Facing (Some) Freelancing Fears — Part 1
Frequently, when I am asked questions about illustration or freelancing, I have already blogged about it or answered it in my FAQ, so I generally direct people to those resources whenever I can.
There are of course still plenty of questions that I have not answered and when one of these pops up, I will usually take the time to write a detailed answer from my perspective. Then with the permission of the questioner, I will post the response for my readers, because sharing is caring and makes us collectively, a more well informed segment of the workforce, thus increasing our cumulative sway in business.
Marcus got in touch with me through my Facebook account (add me here) and has been following my work and blog. He asked me some things that touched me on a personal level and I felt that I needed to answer them, mostly for Marcus, but a little for me as well.
The post primarily delves into certain aspects of the mentality needed for freelancing, how to face fears, feeling like a fraud, style, things of that nature, not so much on the business side of things — hence the “Some” in the title.
As the second part of my response is long, I have decided to break this into two separate blog posts.
I sincerely hope you get something out of it, enjoy…
I realise we have never spoken before, so firstly I must say that I admire your passion for art, and how much drive you obviously have. Your art and words inspire me. So if I may, I feel the need to ask you a few things if you had the time? If you don’t reply that’s fine as I understand you must be busy, but I would greatly appreciate some advice.
My background is that for the past 3 years I have been paid for creative work such as illustration and graphic design. Currently I am a part-time graphic artist at a magazine. This new job is almost perfect for me at this point in time because my future goal is to freelance solely in illustration. The part-time work gives me steady income as well as time to work on my own art and whatever freelance work I pick up.
I feel that I have things holding me back from jumping into the illustration world completely.
Being a graphic artist comes easy to me but it is not my passion. I love drawing but I feel I keep sabotaging myself. It’s like I’m afraid to compete, I’m not really a very competitive person…I feel that I lack the game-face that many illustrators/commercial artists seem to have. I think the lack of confidence in myself is obvious. It’s so annoying.
I know im still at the very start of my artistic journey and perhaps I will probably learn this eventually, but I was wondering if you had any insights? Perhaps you have covered something similar to this in previous blogs so feel free to just direct me to it.
Thanks in advance.
Thanks for getting in touch and the kind words! Yep, art is definitely a large part of my life, I’m glad it’s the same for you also.
It sounds like you’re in a good place right now, part time work is a great stepping stone that is often the basis for most illustrators/freelancers, but I also feel it is important at some stage, to plan your exit once you have enough experience and an income reserve — typically 3–6 months to cover costs, I prefer 6 months myself as I am a cautious person.
The main problem you have to be mindful of when you’re working part time, is that it’s very easy to get into a comfort trap, where you always have an “out” with your part time job “Oh, it’s okay that I’m not getting much work, I have my part time job to fall back on.”
This mindset reduces the immediacy of the problem of finding more work, which means you’ll always be sailing at half mast. Your senses simply aren’t tuned into a fight for survival mode.
When we are in this mental space of surviving, we are capable of drastic changes and we will either do what is necessary to survive and live or we will crash and find out we didn’t have what it took this time around. We feel alive when we are doing this, because we are acting as captains of our own destiny, at the same time it can be scary because we’re not sure we can sail the ship.
This is a necessary mindset for freelancing successfully, and it is very difficult to embrace if you’re still being paid consistently by someone else as an employee.
Before I advise you on the rest of your email…what do you fear? Why don’t you like to compete? Why do you feel you lack confidence? Get back to me with these answers and we can keep chatting…
To be Continued…
That’s all for now, short and sweet!
As usual, if you have any feedback, comments or advice you feel is pertinent to this topic, please leave it in the comments section below. And if you think that this information will help any aspiring freelancers, please share the link…sharing is caring, help spread the knowledge.
Stay tuned for part 2 in a couple of days…until then, stay hungry.