*No secret formula* – tips on making it in the creative industry. Part 2/2

Paul Coelho

 

Following on from part 1 (read here) here are some more ‘tips’ which I personally think are important if you are trying to make a career in the creative industries, or if you already are but need some reminders to help keep doing what you’re doing.

– Be yourself. –

 Focus on what makes you unique, on your own strengths. It makes a lot more sense to build on what you already have rather than try and change into something you are not. The same goes for your work, of course take inspiration from others, but trying to copy what someone else has done is futile, as you will never be able to do it as good as them, just as they would never be able to do exactly what you have done.

– Create something unique –

Following on from the point above, it will be a whole lot harder, in this already highly competitive industry, for you/ your work to stand out if it isn’t truly your own and there are already a 100 people out there doing a very similar thing. If you create something unique it has a much better chance of standing out. Rather than creating a similar take on something that has already been done. Find your niche and this will give value to what you do and the product/ service you offer.

– Experience –

  • Take risks, do internships (although don’t be one of these guys that works for free for 6months – a year!! *some companies will take advantage*).
  • Meet people/ connect with people in similar fields – find out what it is happening in your area or even online. Go to lectures/ talks / seminars, expand your mind and GET INVOLVED!
  • Experiment with your work too, keep pushing the boundaries of whatever it is you are doing, try new techniques, technology, whatever it is that applies to your discipline/area. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I know this is hard sometimes, and in some ways the more ‘success’ you have, the harder it is because more people are looking at you and your work, ready to ‘judge’ it. But if you don’t take risks your work will become stale and stay the same. Some of my best work has happened when I least expected it, when I was playing around and trying not to worry about the final result and really letting go.

– Be nice –

This might sound basic, but hear me out. I believe that you should try and be friendly, polite and courteous to everyone that you come into contact with. Whether that be through an email, on twitter, or in person. In your personal life and especially in your business life (although if your situation is anything like mine… they tend to merge into one.. and yes I know that isn’t very healthy!). My reasons for this are:

  1. Because it’s nice to be nice and positive energy is infectious.
  1. From a professional point of view, I think it is important to remember that you don’t know who the person you are in contact with knows, for example their Uncle could just so happen to be the CEO of a design company you desperately want to work for, or an editor at a major magazine you want published in, or the curator at a prestigious art gallery. You get the idea. The point is, any of these people that you are in touch with, could lead you to a person that may be able to help you on your way to that dream career/ project/ commission! Building connections and a client base does not happen over night, yes I’m sure you could buy a long list of names and addresses in your field, but even then, they don’t know you, or have any personal affiliation with you. Professional relationships take time and effort to naturally flourish. It is a two way thing and they need to know they can trust and rely on you.

This whole point came to me after being amazed at the number of people who have emailed me asking my opinion on something, advice, questions etc And after I took the time (ok sometimes 3 weeks later, but still) to send them a well thought out response, a lot of them never even replied with a simple ‘thank you’. Without wanting to start a rant, I really don’t understand this. I completely understand that people are crazy busy/ stressed etc. But 30secs is all it would take to say thanks. Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t get how they don’t see that it’s all connected. I know I rave on about how you are the main driving force behind your own destiny and everything, but there will undoubtedly be a number of key people at different stages in your life that help you along the way, and sometimes they appear when you least expect it.
Oh AND of course-

3. No matter how much your client or the person you are working for/ with is annoying / frustrating you, take a deep breath, step away from the computer, go for a walk, come back to it the next day if you can, and be NICE to them. Clients can sometimes be tricky / demanding, but they are paying you and it is not always going to be a match made in heaven whilst working on something together. Especially when it is something creative, there will be clashes. One thing I like to remember and have really appreciated when working with a couple of clients is that you are only half of the picture. You need them as much as they need you. So please, don’t get too on your creative high horse and try to respect that their vision is just as valid as yours, and hopefully if you find the right balance together you can create something way better than either of you would have done separately.

– Baby steps. –

It is great to have a long term goal/ ambition, but this can often be very daunting and seem unattainable. I think the best way to get there is to break it down into smaller, more manageable sized targets. Perhaps by making a monthly, weekly and daily list of smaller steps/ actions which you can realistically take now to get you closer to your end goal.

 

I hope you have found some of the words in these two parts helpful! I have no doubt I will think of more things, and there are so many factors which help or hold you back when trying to make things happen in your life. But for now, think about the things I have said and decide for yourself if they perhaps apply to you and if it makes sense to try some changes which will hopefully help you achieve the things that you want to. Please get in touch or leave a comment below if you have any questions or want to discuss some of the things that I have said.
email: holly sharpe@live.com
Twitter: @hollysharpe

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog!!
Holly
x

courage

 

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