If you’re a regular reader, you may remember when I posted the story of how Sylvester Stallone got started as an actor. Sly was definitely the ‘all-or-nothing’ type, not wanting to do any work except acting, for fear of losing his passion for it.
But that’s not necessarily the right way for everyone to go about launching a creative career.
A lot of people who are dissatisfied with their jobs think that they’d be happy if they could just paint or write or make things all day every day. But sometimes, when people actually take the plunge and quit their jobs, they find that the freedom of being a self-employed artist may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
I recently read The $100 Startup (affiliate link), by Chris Guillebeau (author of The Unconventional Guide to Art & Money, which I have previously reviewed), in which he talks about Tsilli Pines, a designer who left her job after gradually building up a business making custom-designed Jewish wedding contracts.
But just a couple of weeks after going full-time with her creative business, she found herself wondering “What do I do all day?” and she was drained of creativity. Eventually, she ended up going back to her job part-time, finding a good balance between the freedom to do her own thing, and the security of a regular (if not full-time) monthly income.
It was right for her to leave, and it was right to go back. The business is still profitable, but without the pressure of needing to rely on it exclusively.
That pressure of relying on your own business is something which a lot of creative entrepreneurs don’t anticipate and it often takes them by surprise.
Isolation is another consequence of running a creative business, if you work alone. Some artists may find they start to go a bit stir-crazy with nobody but themselves for company all day every day.
A flexible employment arrangement may be a better way for a lot of creatives to make the transition to going it alone. Rather than quit your job and suddenly find yourself with too much time on your hands, nobody to talk to, and no idea what to do next, you could just free up two or three days to work on your art, and see how you get on before deciding whether to go full-time or not.
If you really can’t stand to stay at your job, you could always look for a part-time position somewhere else.
Of course, I’m not saying everyone has to do it like this. If you’re already certain that a full-time creative career is what you want, then go for it! There’s no right or wrong way to do it, only the way that works best for you.
What do you think? Do you favour a gradual switch to working for yourself, or would you prefer to jump in at the deep end and see how you get on? Leave a comment below.