If you've just started your creative career or you're considering starting one, then this article may help you on your journey. In this post, I will give you some tips to kickstart your creative career.
Even though many people don't consider themselves creative, I believe that everyone has a seed of creativity in them. Some decide to water and nurture that seed, while others don't know it exists or, even worse, ignore it.
Watering the Seed
While some people are innately more creative than others, it is possible to become more creative by practicing, by being creative. See it as watering the seed I mentioned earlier. Watering that seed means being creative by doing what you enjoy doing.
If you're a web designer, then it means designing for the web. Are you a photographer? Practice your craft by photographing a subject you enjoy working with. If your ambition is to become a mobile developer, then start building a mobile application. Nothing stops you from being creative. Isn't that fantastic?
Don't Be Discouraged
Not everything you create will be gold. That's true for everybody, even the ones that we consider an overnight success or having a flawless track record. You have to make mistakes to understand what works and what doesn't. I would almost go as far as saying that it's mandatory to make mistakes.
You need to make mistakes to learn the ropes, become familiar with the tools, and find out what you like and don't like about your craft. Not only will this show you how to be more creative, it will also show you what works and what doesn't. And it may even help you discover things you didn't know were possible. Some of the biggest discoveries were made by mistake. Even your heroes have made mistakes, so don't be afraid to make some yourself.
When I started experimenting with photography, digital cameras were not a thing yet. I used film. This meant two things: mistakes were costly, and I had to wait several days before I could see the results of my work. Despite these limitations, it was incredibly exciting. I couldn't wait to see the results.
Nowadays, photography has lost a bit of that magic, but it has gained a number of interesting, new advantages. You can now shoot photos at an incredible pace at a fraction of the cost. This means that you can learn much quicker, learning from your mistakes as you go. Take advantage of this by making lots of photos. You'll get better with every photo you take.
Being creative is easier and more accessible than ever. This also means that you don't have any excuses to hide behind. Find out what you enjoy doing and start creating.
A Creative Career
I'm sure you agree that a creative career without creating isn't much of a career. A surprising number of people, however, wait for their career to start when another person tells them to be creative. In other words, for some people a career starts when they get their first job.
Don't make that mistake. Not only are you putting a severe limitation on yourself, it also won't help you find that first job. Show your future employer that you have the drive to be creative, even if nobody tells you to... especially if nobody tells you to.
Start designing clothes if that is your ambition. Shoot wildlife in your spare time if you dream of being a wildlife photographer. Build a mobile application if that's where your ambition lies. It will certainly help you find a job—in fact, many employers nowadays expect candidates to show some of their work simply to earn an interview.
A great way to start a career is by learning from the best. This means finding a team that is good in whatever you enjoy doing. This isn't easy without a proven track record, but it is possible.
Many companies offer internships or apprenticeships for this exact reason. They want to attract aspiring people, individuals with passion, potential, and ambition. For those people, internships and apprenticeships are a unique opportunity to skip a few steps in their career and enter the big league, the professional world of creativity.
I cannot emphasize enough how valuable such positions are. They may not make you rich, but that shouldn't be your motivation at this point in your career. They give you access to talent, relationships, and resources that will kickstart your creative career.
Most people don't have access to these things... ever. Books and courses are great for learning the basics, but nothing beats hands-on experience and learning from people who've been working in the trenches for years. If you find the right company or organization, you will learn more in one year than you ever thought possible.
Finding a Good Fit
You've found that company or organization that speaks to your imagination, but they don't offer internships or apprenticeships. Bummer, right? Not at all. Take some initiative and get in touch with someone working at the company. If the company is small, then direct your pitch straight to the captain of the ship. Tell her that you admire their work and would love to get some experience by working with them. Be honest and genuine. That always works.
If you have proof of your work and the company is open to this type of initiative, then chances are that they will invite you for an interview. What's there to lose?
Leave Your Comfort Zone
One of the most limiting factors of a creative career can be the fear of leaving your comfort zone, fear of failure. As a programmer, for example, you learned how to do something a certain way and that has worked fine for you. Never change a winning team. Right?
The world we live in changes at a rapid pace, alarmingly rapid if you ask me. It's important to adjust, to be flexible, to try new things. By trying different things or doing things differently, you will create the necessary flexibility to adjust when necessary. Not if. When.
But that's not the most important aspect of leaving your comfort zone. By leaving your comfort zone, you will become better at what you do. When you first drove a car, you were completely focused on the car, doing your very best to keep it on the road and not hitting any obstacles at the same time.
At some point, however, you began to feel more comfortable driving the car. A professional race-car driver uses that comfortable feeling as their foundation or springboard, to become better. They leave their comfort zone to excel at what they do. If they don't, they'll lose the race. It's that simple.
Your creative career is very similar. It's easy to stay in your comfort zone. It is easy to do things the way you're used to. Don't wait for someone else to push you out of your comfort zone. Beat them to it by taking that step yourself. This will make the experience less scary. It may even be fun.
Instead of waiting for the perfect job, you can start your creative career as a freelancer. There are endless opportunities to find work online. At Envato, we have Envato Studio to bring freelancers and potential clients together. Show people your best work and convince them it's you they've been looking for.
The main difference with a regular job is that you are largely in control of your own future. It also means that you have more responsibilities. You have to find clients, pay bills, take care of administrative tasks, and a few other things.
It's important that you think this through before choosing between a job and starting a business. Another popular option is to get experience at a regular job and make the jump to self-employment a bit later in your career, after you've gained the necessary experience.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and the best part is that you are in control. You only need to take action. Many successful creatives will tell you that you shouldn't wait for opportunities to come your way. Create your own opportunities by doing one simple thing: being creative. It's what you're best at, it's what you enjoy most, and it's in your nature. Water that seed.