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What advice do you have for an emerging artist entering the freelancing industry?


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Erin’s Answer

Hi there, Daniel!

First, I want to say that a career in the arts can be meaningful and fulfilling, and the world needs more artists, especially in these trying times. We're happy to have you on board!

No matter the path within the arts - be it acting, painting, music, or design - it is competitive, and the life of an artist is not always glamorous. At the end of the day, the artists who survive are the ones with business savvy. Sometimes, there's just a bit of luck, but for the most part, hard work will pay off. As a freelancer, you will become the CEO of your personal company, so it is up to you to make sure the business is running smoothly.

What I wish someone told me about getting started in the arts is that it is a business of relationships. Do you know the gallery owner? Have you worked with the director before? Does your aunt's friend's brother work in the same field? Can a friend of a friend drop your name? Sometimes talent just isn't enough. People have to know you. These relationships will be invaluable, so invest your time in building a network. Go to events in your field, follow people you admire on social media, and just say yes at the beginning. As a new freelancer in the arts, there are going to be a lot of low-paying (or no-paying) jobs that don't sound great, but just say yes. You never know what opportunity could lead to something else. Be a sponge, and absorb all that you can when you're starting out. Even though you're entering the "real world" you will always be a student.

I would also recommend finding a mentor, someone in your field who you aspire to be. You'll learn from people better than you, perhaps not about art, but how they found their success. Again, build that network! Despite all the good days, life as an artist can feel isolating and daunting, so make sure you have people around you to support you.

Lastly, I want to say that there is no roadmap to success in the arts. Every person has a completely different path, and you'll find your journey easier if you loosen your grip and accept that you can't control where you go. Be kind, show up on time, meet your deadlines, and be willing to say yes. It will make for a much easier time.

You probably got into this because you love it, so remember to enjoy it :)

Best of luck to you!

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Daniel,

As an artist, your portfolio is your lifeblood. Here's some places you can get your name out there as a freelancer:

1. Upwork: https://www.upwork.com/
2. Freelancer: https://www.freelancer.com/
3. Guru: http://www.guru.com/
4. ArtWanted: https://www.artwanted.com/

My two cents: When you're starting out, you might be tempted to take any job you can get. While there is some benefit to being a generalist, you do want to build some kind of general theme or brand identity for yourself. Take jobs that are true to yourself, your style, and your market value.

Best of luck!

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Daniel,

My advice for you would be to really find yourself so that you really know what you love doing. Something that doesn't feel like work (not every single day, but most days), because it's what you're passionate about. Once you find this calling for yourself, you will be well placed to succeed.

Then, I would advise you to put yourself out there and market the heck out of yourself and your skillset. It's extremely important that people know the services you are offering and how well you perform, so I would advise you to be active on social media, build networks, and really get yourself out there. Don't feel like you're just doing this to seek attention or any of those types of thoughts in your head. Without good marketing, people just won't know what you do and what you're capable of.

Lastly, have a good set of personal values that you stick to is important for setting your reputation. I would encourage you to spend a few days thinking about your set of core values and writing them down. Incorporate those values into how you present yourself, and when people work with you, their expectations will better match who you are, and that should lead to happier customers.

I wish you the best of luck!

--
Dexter

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Trae’s Answer

Two things.

1. Build a portfolio

If you don't have paid projects to display, create your own, or do free work in exchange of building your reputation.

2. Network

Linkedin is a great online place. But you can always direct email any business. Be personal with your approach.

Good luck.

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Christina’s Answer

There are several things you can start to do as an emerging artist, but no matter what, you have to follow your own voice as an artist and build up a distinctive style that make you different from other artists. After you have figured out your identity as an artist, create collections of works and find ways to showcase your works, whether through website , social media or offline platform such as galleries and art fairs. Only when you let your collections showcasing in more places, you will understand more about which kind of market or customers like your work the most and you will have a better sense in selling your work while keep your authenticity as an artist at the same time.

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Simeon’s Answer

I would recommend finding steady work where you can practice your art while you also make art for the free-lancing scene. It'll give you more flexibility and room to experiment as far as what you create. The best place to look for steady work that I know of is to look into art that is used in different business industries. If you get a job as an animator, such as one for advertisements, video games, or cartoons, you can have a more stable income. For gig type work, I know that companies like Fantasy Flight Games and Wizards of the Coast make investments in artists by paying them for beautiful art to put into their RPG books.

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James’s Answer

It sounds great the work you are doing! I think the challenge will be narrowing it down to the topic or area of interest you want to make a career out of. Once you have figured that out it will be a matter of putting yourself out there so the wider community knows your brand and what you have to offer. Social media is a great way of doing this - often companies such as instagram/facebook have a "business section" which you can use to jump start your exciting career. You can also you the website "Wordpress" as a platform to create your own website and to upload your portfolio and images etc. I would also explore networking/networking events as well and find like minded people who have the same passions as you - and make you can work together on projects etc

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Mel’s Answer

My advice would be to build a portfolio and audience by offering projects at low cost to creatives and influencers who may increase your following. Utilize SEO and social networking to maximize your audience. Reach out to members of your community at local events similar to your interests and collaborate with likeminded people. Have a clear brand!

Using websites like Fiver and Upwork are great places to start building a portfolio and playing with different types of projects.

Above all, be yourself, stand out and do not focus to much on "competition." Stay loyal to your brand and avoid taking on projects that don't align, don't fit your style or aren't clear expressions about what you're all about.

Mel recommends the following next steps:

Create a clear brand
Saved!
Use social media to market yourself and build audience
Saved!
Offer projects, giveaways, and collaborations in your community and gain reputation
Saved!
Stay true to your brand and your style!
Saved!

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Updated Translate

Mel’s Answer

My advice would be to build a portfolio and audience by offering projects at low cost to creatives and influencers who may increase your following. Utilize SEO and social networking to maximize your audience. Reach out to members of your community at local events similar to your interests and collaborate with likeminded people. Have a clear brand!

Using websites like Fiver and Upwork are great places to start building a portfolio and playing with different types of projects.

Above all, be yourself, stand out and do not focus to much on "competition." Stay loyal to your brand and avoid taking on projects that don't align, don't fit your style or aren't clear expressions about what you're all about.

Mel recommends the following next steps:

Create a clear brand
Saved!
Use social media to market yourself and build audience
Saved!
Offer projects, giveaways, and collaborations in your community and gain reputation
Saved!
Stay true to your brand and your style!
Saved!

0
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Deborah’s Answer

My kids remind me that they too have the Internet, so I won’t bore you with general advice about personal finance and freelancing (that’s readily available online). I was very lucky to have a union that covered my healthcare and a nominal pension contribution. There are freelance unions and I think as we see more freelancers we’ll see more unions to protect them in the areas where they are most vulnerable. The only personal finance advice I would reiterate is to remember to treat yourself like a business. When I freelanced outside of my union freelancing (film workers are or were largely unionized) I learned to build my overhead (health, pension) into my fee. And then I learned, largely from IT people online who had very practical advice about what and how to charge, to include “profit” into my fee. This blew my mind.

The other advice I’d give was not to compare or confuse yourself with friends who had regular jobs. Sometimes I didn’t have the money they did. My arc of professional success looked a lot different from theirs and I confused that with failure. Freelancing is a great opportunity to shape your own life. Time is not money. Time is life. It is the only thing you have. Spend it well.

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Veronica’s Answer

I would say is always do you research and never give up.

Hi Veronica, could you give some more information on what type of research the student should do? Alexandra Carpenter

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