Life is tough for us creative pros. If you are pursuing creative arts (photography, art, design, fashion, film-making et-al) as your profession, there are always conflicting choices to be made, such as:
To take up a job or chart your own path;
To only do the work you love doing or to take up projects that come to you;
To look at your work as a creative or as an entrepreneur;
To revel in the freedom of freelancing or to take on the responsibilities of a team and business.
Striking balance between these many-a-times contradictory demands that come with being a creative professional is a tough task. Most of us choose one or the other to make our life simpler and in moments of reflection, rue over letting go of the other aspirations.
There are a few things though, that can help you strike the elusive balance, get the work you want to do and grow your business.
Here are the 5 resolutions for photographers, artists and designers must make for 2018:
Resolution #1 : I will embrace the online:
The world has shifted online. The web is no longer the place where you go to check your email, order supplies or read what other people are writing. The web is the place where YOU will build your brand and grow your business. The web is the place where you need to create and not just consume. The web is the place where others will find you more often than not and you have to accelerate that discovery by shaping your online persona and presence.
Resolution #2 : I will reach out and tell my story
We are connected with everyone in the world online through 6 degrees of separation. You need to leverage this inter-connected world and create your tribe and enable your to-be followers (read "clients") to find you.
Engage in creative communities, share your work, ask for feedback, listen and participate. For photographers, Instagram, Flickr and 500px are big. For designers, Behance and Dribbble are definitely the places to be and if you are interested in blogging, get on to Tumblr or Medium. Pick the one that fits in with your persona and start participating.
Resolution #3 : I will work on my portfolio website and make it better.
On the web, your identity is the content that create. This includes your interactions online, in forums and social media, your social media profiles, the blogs you write, the reviews you get and most importantly, your website. For a creative pro, your portfolio website is your ambassador to the whole, wide world. Make sure that it presents your best work in the best way possible. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Make it awesome. Make it count.
Resolution #4 : I will keep my existing clients happy.
There are times when in chasing new clients and prospects, we forget the ones we already have, Studies how its 5 times easier to get repeat business or references from existing clients then generate work from new clients. Plus with existing clients, you know the devil. You know their working style, you have handled them before and hopefully have build trust and understanding. Make sure to selectively archive and not engage with clients who gave you a hard time for no mistake of yours. At the same time, be honest in accepting your mistakes when you are reaching out to existing clients.
A monthly newsletter of your new work and an occasional email inquiring on any new work / references helps keep you in the mind and sight of old clients. Using a email newsletter app can make this task easier. We love MailerLite for its simplicity and ease-of-use. Mailchimp offers a free plan for upto 2000 subscribers / 12000 emails in a month.
Using tools and apps to make your work-flows smoother and faster also helps you win brownie-points with clients. For example, Pixpa's online client proofing platform helps to share, proof and deliver your work online to your clients, hence cutting down time and making the whole process smoother and easier for your clients.
Resolution #5 : I will keep an eye on the bottomline
Last but not the least, keep an eye on your work's financial bottomline. Make sure that you are always profitable and your cash-flows are not clogging up.
Charge the right price for your work. Make sure that you are factoring in all hidden and ancillary costs when you are pricing your work. Here's a handy guide to pricing for photographers.
Submit your invoices on time and follow-up on payments assiduously. Using an online invoice generation app can help you keep on top of this process. Wave Apps is a free, simple invoicing app for small businesses and works well for creative pros.
Make sure that you are always in compliance with the legal rules and requirements that pertain to your work. Photoattorney.com has some great articles on legal and copyright information for photographers.
I believe as creative pros, its our responsibility to combine our creative skills and talent with business acumen and strategy. While business talk can be boring and feel like a chore, its an important component of pursuing our aspirations, gaining a wider audience and getting paid right for our work.
I hope that these 5 resolutions for photographers, artists and designers for 2018 will help you focus on building your brand and driving both creative and professional growth in the year ahead.
I'd love to hear your feedback on these resolutions. Share with me your thoughts and any other resolutions that you have in your list for 2018 that could help everyone out.
Have a great 2018!
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