I’ve spent a decade and a half getting paid for creative work and running my own show (also called being a freelance designer). There’s a weird intersection of creativity, business and money, that can be hard to navigate at times. Here are a few things I’ve learned about making a sustainable living being creative.
- Get paid for every job you do. Free will always end up costing you.
- Don’t let anyone try to put your creativity into a process that doesn’t work for you.
- Feel important, creative work is an importart part of every advancement, launch and product ever.
- Take credit, and most of all — get credit (for everything you do).
- You are responsible for the work you create. So don’t create something if you can’t stand behind it.
- Push your limits, knowledge and problem-solving skills every single time or you’ll get bored very quickly.
- Own your expertise and stand up for it. You were hired to be an expert, not a yes-person to every bad idea management or your client has.
- Don’t force your work. Walk away instead, come back to it later.
- Be yourself in every situation and let that shine through in every piece of work you put your name to.
- Walk away from a job/project if you have to. Even if good money is attached to it.
- Recharge as often as possible doing entirely work-unrelated things.
- Get inspired by everything that is not: in your office, at your desk or on your computer screen.
Few can balance creativity and business (and stay relatively sane). So if you’re doing that, congratulations — you my friend, are awesome. And if you’re still getting there — it’s worth it when you do.