Making a sustainable living from a creative pursuit is the ultimate dream for many people. Countless creators have built empires using their skills and experience, so nothing is stopping you from doing the same.
However, it’s a good idea to be somewhat rational when you decide to take your creative pursuit full-time. More often than not, you’ll notice a couple of signs that it’s time to take the leap.
What are these signs, though? And if the time is right to go full-time with your creative endeavors, how can you give yourself the best possible chance? Read on below.
What Are the Signs You’re Ready to Go Full-Time With Your Creative Pursuit?
Before we look at how you can build your creative business, it’s a good idea to look at some of the surefire signs that you should make the jump from your day job. Below are four areas you should consider before handing in your resignation letter.
1. It’s Been a Hobby for At Least a Couple of Years
If you want to build a sustainable business of any kind, you must have a genuine interest in your field. Moreover, you need to care about the problems you’re going to solve. If you have neither of these, you’re going to burn out pretty fast.
Before launching a creative business, you should ensure that you’re keen on the field you’re planning to get paid for. Whether it’s photography, writing, graphic design, or something else, give yourself a few years to try it out as a hobby.
By giving yourself a reasonable amount of time before building a business around a craft, you’ll know for sure whether it’s something you want to do or not. Moreover, you’ll have had enough time to learn the necessary skills and identify market gaps that you can fill.
2. You’re Getting Paid for Your Creative Pursuit
This is probably the most surefire sign that you should take your creative pursuit full-time. If people are already paying you for what you do, you can guarantee that there are plenty of others out there who are willing to do the same.
One of the most obvious examples is having a regular clientele, but this isn’t the only signal. You could, for example, be generating a steady income from a YouTube channel you’ve been running for a while.
If you’ve been earning money from your creative pursuit for a few months, you’ll probably benefit from devoting more of your energy and creating something that will flourish in the long run. The same holds true if you find yourself needing to turn down multiple opportunities because they clash with your day job.
3. People Constantly Ask You for Help in That Area
A good sign that you excel in a specific area is to observe what others ask you for help with. Let’s use a scenario to paint the picture for this one, and say you’re at a social gathering. Have you told people that your day job is a financial advisor, but they keep asking if you can photograph their upcoming wedding?
You should probably explore that opportunity deeper if you answered yes to that or something similar.
If other people want your help with something you’re interested in, you can probably convince a good number to pay you for these services.
4. You’ve Got Enough Financial Runway
At the end of the day, your creative business needs to make money. However, it can take a long time in the early stages to see a return on your time investment.
Before you say goodbye to your day job, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve got enough saved up if something goes wrong. A minimum of three months’ living expenses is wise, but you may want a bigger cushion depending on your approach to risk.
To save money for your business, consider creating a separate savings account. Only dip into these funds if you’ve got nothing coming in from anywhere else. Alternatively, you can make a pot if you’ve got a mobile-only bank.
How to Take Your Creative Pursuit Full-Time
Okay, so we’ve gone over the signs you should take your pursuit full-time—and you’ve agreed that now is the time to make your dreams come true.
How exactly do you go about doing this? Below are three places to start.
1. Look for Openings Online
If you don’t have an extensive network in your desired field, you might find it tricky to land jobs initially. However, you can discover work and simultaneously build your network by looking at openings online.
As a creative individual, you might need to think a little outside the box here. Searching for jobs on LinkedIn is an excellent starting point, while Behance has an openings page geared explicitly toward artists.
Other places worth looking at include:
- FreelanceWriting.com (for writers)
- Fiverr (multiple niches)
- We Work Remotely (various niches)
2. Reach Out to Others You’d Like to Work With
Emailing people you don’t know is daunting, but it can be effective if you’re authentic and do your research beforehand. This one might be more of a long-term strategy; you should focus on building rapport first and offer a hand, rather than asking for jobs outright.
If you’re on good terms with your day job, it’s worth pitching yourself to them and seeing if you might be able to help them in some capacity. You can also reach out to former bosses and colleagues and find out if they’re looking for someone like you.
Set yourself a daily target to break things down. And if you’re persistent, you’ll slowly build your clientele.
3. Investigate Product-Selling Opportunities
One of the best things about freelancing and entrepreneurship is that it opens your mind to a whole world of money-making possibilities. By nature, you’ll usually work with more than one client—making it less risky if you lose a source of income.
Beyond client work, though, you can find even more opportunities. If you’ve got a good level of knowledge in your field, for example, you can consider creating an online course on SkillShare. Or, if you’ve got a large enough audience, you can also think about selling things like prints.
You don’t need to act on your product-selling ideas to begin with, but keeping these in mind will help you execute them better in the future.
Make Your Creative Entrepreneurship Dreams Happen
Being a creative entrepreneur is attainable for most people these days, as long as you’re willing to stay dedicated and put in the work to achieve your dreams. Before you go all-in, though, you need to deeply consider whether now is a logical time to take it full-time.
If you’re younger and don’t have anyone relying on you financially, you can probably take a few more risks. But even if you’re not, you shouldn’t let your desires die. Take things slowly, and once you see the signs we outlined in this piece, just go for it.
Thinking of turning your creative passion into a business? Here are some traits you’ll need before taking the plunge.
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