Creative Freelancer’s Guide-to-Success (Part 1)

The creative freelancer’s guide to success. How to create quality content, effectively reach your target audience, and consistently progress.

    Let’s be real - people know you can do it on your own now. It’s no secret that if you try hard enough.. you can successfully work for yourself. Even if that does mean scraping by! 

    It’s 2019. Young people would rather control where their time, money, and future is going.  We know we have control of it, because all the cool influencers are doing it right?! Ha - all jokes aside. This is a real thing (a movement, if I may) and people are hoping on this bandwagon.

    The creative market has been growing. Fast. Influencers, photographers, and other creatives are growing with it.  They are thriving, connecting, and learning the way of the trade. This way of living is a new one, and not everyone is taking to it kindly.  I’ve personally received the look of disapproval from more than a few elders upon revealing what I do for a living. I have to brush it off and remember that times are changing.  Unfortunately, my colored hair & funky style doesn’t appeal to everyone yet.  

    In a world full of technology, desired jobs are growing scarce, and brands are becoming more “choosey.” It’s a world of hungry fish, and there’s about to be a creative famine. In a sea of fish, you must to be the shiniest, most-driven, impressive sea creature. 

    As it becomes more and more difficult to concentrate on what really matters, here’s a list that I compiled to *hopefully* help you become a better creative freelancer.. whatever you may do!

Be original.

    I know, I know. This may be most cliche advice in the book. Be original, and the real people will follow. Sounds a bit Hallmark, but heck - it’s a great motto. 

    Creating content that reflects you, not someone else’s work, will benefit you greatly now & in the future. Who wants to grow towards someone else’s goals or aspirations? 

    Create your own, be you – and the connections, jobs, and motivation will follow! Now, I know I’ve got at least one person sitting here, confused – because they love inspiration images/artists. I get it - they help you create & you’re baffled by how that could be unoriginal.  *Let’s not get this twisted.* Inspiration, mood boards, etc. are different from copying someone’s work or idea to call it your own. 

     There’s a fine line between loving someone’s work so much that it inspires you to create something new (maybe a tad out of your element), and straight-up stealing an idea and calling it your own.  With that being said - do you, and the real people will follow.

Wake up every day with a schedule. Know what you want.

    No one wants to hire creatives who don’t know what they want.  It doesn’t have to be rocket science.  I’m a victim of falling into a schedule-less routine too, and let me tell you - it’s going to hold you back.  Wake up with a schedule, and know what you want.

    I can already see my audience gawking at their screens, “crap, I’m never going to be able to keep up with a day-to-day schedule.” Don’t worry, I’m right there with you, and I’m not perfect.. Though, I can tell you that I know that scheduling works!  Journals - notebooks - anything tangible that you can carry around and spout out ideas, plans, or goals.

    Bullet journals are an incredible way to keep up with your day-to-day activities, emotions, and more.  I highly recommend this if you’re looking for fun in the boring-adult-scheduling-stuff.  On the flip side, a simple planner from your local Walgreens (or whatever your heart desires) will do just fine!  I use one with time slots for each day, along with a “notes” section & an additional page for each day. It works great for me, but some of my friends like to get fancy – Maybe one day I’ll meander into the adventurous side!

“It’s been a hard road to success, and I don’t feel supported working independently.”

    If someone is making you feel crappy about your work, you don’t need that energy!  Creative criticism is one thing, but it’s definitely not-cool if someone is dissing your work, or intentionally trying to steal your light. In my experience, the people who are unsupportive or critical of your work are probably in a spot that they don’t want to be in life (and might be a little jealous).  

    Feeding off that topic, I want to share a story about the beginning of my photography career. I was only 19 years old. Fresh out of HS, full of ambition. Up until then, the past 2 years meant building my portfolio, working towards publications, connecting with other artists around the globe, and even starting my own independent fashion magazine. 

    I had a lot of buzz as a young one. During that time, I saw the true colors of a few close friends.  In a very unfortunate circumstance, I had to lose one that was very close to me. 

    They couldn’t watch my success, and sadly, weren’t where they needed to be in life yet. Those were the words that summed up our last conversation.  I held onto that text message for quite some time.. I read it occasionally as a reminder to concentrate on what makes me happy, and that sometimes, it won’t always make others happy.

    This was one of the biggest lessons that I learned, and I still love telling the story. It’s a story of sadness, losing a loved one, and learning that, sometimes, even though it would be ideal, people don’t always feel happy for you the way that you’d like.

Lastly, make a list of goals.

   Yes, YOU. Goals.  List.  Right now! Sit down & brainstorm – don’t wait any longer. Think about what you want right now, in the future, and who you want to be.

    Are you working towards that goal every day, are you growing, and are you passionate about it?  Start with these questions, and let them spiral into aspirations and dreams about the future.  Let those dreams turn into reality by making a step-by-step plan, including those goals I was talking about. 

    Goals form habits, and habits are who you are.  Goal-oriented people not only find success easier, but they find the happiness with it.  How kick ass is it to realize that you’ve just crossed a check-point, or that you landed that client you’ve been dying to for years!? It’s the best feeling, no-doubt.  

    Are your marbles turning yet?  Brain juices flowing?  I hope so!! Grab that pen and start writing, thinking, brainstorming!  Find your good JuJu & stay tuned for Part 2.  I’ll be touching on how to reach a target audience, talking the Instagram algorithm, progression, and more.

Coming Soon: Creative Freelancer’s Guide-to-Success (Part 2)

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