You can make money as an artist
If it were easy to make money working online, almost everyone would be doing it. But monetizing your skills online isn’t as simple as it sounds, It requires more than access to a PC, access to WiFi and enviable writing or designing skills. A lot of discipline, hard work and due diligence ought to be exercised as well. Yes. As the old saying goes, nothing good comes easy.
Perhaps, you have launched a freelance writing career; and you want to know why you seem to have been unlucky in this lucrative business. You probably want to figure out how to be make money as an artist. If you’re such a creative artist, I have good news for you. I’ll show you how to boost your creativity and how you can increase your chances of earning a living from writing or designing.
Boosting creativity is something researchers have been talking about a lot, nowadays. Below are a few of the recommendations creativity experts and neurologists have offered:
- Get 7 – 8 hours of night sleep
- Avoid too many distractions (particularly from social media)
- Exercise (especially walking) boosts blood circulation to your brain and improves brain function
- Drink lots of water
- Eat a healthy diet (rich in minerals and vitamins)
Once you’ve got your creative juices flowing, you also have to learn how to monetize your talent. The first step is to learn to avoid the most common mistakes freelance artists often make. This point alone will be the focus of our article, mostly because it is key to the success of your freelance career.
Mistake #1: Failing To Acknowledge That Writing (or Any Art Form) Requires Hard work and Determination
Having a passion for writing or illustration (or design) is one thing; translating that love into money is another. We are all excited about the prospects of earning money from writing or illustration (or design) for the Web; but how many of us acknowledge the blood and sweat that goes into producing great content? Very few.
Many writers make the mistake of assuming that freelance writing or illustration (or design) is a walk in the park, so they jump into the ring unprepared. Such newbies don’t last long in the business.
To make a lot of money working from home as an artist, you ought to acknowledge the sheer amount of work and expertise required. You also need to employ a few of the following skills:
- Customer care management
- Ability to employ effective communication strategies
- Finance management and bookkeeping
- HR management
- Negotiation and mediation
- Be open to learning and self-improvement (take courses online and offline).
In other words, expect to handle work that is required at a 9 – 5 traditional office job.
Mistake #2: Wanting To Become A Jack Of All Trades
Resist the temptation to try out every job that has been advertised. Figure out your strengths and choose a niche you can flourish in. This way, you can channel energy into writing compelling proposals that will attract the right clients.
Providing excellent service should be your priority. Select a niche and become an expert at writing in that niche. The same goes for illustrators, designers or film makers. Find a niche and be the best you can be.
For instance, travel writing might be perfect for writers who like to travel; it might also appeal more to geography enthusiasts (if you enjoy travelogues, then go for travel article writing jobs). If you’re a foodie or an aspiring chef, then perhaps you should offer more food writing services or food art services. Education and tech enthusiasts will be better off writing about education and technology respectively.
Clients are eager to pay higher rates when they are dealing with niche artists. If you want to earn up to $100 per hour, pick a niche and become an expert at creating compelling and engaging works in your field.
Mistake #3: Failing To Work Regularly
Yes, you are in charge of your billable hours and resources. But this doesn’t mean you are at liberty to take the rest of the year off. To earn a decent living as a freelance artist, you need to be disciplined enough to stick to regular work hours.
Treat your writing/film making/ designing/photography like a business and it will pay you handsomely. Treat it like a hobby, and it will pay like a hobby.
Don’t make the mistake of treating your work like a hobby. Be proactive about your resolve to produce work regularly. You can set up a small home office in your house. Set strict work hours for yourself. Report at your work desk at say, 9 AM and work until 4 PM. Choose whatever works best for you.
Remember that great writing comes from daily practice. It’s time to stop dreaming and start creating.
Mistake #4: Wasting Finances On Unnecessary Resources
Before I launched my freelance writing career, I wondered whether I really needed to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional website. I didn’t have the money and so I thought I should try other feasible methods available to low budget writers, like me, who wanted to get well-paying freelance writing jobs.
The first thing I did was to join online freelancing sites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork and PPH. In my second month, I earned twice more than I earned when I had my traditional (day) job. I started getting referrals on LinkedIn and Skype.
Be sure to avoid the following mistakes when you register on freelance hiring sites:
- Writing for free: Beware of scamming agents who ask for sample (test) jobs. 99.9% of the time, they are on the prowl for cheap labor or free work.
- Choose one or two freelance hiring platforms at a time. It is impossible to be active on more than one site at a time. Inactivity can ruin your overall job success score and affect your chances of getting good freelance writing gigs.
- Don’t be so desperate as to accept underpriced jobs.
- Resist the temptation to be lured off the platforms. Clients who ask you to email them or Skype them are often looking for free jobs.
Don’t waste money buying books that claim to teach you to make money online. What you need is a good mentor and the zeal to start.
Taking a course is also a good idea so long as you put everything you learn into practice, which brings me to my next point.
Mistake #5: Failing To Master The Art of Delegation and Task Allocation
Creative artists are very busy people. In fact, the more successful the artist, the busier he/she is likely to be. Sadly, many creative artists fail to delegate tasks to team members or tools. Before long, the artist begins to feel depressed, burnt out and unproductive. The brain gets tired when you joggle too many tasks and try to do everything on your own.
Shun the self-enhancement bias. You simply can’t do everything on your own. Resist the temptation to spread yourself too thin, to micromanage everything. Delegate discretionary tasks so that you can:
- Boost your productivity
- Improve the quality of your work
- Protect your mental and physical health
- Increase your efficiency and meet deadlines.
Most successful creative artists prefer to work in quiet, often isolated spaces. While they are at work, they focus on the thing that matters the most at that moment—a book, a music sheet, a painting, a film. They can’t afford to be distracted by discretionary tasks. So they do what most successful people do: they delegate authority to team members. They also automate most tasks. They use task allocation software like Google Drive, Trello, Asana, Dropbox, Slack and Time Doctor. Is it any wonder they are so creative and highly productive?
Mistake #6: Planning and Strategizing, But Never Really Starting
Granted, starting a new business can be daunting. We know the statistics. One out of two businesses fails within the first year. We don’t want to be on the wrong side of the statistics, and so we plan, strategize and then we plan and re-strategize some more. But our business goals and objectives will not be achieved by merely mapping out well-laid plans.
Perfectionists should channel their perfectionism into creating and delivering high-quality work for clients. Yes, that’s the best place to start. Remember my fourth point. Join a freelance platform and just start delivering great work. After all, you’ll need money to get that professional writing website and all the other resources people assume that writers need.
Final thoughts on Common Mistakes Freelance Artists Make (And how to Avoid Them)
Any hardworking artist can become successful at working from home. All you need is the right mentor, a freelancer-hiring platform and a bit of good fortune.
Are you a budding or established freelance writer/filmmaker/photographer/illustrator/designer? What mistakes did you make? How did you overcome the challenges you encountered on your journey?