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How to make a living as a young entrepreneur in the creative arts


There’s a stigma that making a career as a freelancer in the arts can be a bone-breaking process. While this may be partially true, there is a shift for even businesses in the corporate space to utilise the talents of freelance creatives.


The change has come with the phrase the ‘gig economy’, which essentially indicates the shift from a full time permanent work force to one filled with part time, casual and contract roles. This is good news for freelancers who want the freedom of not being locked into a permanent position. But that leaves the question, how do you make it work for you? We’ve listed a few tips below.


Work out your costs


Before taking on any clients, it’s important to work out what your rate will be. As soon as you enter the market at a certain price, it’s hard to budge it as clients become aware of what you’ve charged others. Sit down yourself or with a financially savvy friend and look at your living costs, how much you’ve previously been earning to survive, your skillset and the workload for the work you’ll be undertaking. Factoring in all of this and looking at rates for the same service in your industry and you should come out with a figure that works for both you and your clients. Remember, there will always be people to try and “haggle” your price, these clients are looking for cheap, quick jobs and it’s important to not budge on what you offer.


Network, network, network


Starting out it’s important to get your name out there. There are more than enough networking events in town to choose from, with several that will be the perfect fit for your services. Print off some business cards and prepare a spiel for what you do and be ready to talk about yourself and your business. Word of mouth and personal referrals will serve as one of the highest means of work found, so even if the person you’re talking with doesn’t need your services, leave an impression so when they do, or if someone in their circle does, they’ll pick up your business card and get in contact. A few networking opportunities in Geelong are; Entrepreneurs Geelong, Geelong Small Business Network Facebook Group and events, Chamber of Commerce, Geelong Women in Business and many more. 


Get online


Aside from having your own website and social media accounts set up, there are many online directories to list your services on. Have a Google and see what fits your services the best. The rise of online work is increasing and things such as Fiverr and Upwork enable you to do work for people across the world. The process simply works that those seeking a job to be finished will search through the freelancers on the site and choose the best one for the job. Be warned this is a very competitive site and many freelancers offer bottom-dollar prices to compete. Aside from this, many contract jobs will be advertised on traditional job sites like Loop Creative, Pedestrian.TV Jobs and Rachel’s List.


Encourage word of mouth


As mentioned earlier, word of mouth is one of, if not the, most effective means of building clientele when starting out. If you’ve done a job where your client is happy, encourage them to leave a review and to think of you for friends if anyone needs the services you offer. It doesn’t hurt to put this mention out there as it could mean you gain a referral that changes your little business’ life. Utilise your own network and let family and friends know of your services, you never know who may have a friend of a friend who needs this kind of work.


Don’t give up


In the slog of starting from scratch many creatives give up with the first few challenges they face. If the approach you’re taking isn’t working, try something different. Make sure you surround yourself with a supportive squad and have someone in the industry you can turn to for advice. And remember, success doesn’t happen overnight.


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