5 Things To Keep In Mind On The Road To Success In The Creative Industries

If you want to be artist of any kind, chances are you already know how hard it is. Still, there are several things many aspiring artists either forget or purposely forget to remember when it comes to the business.

Here are five things to keep in mind at every stage of your breaking-into-the-industry phase.


Don’t throw anything away

Never underestimate the potential of a side project – you know, that stuff that you’re just messing around with while the rest of life happens. When we work on a project we will always be under some form of stress: we want to make it successful, we don’t know how other people will like it and our reputation as an artist is on the line.

But when we’re just messing about with ideas, our subconscious takes over and we are just free to create. Under these circumstances, sometimes those side projects birth the most successful ideas; somewhere down the line, you might want to go back and work on them properly. Never throw good work away!


Be nice

Competition is sky high in the creative arts and we all know this. When you decide to be an artist, you are automatically enlisted into a war – but that doesn’t mean your goal is to shoot down other aspiring artists.

Yes, it’s a cut-throat business, and yes, it’s scary. But there are many more benefits in finding allies than in making rivals. You don’t have to be the next Mother Theresa, but you want to be someone others want to work with.

All the same…


Be ready to fight

Because there are some people out there who didn’t get the memo. You don’t have to be aggressive, but be smart. Listen to your gut, especially if you’re new to the business. Above all, the industry revolves around contracts; even if it’s tedious, be sure to read the small print.

If you don’t understand the lingo, don’t reader over it: find somebody who can and make them explain it to you. This is your career, make sure to be covered from the start.


You will never be the best

This is good! You should strive to be the best you can be, but never the best out of all. Not only is this impossible, but it leaves no room for progression.

You can be very, very good in your field, and ideally this is the goal. Still, remember that in the creative industry you are your own business, and the basis of a successful business is to constantly strive for more.

Take fifteen minutes a day to read a new book of a genre you’d never read, or to draw in a style you’re not familiar with. Just a quarter of an hour a day can make a huge difference.


The industry might not be for you

A harsh reality, but a reality nonetheless. The key word here is industry. You might have the creativity and the desire to succeed, but the harsh truth is this is not all it takes: you need a thick skin. Success is relative, but generally the goal is to be able to do what you do and pay the rent (you know, in a general sense).

In order to do this, you will depend on the opinions of others: criticism will come at you whether you like it or not, and your ability to handle it will be one of the big determinants of your suitability for the business. You have to ask yourself: “Can I take the criticism and persevere through it?” If the answer is ‘no’, you may need to do some rethinking.


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