Successful artist and guest author Noah Bradley shares some tips for artists who want to sell their work as freelancers. Learn more by visiting his website, The Art of Freelancing.
It takes a lot of luck to be a successful freelance artist. And it takes a lot of hard work and persistence to be lucky.
Here are 6 actions you can start taking today that will help you to have a successful, fulfilling career as a freelance artist:
1. Work hard. Work really hard. Work really, really, really hard. This career is not for the half-hearted. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and devotion to succeed.
2. Keep at it. I know plenty of people who could have been great, but simply gave up too soon. Success is never overnight and rarely comes as quickly as we might like. You might be doing great work but just need to keep trying a little bit longer to find success.
3. Get your work in front of the right people. Far too many people create great work but never show it to people. Sadly, art directors cannot magically find you if they don’t know who you are. So make sure they do. Get your work in front of their eyes. Put it online in every place you can and send personal emails to the clients you really want to work with. Do the leg work to put your work out there.
4. Network like crazy. Networking seems sort of scary to most of us. It’s a weird, sleazy-sounding activity that we’d much rather avoid. But it’s not all that bad. Networking is just making friends. Go to conventions, local meet-ups, and classes and start to connect with your fellow artists. These connections will be mutually beneficial and are essential for maintaining a successful career.
5. Do the work you love. As you begin to get work you’ll soon find yourself wrapped up in commissions, never doing work for yourself. Make the time to do personal work. These will be your chances to do work that you’re truly passionate about and will most advance your career. Even though I’ve done plenty of work to fill a portfolio with, half of my work that I show is still personal work.
6. Be a pleasure to work with. Be on time, be polite, be professional, and communicate clearly. An artist who is fun to work with gets a lot more work than an obnoxious artist. Be a nice person and nice things will happen to you.
I won’t say that it’s an easy path to take. But being a freelance artist has been immensely enjoyable for me thus far. The freedom to travel the world while doing work I love is a gift I wouldn’t easily part with. If you decide to pursue a freelance career I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I have.