I started designing and selling my own products on a whim. I was lucky to enjoy drawing so much but I wasn’t as lucky with the rest of the process. What I thought would be an easy way to make some beer money soon became an uphill struggle trying to get my work noticed, let alone purchased. During the first year however I have been fortunate enough to make plenty of low risk mistake that have awarded me with valuable lessons. If you’re considering starting your own business or pursuing a passion project then feel free to read on. This is everything I wish someone told me before I began.
This is something I need folk to tell me almost daily now. I have alarms on my phone reminding me to get some drafts done or something written. I nag myself because this is the most important thing anyone can do when they’re pursuing a passion. The more you practice and hone your craft the more confident you can be that it will be worth something. So fucking practice as often as you can and in as many ways as you can. Aim for 10,000 hours and remember that very minute counts.
Make as many mistakes as you can
Mistakes are your best friend. Make as many of them as you can afford to. Mistake are how you learn. They keep you humble and they keep you on the right track. If you can get from point A to point B without fucking up then there was really no point in the journey. Make mistakes and learn. Mistake are to an artist or creative like sunlight is to flowers. Fucking vital. So go fuck up as much as you can and make sure no one important notices.
Surround yourself with real people
If you’re showing your hard work and dedication to negative people they’re going to respond negatively. They will tell you not to bother trying or that you’re not good enough to make it. Drop the fuckers. You don’t need that shit. You don’t need yes men either. Don’t listen for what you want to hear. You need real people who will be honest with you. They’ll raise honest concerns about you or give you honest feedback that will help you. Get yourself some real people who will keep you grounded and keep you motivated. Just be real with them too and don’t be a dick.
Experiment as much as you can handle
Your comfort zone is a dead end for creative growth. Get out of it. Try things you’re uncomfortable with. Think outside the box. Bend the rules too if you think you won’t get much hassle for it. Take what you know and see if there’s another way to do it. This is crucial. There’s nothing worse than getting block or feeling like everything is stale. So mix things up when you can.
Take inspiration wherever you get it
If you see something cool, hear something neat or just think of something that might work then follow that thread as far as it will go. Don’t say no to your gut. Let your own intuition guide you and steer your creative process. Let inspiration come to you and actively look for things to spark your interest. You need this to work. So take it wherever you can find it.
Put yourself out there and be vulnerable
If you create or produce work and don’t show it freely and openly then there’s no point. Part of being a creative is getting your shit pushed in by people on the internet or in the street or in the gallery or wherever the fuck they see your work. So put your work out there and be open about it. “I made this. This is mine. Please tell me what you think and be honest.” It’ll suck sometimes but once in a blue moon you’ll get real and genuine feedback and that will be worth it and more.
Always have a why
If you can’t stop what you’re doing and tell yourself why you’re doing whatever you’re doing in twenty words or less then stop. If you don’t have a reason to do it then don’t waste your time. Always have a why. Always have a reason to fall back on when you’re not doing so good. It pays to set goals to help keep you on track too. But goals don’t mean jack shit unless you know why you’re bothering in the first place.
If you get tunnel vision then at least make it work in your favour
I get really zoned in on things sometimes. This is great when it pays off. It sucks when it doesn’t. If you get into some manic obsession about something then by all means go with it. Just don’t get so caught up that you end up on the other end of the tunnel with nothing to show for it. If you pull an all-nighter then you need to make sure you get something worthwhile out of it because your time is the most valuable asset you have.
Your work doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, it just has to make you feel satisfied
If you finish a piece and you immediately feel downhearted that it’s not perfect or profitable or whatever you wanted it to be then you need to relax. Reassess what you’re doing. You are not obligated to completely revolutionise your niche or you scene or whatever you’re involved in. You just need to get satisfaction from taking part in it. I don’t do any of this for money. I do this because if I don’t I’ll feel like absolute shit. When I draw, write or create in any way I get a good feeling. That’s what I’m chasing. That and some beer money.
If it doesn’t interest you or reward you in any way then it’s not worth your time
I am not saying quit your job and move to Oregon to pursue your hobby of doing taxidermy roadkill into scenes from Dorian Grey. I’m saying that if you’re doing something in your spare time that doesn’t reward you with satisfaction or educate you or help you grow then you should stop. Like I said before your time is valuable and you don’t get a lot of it to spare. Pursue something that will see you grow and learn and feel good in the knowledge that you’ve become adept at something you genuinely enjoy.
If I had heard all that then I’d probably be a lot more driven and maybe even more disciplined with my side hustle. It sounds so obvious when it’s all on paper but when you’re doing something long term it’s hard to keep all this in mind. If this helped you in anyway or you think it need an addition of your own then feel free to let me know. Also if you think this would help anyone you know who is in need of some advice then feel free to show them the article. I need readers. Seriously. Only my nana reads my blog.