Tuesday, 13 March 2012
I've read plenty of blog posts and articles about how to be a successful freelancer which have all been very useful and have helped me out a lot when it comes to self promotion, costings and profesh stuff like that. At this stage of my career I'm the last person to ask about all that jazz (although I do have a wealth of expertise, ahem, when it comes to screen printing.) I don't want to just reiterate what has been said a hundred times before so I have decided to share a few things that have kept *me* going on the magical road of illustration so far.
1 - Get to know your working patterns. If you wake me up at 7 in the morning and expect me to stay awake or thank you for it you obviously don't know me very well and shouldn't be in my house. What you will get is a smack in the face, hurled profanities & cushions and nothing more until about 10 o'clock when my brain will switch on (with the aid of a cup of tea). What I mean to say is don't punish yourself for not getting up at 7 when you are not a morning person, if you force yourself then you won't get the best out of your creativity, find out what is best for you.
2 - Don't get caught up in the social media maze. Self promotion is key to 'getting your work out there' and having an internet presence is a big part of that but be wary! Social media can lead to procrastination, procrastination leads to anger at a wasted day and anger leads to the dark side. You won't miss that amazing opportunity if you don't check your entire twitter feed, or you might, c'est la vie. I have found a lot of work off twitter so it is worth it. Using something like Hootsuite is great for preparing all your tweets & Facebook updates and timing them to be sent out, letting you get on with the all important drawing.
3 - Eat well, drink well! Don't expect to be working your best when all you've had to eat is cake and cheese. (Oops!) Make sure you're getting your vitamins and everything Jamie Oliver wants school kids to have, they will help keep up your energy and concentration. You will be surprised how healthy eating can improve your mood.
4 - Be pro-active! What you mean I have to talk to people? Argh! Yup. Send out your work. Tell people you'd like to work for them. Build connections. You can't rely on people finding you in the masses of illustrators in the world. (This is one thing I find v.hard but always pays off.)
5 - Work out a cash flow forecast. When you start out paid work is hard to come by and not a regular occurrence so a part time job is important to pay the bills. If you're lucky it will be something related to what you love doing, if you're even luckier you won't have to work (*shakes fist at the lucky ones*) Either way it's important to keep track of your money. It's good to have that feeling of control over your pennies that means you can start to make plans.You can work out when is a good time to take on a few extra hours at the part time job, calculate how much money you would need to be making to afford to rent a studio, or like I've just done, factor in splashing out on an A3 scanner in a good-money month.
Wowza, that's a long post, thanks for reading I hope it's been useful! If you have any wisdom to share leave a comment below :)