Deep down, you know you need to follow your creative passion to be happy in life. However, you also need to make ends meet. It is possible to do both — you probably follow some people who do on Instagram or TikTok — but perhaps you just don’t know how. Here are some ways to get discovered and make a living as an artist or other creative.
Sometimes as a creative, it’s easy to think of yourself as not needing to be organized or practical. Popular media is full of images of creatives as anarchic, absent-minded geniuses who are too focused on their art to remember to eat. While this can happen, the simple fact is that most successful creative people combine their talent with hard work and organization. The first step is to get your documents and artwork into a logical, easy-to-access digital archive. Perhaps you have files you’ve worked on here and there, on different devices, and in various folders. When you get a good idea, and some spare time to work on your project, you can’t find the files you need. Try using cloud storage, like Dropbox or Google Drive, so you can access your files from anywhere. If you have large projects with multiple types of files, Scrivener allows you to import your various types of files into categories and folders all in one program. Then, when you’ve finished something you’re proud of, you need to make sure you’re ready to share it when the opportunity arrives.
It’s also a good idea to set aside a designated area to be your office, studio, or workshop. And if you need to make some home renovations to make that happen, such as converting a garage or renovating a spare room, good news: certain home improvements have the added bonus of raising your home’s overall appraisal value as well!
Network with friends and business acquaintances to bring yourself to their attention and grow your audience. Regardless of where you live, it’s a simple matter to contact old and current friends, either face-to-face or via video. Sending out personalized emails is a way to promote your creative achievements and to request those within your circle to refer their friends to your work.
Raise Your Profile
While it might be nice to think it’s as simple as “build it, and they will come,” the fact is that you might have the most wonderful artistic creation in history, but that’s no good if nobody sees it. While you can still pursue traditional routes like magazines, galleries, or other exhibition venues, these days, sharing on social media can make you famous almost from the beginning. Also, consider sharing your work and ideas by creating your own website using a company like Squarespace. Having your own website makes you appear more professional, and it means that even if you’re caught without your portfolio of work at hand, you can always direct people to your site.
Making a living as a creative takes some work, but the rewards are many – including a great deal of personal freedom. By following the steps above, you, too, can make a living while following your artistic passion.
Jill Crossland works with entrepreneurs and serves as the editor of an online magazine. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!