Needed: Your Questions About Creative Work and Working For Yourself

Friends! I’m putting together yet another podcast, this time with my fantastic friends Laura and Christina. Laura knows all about the creative process and working for herself (she built a handbag line from the ground up that’s been featured in O magazine and InStyle) and Christina can tell you all about branding, marketing and design. What fantastic founts of knowledge! And I’ll chime in with my two cents about how I juggle working full-time, planning a seven month trip and blog every day.What questions do you have for them? Questions can be advice-y (“How do you get out of a creative rut?”) or personal (“Why do you like working for yourself?”)

Ask away!

21 Comments

Grace

Ooh wonderful. I would like to set myself up as a freelance arts marketer/copwriter. I've got two years' experience of working for heritage organisations and museums doing this, but am unsure how to make the jump towards doing it on a freelance basis. Would you advise doing it for free for friends first to build up a portfolio of independent work? Alos, any advice on how to work out how much I should charge? Thank you!

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Kate

Great! I am trying to do some fair trade stuff in the next year, hoping to eventually start a small ngo, doing some consulting,etc. Let's see, questions:
– Dealing with money and taxes (I know an accountant is ideal, but how soon do you need them?)
-Creating a financial safety net in case things get rough
-Maybe most importantly, how can I present myself (to potential funders, clients, etc) if I do a lot of different things? They are all related but I feel like I might come off as unfocused.

Thanks! I am pumped for this podcast.

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Marthe

I'm a photographer, and I've been thinking about starting to sell my prints.

The problem is that I don't really know where to start and how others do this. Where do I get my photos printed to ensure good quality but still make sure I can make a profit.

How much do you think setting up an online store will cost?

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Kim

I'm just recently graduated from college and keep getting told that personal branding is important in the creative field. Is this true? How do you go about creating a personal "brand"?

thanks!

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Sara C.

Ooooooh! Great timing! I've been thinking about starting my own small creative business so that I can finally get out of teaching (I <3 teaching, but I do not love the stress!).

Here are my questions:
1. What is the best way to plan the transition from working full time for everyone else to working full time for yourself?

2. How do you keep yourself accountable? Ex. I need to sew for 8 hours today, but I just feel like sitting on the couch and eating ice cream and watching The Neverending Story instead!

3. Do you work from home or do you have an office, studio?

4. How much of your product sells in physical retail locations versus online?

5. How do most of your customers find you?

6. What's the absolute WORST day you ever had working for yourself?

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Kat

Hi,

Like Marthe I'm trying to generate some income from my photography.

My questions are:

1. Firstly, I was just wondering whether you know of any free/useful resources (apart from the podcast! 🙂 ) for people thinking about starting up their own business. I'm not based in the US so if there are any online resources that would be great. Also linked in with this, have you ever had a business mentor?

2. How do you go about marketing your business, both online and in the "real world"?

3. Are there any things you would have done differently if you were to start out again? Like, things you'd avoid, things you now realise you should have followed up or things you now realise were a waste of time/money?

Thanks so much! Can't wait for the podcast!
Kat

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Boom

Superb! I would like to know if it is a good idea to form a LLC after you are established. I have worked as a sole proprietor and the self employment tax is an "ouch" for profits.

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Luinae

What are your top resources that keep you moving forward?

How do you take something you love to do and build it into a job?

On average (our of 10) how awesome/not awesome is working for yourself?

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AJ

I have one thats really from my man-friend. He's just set himself up as a freelance photographer working from home and is having a tough time balancing the work-stuff that he needs to do to be a "business" and the creative stuff he loves to do that is actually what he wants to do – if that makes sense. Any advice for striking that perfect business/creative balance?

xxx

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allie mullin

i want to be a professional photographer. here are some things i'd like to learn more about:
how to gain clients and a fanbase/marketing
taxes/pricing
staying true to yourself and your art while trying to please a client.

thanks! this is a great idea for a podcast.

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Lianne

this is perfect! my friend and i just launched our business (you can check it out at hankypanty.multiply.com) and i need some guidance through the "birthing pains"

1. how were you able to market your brand when you started out?
2. since we're a start up and tight on cash, how were you able to make your website nice? did you immediately spend on your website?
3. how else can we market online selling of our products?
4. did you take workshops to improve yourself? if so, what?

thanks so much!

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Kelly

I'm moving to the US next year and plan to start myself up as a freelance event organisor. Basically, any tips you can offer will be amazingly useful.

This is a great idea Sarah – as usual!!

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Lovers, Saints & Sailors

Perfect timing. I am getting more work as a stylist and I'm not sure how much to charge. I mean, I have charged people but I'm not sure how to come to a figure that I feel comfortable charging. It's not like there's really a standard wage or anything…

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Halley

Hey, Love this!

– How much start-up money did you need? How did you figure this out?

– How did you create/promote your brand?

– Did you research your competitors and their product or did you go gung-ho?

– What sort of qualifications do you have in your area of expertise? Did you get further training in your area or self-taught?

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colleen

someone above me asked about how to market oneself if you do a bunch of semi-related things. i just graduated college, i don't exactly have a crazy-important job, or anything near the job of my dreams. i was thinking of printing business cards to hand out at my networking events, but i dont know where to go/ how to print them/ what in the world i would put on it if i'm still in career-flux. any ideas?

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LizBean

OMG. Also great timing for me. Me and my mom are just starting our at home business. Apparel,jewelry, bags etc. I have a lot of things going for me. She's an experienced and very talented seamstress and my boyfriend is a whiz at website design and all the computer stuff. I help in the design work and a lot of other miscellaneous things. I can't wait for this podcast! I think everyone here hit the nail on the head with the questions they're asking 🙂

I guess my questions would be to you guys is…

– As someone who hates their job and would like to someday make the transition to working at home full time…how long did it take for you to become self sufficient? I'm not talking about getting rich or anything but to just pay the bills. I'd be happy making what I make now in the mean time but at least doing what I love and being my own boss.

-Also what were the hours you expected and what were the hours you ended up working in relation to your regular day job? If you thought you were going to only work 8 hours like your regular job but maybe you were putting in 12 or 16 hours…I know it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build your way up.

– and maybe some advice on what you did to keep your spirits up!! 🙂

Thank you!

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Eternal*Voyageur @ Venusian*Glow

How can you tell whether you´re good enough to sell whatever it is that you ? I tend to go through bouts of thinking I´m fantastic and people should thank me for existing, and thinking that I totally suck and need to get way way better before I ask anyone to pay for it. BTW the euphoria usually comes at the beginning, when I´m probably not good enough !

Also: I tend to have bursts of energy and creativity, followed by spells where I don´t even want to think about doing anything. How do I work around that ?

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Michelle

I don't have anything to add but I definitely wanted to second (third?) Kate's question about doing different semi-related things! I'm in a similar boat.

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citygirl

My main questions:

How do you drive traffic to yor online shop?

What are the best no or extremely low cost ways to market your products/services?

How do you determine what to charge for your products/services? (I'm a photographer, and I believe art should be affordable, but I don't want to under price myself)

I do a lot of different things (freelance writer, screenplay consultant, photographer), how do I make sure I advertise all that I'm capable of without creating a disjointed online presence?

I think that's it. I cannot wait for this podcast!

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