It’s been nearly three years since I quit my safe and stable but totally toxic job. 13 years of dedicated service and all I got was a gift basket and a don’t forget to connect on linked in!! I sort of had a plan when I left, I was going to get a part-time job and then practice my craft and build a business in my spare time. Instead I spent two months recovering from stress induced illness that this job had given me and then just decided to spend full-time learning how to be self-employed.
Skip to nearly three years later, more ups and downs that a roller coaster, some steep learning curves, numerous ‘Oh you’re you still doing that then’ and I’m finally gaining some confidence in calling myself self-employed. I’ve even split my business into two separate entities now that I now consider completely different from each other.
But I digress, dream jobs do not come without its stresses.
Dream jobs come with a lot of compromise, you’re dream job is never going to be a total walk in the park, there are going to be things that you do that you will hate, that is until you earn enough money to hire someone else to do it, and even then that isn’t always perfect. So until then you do your taxes and admin yourself, you do all the listing and editing, marketing, promoting, packing and trips to the post office yourself. It’s a trade-off, some people seem to think self employment is a doss (generally those who have never been self-employed!) but as with everything it’s a compromise, you do the things you don’t like so much so you can do things that you do!
There are a lot do and don’t manuals out there, a lot of this content is repetitive and if you follow these guides you risk producing the same content as everyone else, and secondly if you follow it and it doesn’t work for you, you might end up feeling a bit of a failure and a lot are advertised as fail proof.
I’ve followed some of these and the thing they have taught me is that whilst they are good guidelines, ultimately you have to find your own recipe that works, especially in the age of ever-changing algorithms and social media trends.
This is why I found this book more helpful than the others that I’ve read because instead of dos and don’t of what to do in setting up a creative business, this book is filled with interviews with people who have made it in the creative field through unconventional methods, they had to get creative in order to land those creative jobs/contracts. They didn’t follow the rules, they bent them to their advantage, they saw opportunities and grabbed them, and most of all they took a lot of risks. Sometimes you have to let go of playing safe and take a gamble. Of course this is not always going to pay off but this book covers everything from going it alone, teaming up with other, collectives, putting yourself out there being true to yourself and lots more.
Although it’s more aimed at creative graduates in design, I think if you are self-employed or thinking of being self employed in a creative field, you definitely get some insight out of this book. You might not relate to all of it but there was definitely some helpful information especially as these days coming out of university and landing a job in your field is pretty much over, the competition is fierce.
It also seems that freelancing is very much on the up and a lot of these business/people set up their companies etc during/after the first wave of economic downturn in 2008. In the last few years more and more jobs that are created are under the self-employed umbrella and it is thought to a permanent shift rather than a temporary phenomena, it could be a direct result of the recession, I probably should have done some more research but more and more people are creating jobs for themselves whether it be kitchen table start-ups (craft businesses), rent a chair in a hairdressers or a tech start-up.
Jack-of-all-trades, master of none is quite simple an archaic and inaccurate idiom.
Over the last few years I’ve always thought my weakness was not finding or having a niche, everyone else seemed so focused on their path, they knew what they wanted to do, they knew what they were wanted to design. Meanwhile I felt a bit like a jack of all trades and master of none, when actually the fact that have so many interests and a lot work experience in different areas is actually my advantage and I’ve only just been figuring that out. You don’t need to put all your eggs in one basket. I’m also a firm believer or reinventing yourself as many times as you need to until your happy. If you don’t like something or it doesn’t work, either change it until it does or move on.
Here is a link to my favourite ted talk on why some of us don’t have one true calling.
So yes I do recommend this book but not as a how to guide but definitely if you’re looking for inspiration on doing things differently. I picked up at La Biblioteka on a whim and there are lots of advice on putting yourself out there (which is a priority when you’re self-employed and competing against others), trusting your instincts, being true to yourself and learning. The fact there are lots of interviews from people from different fields I feel, is much better than reading one person’s perspective on a subject. So if you’re a creative stuck in a bit of a rut and need to rethink your strategy through, then I think this will help.
*This is not a sponsored post, items was purchased with my own funds and all opinions are my own.