The Life of a Freelance Artist

Artists have to make money. I wish I could just create whatever I wanted and not worry about finances, but I'm not there yet. Most of us are either working at a company earning a salary, or we're out hustling on our own, booking gigs, selling our art and earning a living that way. Right now, I'm doing the latter.

One of the things that's been most surprising to me since starting my business is how my perception of money has changed. I worked in an office for seven years. I earned steady income for that entire period, and I was never out of work. During those years, I didn't really think about money very often. As long as I had a job, everything was magically alright.

But now I think about money every day. It's what keeps this adventure going. So, I hustle, research, and strategize all the time. And when I sign contracts for paid work, it's a feeling like no other. Diving into the unknown can be terrifying, but completely invigorating. I choose to perceive this path as a series of opportunities to make my life the way I want it. And because of that, I feel very good just about every day.

It's important to note that I make every effort to keep my creative time free and clear of stress. It's hard to create when stressed. And if I can't create, I can't live. So, stress mitigation is kinda important. Luckily, I learned a great deal about stress management over the last seven years, and I'm still working to be better at it.

So, would I recommend this path to other artists? Well, it depends on what kind of person you are. It takes a lot of work, time, care, responsibility and discipline. That's just fine with me, because I relish that stuff. It does mean that every move I make matters, but that's why it's so great too. I get to be making the moves, not someone else.

If you're on the fence, think about it like this: you need to satisfy the priorities in your life that are specific to you. For me, this is what I want. I want control, responsibility, and opportunities for insane growth. It suits me, so I'm absolutely happier than I've ever been. But everyone has different intrinsic or situational needs. And they must satisfy them or risk being unhappy. And remember, good will always be the enemy of great (more on that here).

The best piece of advice I have is this: Listen to yourself. We're always subconsciously telling ourselves what we want in life. But do we have the courage to objectively listen, no matter what it says? It may not be easy to accept what we want. I wish I loved building rockets, but I don't so I won't be trying to work for NASA. And years ago, members of my family were upset with me that I didn't pursue a career as a dancer. They said I was throwing away my talent. But here's the deal: I didn't love it. If I had done it, I would have been throwing away my life, not my talent. So, I didn't do it.

I know that fear is the biggest de-motivator. Believe me, I've had my fair share of it. And it was because of fear that I resisted starting my own business. But when I remembered that the days of my life were falling away, like grains of sand, I knew I had to do it immediately. And I knew that I could fail, but I could fail just as easily not doing what I loved. In fact, we're more likely to fail at things that we don't love. And besides that, we can get a string of bad luck, no matter what we're doing. So, I implore what you love.

It's worth it.

And now, for the dumbest yet in my super dumb series of dancing cube videos that I force myself to make quickly. They are not masterpieces, but they make me laugh while I'm making them, so that's something.

Your pal,