This column is meant to feature fashion content too but it appears it’s taking a different route. Lol.
This week’s post is inspired by Cheroldine Kanana; she asked me to dedicate one of my blog posts to making money as a creative. So today, I’ll be speaking on that.
Disclaimer: As usual I’m sharing what has worked for me.
START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW AND HAVE
Or just start!
Just like anything in life, you learn as you go. Nobody wakes up knowing everything.
So whatever it is you are passionate about, or interested in doing you’ll need to spend time researching, practicing and investing in it. Join a class, buy that camera, watch YouTube videos – invest in your craft.
PERSONAL LEVEL: I studied visual arts at UNAM – but 80% of what I know about graphic design I taught myself. School showed me what I needed and then I went out and got it.
Start to master your craft by creating everyday. Do passion projects, collaborate with other creatives, put out work. Just keep putting out content/work until you are happy with what you are producing, until people start noticing the work you are putting out, until people start asking to work with you, until you become the expert in that skill.
PERSONAL LEVEL: I started doing work for people in my final year, did freelance work while I did my internship and then started my passion project “Monochrome”, which also showed my style of work.
BECOME THE EXPERT
“Expert’ may be too big a word because you may still be learning, but once people start referring to you as an “expert” at a skill – you become sought after, you become the first name people say when someone asks “Do you know who can do this for me?”, “I need this done, do you know anyone?” – YOU! Because people care and trust what you think and do.
This is where you start making the money, if you know how to act.
PERSONAL LEVEL: I approached graphic design differently, marketed my skill differently and “became an expert” at minimal design.
GET YOUR THINGS IN ORDER
Now, you may have the skill but if you don’t have your sh*t together no one will want to give you their money.
At this point you will need to see yourself and your skill as a business whether YOU are your business or not.
- Register your company/brand
- Get a professional brand identity; logo, letterhead for your quotes and invoices, professional email address (domain)
- Adapt a work ethic; one that reflects the service you want to receive from any one you work with.
- Do your research, find out what your competitors are asking, look at the quality of your work and then charge accordingly.
If you think of yourself as a business, your potential clients will too. It will make it easier for them to choose to work with you.
PERSONAL LEVEL: When I first started, I worked as if my business were made of at least 10 people, I had the work ethic of an actual business, which made people think and trust that they were working with a professional person. It made it easier for them to trust me with their brands and their money.
As much as “word of mouth” is great, you’ll still need to market your business. Lucky for you social media is there for us.
Open accounts for your business on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and then market the hell out of your business. Because you won’t have money to use traditional marketing methods, make sure you up your social media skills. Regular posts, promoted posts, interesting content is what will make your business stand out.
PERSONAL LEVEL: I have never had to advertise on TV, Newspapers or radio till this day, the work I’ve received have all been through word of mouth and social media marketing. I trust the tool so much that I added that “skill” to my business model. I know offer social media marketing as a service.
Try not to slack, rest when you need to but keep the pace you had when you first started out. Staying consistent also means growing – learn a new skill to compliment your existing business model. Expand, become an expect at something else.
And then charge accordingly.
PERSONAL LEVEL: When I started out, I merely did graphic design, and then I added social media marketing and this year I’ve added website design. My skills have advanced and so has my business because of that, so much that I now have an admin assistant and an assistant designer.
These are some of the ways I’ve managed to make a living off my art as a graphic designer.
I hope this was helpful, if you have any questions – feel free to ask.
Till next Monday (Maybe it will be a fashion piece)
Betty Sibeso. (@bettysibeso)