Before I started this project, I really had no clue what I did in a day.
If there’s no pictures, it didn’t happen as far as my memory is concerned
But when I recently had to write a piece on my experiences as a creative business owner and freelancer, I had to figure out what I actually did before I could start writing.
During this project I also came across a big problem…
It’s difficult to gauge your output in the early stages of being self-employed, and whether you’re working up to an industry standard.
Am I doing enough, or am I slacking off?
It’s too easy to lose track of time, especially when working on one big project over the course of days or weeks. It can be even easier to fall behind on your progress, unnoticed.
When you first start out your milestones cannot be measured by the money you make—this can make tracking your progress a lot more difficult.
You won’t be making anything your first day working for yourself. Maybe not the first week, or even the first month, but that doesn’t mean you’re not working hard.
I spent a lot of time feeling guilty whenever I wasn’t actively working on a paid project.
But a lot of what we do as self-employed people is unpaid labour—a lot of our time is devoted to unpaid tasks like social media marketing, promoting sales, applying to grants—leaving us with less time to look for more work, get commissions, and still finish passion projects…
There’s moments where it feels like all of your stress and hard work is for nothing. It gets hard, sometimes it will feel like it’s too hard. Comparing yourself too closely to others can leave you feeling shitty and dejected.
We get this way is because we often don’t have a clear overall vision of what we want to accomplish.
You may have a vague idea of what you want your life to look like in 5 years, but could you write it out on paper; fill a page or two?
This is an exercise I first started doing regularly because of Lavendaire, a successful content creator who focuses on minimalism and mindfulness. You write out your ‘Future Vision’, as she refers to it, which is basically everything you envision your life to be in a year; in 2 years; in 5 years.
Envision every detail you can picture, smell, hear, and to totally immerse yourself in whatever you want your future to be.
It’s easy to put off doing the things that will give us the most returns—it’s a lot easier to paint a canvas than to sell it when you’re finished—but taking a look at my future needs and having an overall theme for my life has been a great way to be consistent in my efforts, both in my professional and my personal life.
A huge part of creating compelling artwork is storytelling, or effectively content marketing.
It’s not enough to say “Buy my art!”, these days. It no longer speaks for itself; you need to breathe life into your work with refreshing words and flowing phrases.
You can have the most beautiful art in the world, but all people care about is a good story. If you’re not saying anything with your work, no one will resonate with it — and no one will buy it.
Social media is a content marketing goldmine, and now with shoppable posts it’s easier than ever to make money off Instagram and Facebook.
All you need is a clear vision of where you want to go with your creative business.
One of the many ways to clarify that looks like is with a social media marketing strategy.
For example, I use my content to show off my designs, get in touch with my audience, and promote my projects. In tandem with well-written captions, frequent posts are a great way to start a conversation or to get feedback on what your project while you’re still working on it!
What will you use your platform for?
I want you to download this FREE worksheet so you can get started with setting your goals to clearly see where you’re going with your creative business!
If you’re still feeling like you’re missing something, go read about how to build your confidence and business as well as advice on establishing your niche to gain some footing in your content marketing plan.
Until next time, look below for some of my other digital reading materials to keep you busy during quarantine!
Joey @ The A/J
Joey Dean is an illustrator and artist lifestyle blogger.
Since starting his online art-based business in 2016, Joey has been writing educational articles to help other artists learn essential solo-preneur skills like time management and productivity and is best known for his ability to translate left-brained concepts for right-brained people.
Share his passion for comics and creative lifestyle on his blog, The Artist Journal, and catch him at @joeytoadstool across the universe.