Not Everyone CAN Do It
In general I hear all the time “anyone can do it” -it- being some ambitious self made goal. I am here to tell you I don’t think that’s true at all.
Goals are abstract benchmarkers in this life we all are living. They’re unique to the individual. I do think that all the tools needed to make any goal achievable exist. But achieving any goal is all on the individual who sets it. I think a lot of individuals cannot bridge the gap of achieving their goals and connecting the tools they have at their disposal.
This applies to everything, and In my life that pertains to being a successful creative.
How do I become a successful creative?
I don’t think I’m the most successful creative I could be. You have to start this whole by answering the question
“What does being a successful creative mean to me?
For me it is that not only am I actively pursuing my artwork and creating it for my objective of growing a brand/clothing store, as well as becoming a better designer, but I’m also attempting to fulfill my societal obligation in making a living by doing so. That being said I’ve tried a lot of stuff to reach this goal and I keep trying stuff.
How do I start?
What a question. I have observed this being a hard step for people. How do I start? Start art, start an etsy store, start a following or a community around my work? How do I get better? How do I move to a different city for inspiration? How do I even begin to think about taking on something big and time consuming while I still have to go to work?
My best advice is to just decide.
That is advice an art teacher I hated gave me. It was powerful advice because I didn’t want him to be right, and he just was. The power of deciding to do something is really half the battle. It’s super easy to find reasons to not do something so it’s easy to never really have to start. Deciding to do it, and making time to sit down to explore a plan is literally all you need to do to get the ball rolling.
I would say that the next thing after deciding to start is to evaluate. Know what will and won't work for you. I know the 1st hour I get back home from my day job, I will not open my computer. I just won't do it. Just like I know I’ll never go to the gym even if I buy a membership. I just won't do it! I know me! But I decide on my train ride home I will do one task. Maybe it’s add to my Social Media schedule, or practice drawing something I decided I wanted to get better at, or maybe I’ll ‘take the day off’ and play a game on my ipad. You have to designate your time to something if you’ve decided to make time in the first place.
Just throw fear out the window.
This is way easier said than done. I always looked at it as jumping in a cold pool. You want to go swimming, you know the water is cold, and you know the best way to get over that is to just jump in and deal with it. That’s what being an artist is like when you want to market yourself and your goods - a 100% voluntary thing. I mean hell I moved to Los Angeles to try and make a streetwear brand and it TOTALLY BLEW UP IN MY FACE. I lost $10,000 and had to move home and start over. But, that experience taught me a lot about manufacturing your goods, what it costs for me to do business, and it gave me a killer answer to the interview question “tell us a time you have failed and turned it around” and that experience has gotten me some incredible work as a freelance artist the past 2 years.
Answer the question Why?
Why do any of this? Especially when everyone else is being creative and doing it. Well that should be an easy answer. Because it’s fun. For me art is emotional and grounded in feelings. It’s fun to make pins, and coloring books, and trade art, and talk to artists you admire on instagram or wherever. It’s fun to walk into local shops and ask if you can put your work for sale in there, or whatever you’re doing. I feel like it should be fun first business second when it comes to marketing yourself and your work but a balance of fun and business needs to exist to grow and be successful in marketing and selling work...which is what my goal is. Protect your creativity. You’re volunteering to share it, it’s you’re number one commodity. So dont fuck that up.
Like I said before, you hear “anyone can do it” and I think that’s a total lie. Yes I believe there are a lot of tools out there that make anything possible, and anyone who CARES to learn that CAN do anything. But not everyone has “it” in them to care about all of that stuff. When you’re an artist running an etsy shop, and you wanna sell shirts, and pins, and patches and everything you have to learn about SEO [search engine optimization] and you have to learn to read sales stats and analytics, and you have to learn about shipping labels, manufacture quotes, business overhead and words like that. Some people just could care LESS about all of that. Some people HATE using social media, and don't want to research hashtags, I get it. It’s not super fun. But in this world, if you want to be seen and have any success selling anything you create, you have to do that part or put the team together to help you do those things. You have to market your work and yourself. You are the company of you! And the SOLE employee of that company. If you’re going to put your design in the world you have to care about it. That is why I think not EVERYONE can do this. As I’ve set goals to grow my instagram, or sell my pins, or take shots in the dark to even see if what I create sells well, my hobby, or my love of creating and art sometimes feels more like a business I have to maintain, then a thing I do to have fun and relax. So finding that balance is super important and it’s very fragile. When I’m exhausted after a day of commercial design, and I come home sometimes I don't want to set a social media posting schedule for my twitter, 2 facebook pages, 3 instagram accounts or blog on my website. I don’t want to sit and packages etsy orders all for the week. But it’s what I’ve built and it’s what I do. And if I stop it all stops and I know I don't want that. So I balance time better as I learn how my creations need attention. Not everyone can find the joy in that. I do.