careA Foolproof Formula for Turning Your Creativity into a Career

Getting Started

While there are many paths to developing a creative career, the first steps are often similar. A strong foundation will help you navigate your way to success.

Use these strategies:

  1. Identify your goals. Figure out what kind of art you’re passionate about. You may be drawn to painting or writing fiction.
  2. Do your research. There are some creative careers that pay well if you want to become an architect or marketing director. On the other hand, your prospects will probably be more limited if you want to carve penguins out of gourds. Think about your target audience and what skills you’ll need to develop.
  3. Create a portfolio. Organize and promote your work. Put together samples that you can post on social media and show to potential clients.
  4. Get a second job. You may need supplemental income at least temporarily. Look for a position related to your artistic interests or consider work that will leave you with enough time and energy to pursue your main objectives.
  5. Plan an exit strategy. Some artists are content with a very small audience while others begin looking for another line of work. You may want to give yourself ten years to succeed on your own terms before considering alternative options.

Working for Yourself

More than 40% of creative workers are self-employed, according to the Arts Council. Consider freelancing or starting your own business.

Follow these tips:

  1. Budget carefully. How will you deal with startup costs and fluctuating income? Monitor your cash flow and build up your savings.
  2. Track your time. Without a boss expecting to see you from 9 to 5, you’ll need to take charge of your own schedule. Block out time for your most important priorities and give yourself enough days off to avoid burnout.
  3. Acquire business skills. Even if you hire an accountant and other professionals, it helps to understand the basics of financial management and customer service. Take courses at a local community college or study online.
  1. Share moral support. Network with other artists. Enjoy opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. Make introductions and provide referrals.

Revising Your Current Position

Smart companies’ value creative employees because they overcome challenges and spot promising opportunities. Regardless of your job title, you’ll be an asset if you approach your work like an artist.

Consider these ideas:

  1. Focus on innovation. Develop new ideas for increasing quality and saving time. Ask your coworkers for feedback and bring your proposals to your boss.
  2. Produce content. Your company probably has a website and social media channels that they would like to update more often. Volunteer to write articles, conduct interviews, or take photos.
  3. Launch your brand. Pay attention to your own personal brand too. Borrow ideas from colleagues and products you admire while cultivating your own authenticity.
  4. Redecorate your space. Use your work environment to make a creative statement. Launch an ambiance committee at your company or beautify your own cubicle. Choose colors that make you feel happy and productive.



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Shawna Lake

Shawna Lake


Founder of Deep End Talent Strategies-keeping job seekers and employers connected to what the other side needs and wants in today’s job market.