The Struggle is Real!
The Struggle is Real!
Finding the Balance
(if there is such a thing)
as a Free Lance Artist,
Self-Employed Business Owner
or Independent Contractor
I may very likely not be the best person to write this blog post since I still search for balance, but I certainly have experienced in the above descriptions. I have worked as a self-employed, independent contractor and/or business owner, and/or artist for much of my adult life. I have worked from home while raising my children and now work part-time in a traditional job in addition to working as a freelance pet portrait artist. I won’t tell you how many years that is but its a lot.
In some ways, this is been the best way for me to work because I could work from home and it utilizes my best qualities. I am creative and artistic. I have lots of ideas- some good, some not so much but I work well independently and am a hard worker.
This type of work arrangement also taxes my less desirable characteristics which are: while creating I am not very organized. While creating I am pretty engrossed in my work. I don’t make phone calls or check my e-mail. I hate paperwork/ record keeping. I am not a ‘number’ person or a ‘to-do list’ person. I hate math. I am math, paperwork and number phobic. (Just in case some future potential employer reads this- I can manage those things MUCH better in a structured environment. ie. Anywhere Not in my Art Studio.)
↓ This part applies to Artists, Creative Types. ↓
Artists also have this struggle between creating from their own internal inspiration vs. creating to someone else’s requirements/ expectations. The conflict is whether you create art for art’s sake and internal drive to express or for money’s sake and to make a profit. When your outward focus is to please a challenging and fickle market as a small fish in a very big ocean, it means putting yourself out into the public with marketing, self-promotion, advertising and rejection. It is not for the faint of heart. Some artists dislike the marketing aspect of art as a business. Some artists dislike the rigidness of creating for some external reward. Some artists get stuck in a cookie cutter mentality and feel they lose inspiration. There are many variations and anyone who is in a creative business understands that there is a difference between creating from your heart to creating for someone else as a business or to compete in some elusive market out there.
Once you are able to reconcile the art for art’s sake vs art as a business dilemma in your own mind, you can begin to refine your focus.
For Every Independent Contractor
Find Your Niche. Do something you love and do well. Don’t try to be everything for everybody. Find where your interests and talents intersect and focus on that sweet spot! Beware that any small business, on average, takes YEARS to be profitable. Work small and grow organically- don’t think you will be able to bite off a huge piece of the market. At best, hope you can break even in the beginning. Let your reputation and business grow by satisfied clients.
Learn how to use social media to your advantage. Social media can be a great way to attract business but at the same time, it can be a huge time waster. Learn from others examples but don’t try to take on everything. You will be overwhelmed. Remind yourself that building a business and reputation will be a marathon, not a sprint. Know that growing any business takes time.
Hang on to the day job for as long as you can. I am a huge proponent of not putting undue pressure on yourself- especially if what you do is ‘creative’ work. Nothing kills a creative spirit as fast as pressure and a deadline. On one hand, that is part of the process of learning how to look at your creative endeavor as a job, it is also one way to quelch the muse and bring about burn out. Find balance in moving toward your business goals and keeping your sanity AND your muse. It is a delicate balance at times.
I have some tools listed that can help you as you use Social Media for your creative business marketing. Blogging, Pinterest Pins, Tweets, Facebook Posts or Events, Instagram Business Pics all require 3 things.
1. Good Grammar and Spelling 2. Good Visuals 3. Good time management
Eliminate typos and glaring grammatical errors. I have used this for awhile now and think its great.
Use Polished Banners. The internet is a visual media. Looks count.
I have been using PicMonkey for years and now love it, even more, its new with the templates. It is easy to use and offers lots of features.
Give Affiliate Marketing a Try. More and more business offer affiliate programs. If you are online promoting or blogging already, I suggest you give it a try.
Social Media Management Tools like Commun-it can grow your reach and help you manage your online time.
Commun-it Social Media Management
If you, are anyone you know, are interested in a pet portrait or painting of your horse, please take at look at my work and website. I would love to talk about what you have in mind. I specialize in dogs, cats, horses, horse and rider, pet and owner, farm animal and wildlife paintings. I work from small custom stall signs to Life-Sized! Find me on: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FreeReinArtStudio/ Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/FreeReinArtStudio Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/sue_steiner/ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/freereinart/ Twitter https://twitter.com/saveaface Website: https://www.horseartonline.com