Do you feel like your creative freelancer career isn’t propelling as fast as you want it to? Do you want to take the next big step and start monetizing off of your creative skills? If so, this post is for all of our photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, and writers out there! So without further ado, let’s get started!
If the opportunity does not exist, create it.
— iRose Social
1. Strive to the best in your field.
Before you even apply marketing strategies towards growing your freelance career, you need to be able to truly excel at your skillset and know how to maximize your strengths.
Truth be told, not many people are meant to succeed in the creative freelancer industry because of two key factors - lack of direction and lack of self-motivation. Because you become your own boss, there’s no stable and consistent 9-5 paycheck that will appear in your bank account by the end of the day. In other words, your hustle determines your paycheck.
However, one absolute way to know that you’re meant for the creative field is that you strive to be the absolute best at what you do - that you have the determination and ambition to put your best foot forward every passing day. Additionally, you need to be able to develop a unique strength from your skillset and create value from your work to make a living out of this lifestyle. Essentially, your skillset needs to carry a “marketability” factor. Marketability is derived from a combination of your unique skillset, profound research of competitors, and basic knowledge of current trends. If you want to monetize off of your creative content, your work needs to have buyer value.
For example, if you are the greatest coffee mug photographer of all time but there is no audience or customer base for that, you lack buyer value. Therefore, your chances of monetization are slim.
2. Develop two skillsets that complement each other.
The creative industry is filled with “sharks” who are always trying to outcompete you. By developing two (or more) skillsets that that go hand-in-hand, you automatically rank higher in the hierarchy of creative freelancers. The bottom line is that launching a creative freelancer career is difficult, especially if your specific field has limited job opportunities. However, if you manage to acquire two complementary skillsets, this versatility will only widen up your job opportunities in the creative workplace. By being the jack of all trades, you become invaluable to your employer.
For example, if you are an established blogger who promotes products through sponsored social media posts but you’re also a professional photographer, you widen up the number of job opportunities available to you. Additionally, you can increase your rates because you can offer more services and/or create a content creation/social media promotional package deal with a client.
Other examples include:
- Illustrator who picks up a graphic designer position
- Blogger who picks up a journalism position
- Writer who picks up an English tutor position
- Social Media Influencer who picks up a social media manager position for other companies
By being a versatile and highly adaptable worker, you have a higher chance of being able to monetize from multiple outlets. As a passionate creative freelancer fighting for your dreams, struggle and uncertainty is inevitable. However, the key is to keep your momentum going and not give up when times are tough. Coming from two freelancers who have experienced the ups and downs of forging their own careers, we encourage you to stay focused and not lose sight of your goals. With passion, hard work, and good intentions, you’ll discover for yourself that the creative freelancer lifestyle is highly rewarding. By securing your dream freelancer career, there’s no greater satisfaction than building a career purely from scratch doing what you love for the rest of your life.
3. Connect with like-minded and inspiring freelancers in your field.
Although the idea of developing a strong network with ambitious and like-minded individuals is often overlooked in the creative industry, the most successful freelancers ensure that they effectively connect with inspiring mentors and supportive allies. In fact, befriending individuals in the same creative field serves as one of the most effective ways to drastically push you further towards achieving your goals.
By sharing a similar vision and end goals, you naturally become a more driven and focused individual when you surround yourself with compatible, hard-working individuals. In addition to compatibility, you also need to have a good read of character and form a mutually beneficial partnership where you both can grow and learn from each other. When you both set short-term and long-term goals, you naturally hold each other accountable and ensure that you rise to the top together.
4. Be at five different places at once.
As a creative freelancer, one of the top methods to increase the visibility of your brand is to take advantage of free online advertising platforms. Not only does this include all social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, but you should also look into creative freelance websites such as Behance, FreeeUp, and Honeybook, etc. By being active on multiple influential platforms and advertising methods, you can further expose your brand to potential clients. Ultimately, the key to increasing sales is a combination of providing relevant services with high buyer value and increasing brand awareness to reach new leads.
In addition to promoting yourself on numerous social media channels, you also need to be constantly reaching out to brands for available work opportunities. Introduce yourself, your services, and inquire if the brand or client is interested in creating a partnership with you. If the brand isn’t interested at the moment (or at all), kindly request that they keep your records on file if they do happen to open up a new opportunity. And if all goes well and the brand accepts your proposal, then congratulations - you’ve scored a new client to add to your professional portfolio!
Also, the brutal truth comes down to the fact that if you hold the talent but lack the opportunity, you are simply not working hard enough. If you truly believe that you have the ability and potential to make it big in the creative freelancer world, then you should be able to without excuses or complaints.
5. Be persistent and proactive.
If you sit around and wait for a work opportunity to come knocking on your door, think again - it’s probably not going to happen. It’s like waiting for fetch to happen. Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen!
All humorous Mean Girls references aside, opportunities will only come to those who are persistent and proactive in chasing their short-term and long-term goals.
The route to becoming an established creative freelancer involves the act of continually searching for opportunities and honing your skillsets. As a creative freelancer, utilizing one’s time wisely is a critical step towards growing his or her brand. Limit distractions by focusing on your current goal, and always jump at the opportunity to increase your productivity. If you strive to build an iconic brand that successfully creates high buyer value without compromising your unique creative style, you’ve found the secret formula for success.