproof Formula for Turning Your Creativity Into a Career

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Maybe you’d like to turn your creativity into a career but jokes about starving artists make you a little nervous. In reality, it is possible to make a living while making art.

Whether you’re an art student trying to figure out what to do after graduation or a professional thinking about making a career change, you can do something artistic with your life.

Find out how to channel your creative skills into a rewarding career.

Getting Started

While there are many paths to developing a creative career, the first steps are often similar. A strong foundation will help you navigate your way to success.

Use these strategies:

1. Identify your goals. Figure out what kind of art you’re passionate about. You may be drawn to website design, graphic designer or UX director or maybe technical writer or writing copy for marketing agencies.

2. Do your research. There are some creative careers that pay well if you want to start your own online marketing agency, become website builder, media director or marketing director. On the other hand, your prospects will probably be more limited if you want to carve penguins out of soap. Think about your target audience and what skills you’ll need to develop.

3. Create a portfolio. Organize and promote your work. Put together samples that you can post on social media and other portfolio sites such as Behance and be able show your work to potential clients.

4. Get a second job. You may need supplemental income at least temporarily. Look for a position related to your artistic interests or consider work that will leave you with enough time and energy to pursue your main objectives. Check out 99designs or Upwork.

5. Plan an exit strategy. Some artists or designers are content with a very small audience while others begin looking for another line of work. You may want to give yourself a set amount of time to succeed on your own terms before considering alternative options.

Working for Yourself

More than 40% of creative workers are self-employed, according to the Arts Council. Consider freelancing or starting your own business. In the book Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Starting and Running a Successful design Business (Voices That Matter) the author David Airey answers questions about starting your own business.

Follow these tips:

1. Budget carefully. How will you deal with startup costs and fluctuating income? Monitor your cash flow and build up your savings first. Use an accounting program like Freshbooks to stay on top of your clients, it makes invoicing and getting paid easy for the freelancer or entrepreneur.

2. Track your time. Without a boss expecting to see you from 9 to 5, you’ll need to take charge of your own schedule. Block out time for your most important priorities and give yourself enough days off to avoid burnout. Build a habit for your day. You can also track time and projects in Freshbooks.

3. Acquire business skills. Even if you hire an accountant and other professionals, it helps to understand the basics of financial management and customer service. Take courses at a local community college or take an online course. Envato Elements has their own training site Envato Tuts to build your skills with over 28,000 online tutorials. You can learn photoshop, instagram marketing, wordpress and the list goes on.

4. Share moral support. Network with other freelancers or consultants. Enjoy opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. Make the most of your network by creating introductions and providing referrals.

Revising Your Current Position

Smart companies value creative employees because they overcome challenges and spot promising opportunities. Regardless of your job title, you’ll be an asset if you approach your work like a freelance designer.

Consider these ideas:

1. Focus on innovation. Develop new ideas for increasing quality and saving time. Ask your coworkers for feedback and bring your proposals to your boss. Create your own exposure. Be visible. Use member sites like Envato Elements to get unlimited amazing creative ideas and resources to enhance your work.

2. Produce content. Your company probably has a website and Facebook page that they’d like to update more often. Volunteer to write articles, conduct interviews, or take photos.

3. Launch your brand. Pay attention to your own personal brand too. Borrow ideas from colleagues and products you admire while cultivating your own authenticity. Determine what you want to be known for. Create clarity of your core message. What do you want people to think about you?

4. Have fun being YOU. Redecorate your space if you are allowed to. Use your work environment to make a creative statement and keep your mojo. Choose colors that make you feel happy and productive as well as represent your style.

Find work that engages your talents and imagination. Use your artistic and design skills to earn a living or take a creative approach to whatever career you choose.

Download the free ebook that every small business owner needs to have: 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success


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