A creative career is a dream for all too many people. Whether they paint, draw, write or make music, too many feel it’s impossible to make their passion into a career. Others simply don’t know where to start and stop before they’ve truly begun, relegating their artwork to the back of the dream closet. But what if I told you that you can methodically approach your art form as a career, building it systematically and increasing your chances of turning it into a viable source of sustenance?
The first and most important part of preparing to turn your passion into your career is developing a representative portfolio. No matter what you do, you’ll need to have work representative of your ability available for potential clients to look at. Obviously, you need to ensure this work is of the highest quality you can produce, and if you already have a portfolio, now is the time to weed out the less amazing works. Go through it ruthlessly; you’re actually better off presenting a small number of exceedingly good works than a large number of more mediocre ones.
While you’re polishing your portfolio, it’s important to ensure it’s well-presented, too. For example, if you’ve got a website online that showcases your work, it can be tempting to build whatever you can throw together and host for free. But paying for a custom-built website needn’t cost the earth. Spend a little bit of money just to get something professional-looking; after all, people looking for an artist will undoubtedly want someone who can present him- or herself professionally and knows how to play the game to some degree.
Lastly, be willing to do a few things for free. It may not seem to make financial sense, but when you dig deeper than the face of it, you’ll find that the advertising you get, and the credits on your CV as an artist, are well worth the effort of contributing to something for free. Look for charity assignments and people needing help who are not necessarily able to pay for it. You can often find that this paves the way to paid work. The contacts you make whilst performing these works will also help you make in-roads towards more interesting projects.
Creative careers are certainly not a sure thing, but if you realise that no career truly is and that you can approach it rationally and professionally to build it up one piece at a time, you can turn your talent into a job you could truly love doing.