7 lessons I gained as a self-employed artist


Next month it will be half a year since I've started my full time artist career. Before that I was working two jobs: lifeless assignments from 9 to 5 and becoming doll artist on the evenings. I'm so grateful that I have this amazing opportunity to work for myself, set my own working hours and say YES to all the interesting projects which I didn't have time before. To celebrate this first anniversary, let me share with you most valuable lessons I've learned as a self-employed artist.

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1. You don't have to risk everything

Lately, I sense some kind of obsession with success stories. There are so many artists, bloggers, creatives who just started their own thing, jumped in with both feet and became successful immediately. But here's a thing. You don't have to risk everything or leave your day job. If you are good at something and you really wanna try to make a living from it, your activity can start as a side project. I know that this can be hard and patience is a key here. But if you grow business from little to big and continue on your path, you'll build it to last.

2. Plan your finances and learn about it

Money is an inexhaustible topic. And at some level it concerns everyone. Recently I've started to read a lot on this matter. I learned how to do a better job on managing my finances and reduced the stress which money caused me every month. When you're self-employed artist, steady income allows you to concentrate on your job more and get better results. I'm still working on that, but at this point I'm pretty happy with myself. In my newsletter last week I shared one of my favourite blogs about finances: Young Yet Wise. Another read Making Sense of Cents is a great help too. You can find a lot of useful information here and break the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

When you’re a self-employed artist, steady income allows you to concentrate on your job more and get better results.

3. Always have something to reach

I'm that kind of person who loves to make all the possible scenarios in my head. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes not so much, haha. But from that, I learned one important thing about myself. If I have something to reach, I achieve that in the end. But the best part is all the efforts I put to do so. That goal somewhere on the horizon keeps me motivated and inspired to work harder.

4. Maintain quality and deliver value

As a doll artist, I have to maintain the quality of my dolls and deliver value. People who purchase my art are getting not only the doll but the feeling and the story behind it too. Every time I must accomplish that level when every tiny detail is telling you how special and exclusive this interior doll is. All the small things matters here: packaging, nice additions like doll certificate, elegant business card or discount for another item. I consistently seeking what I can improve and make the whole experience even better.

5. Schedule time to work and manage it wisely

To develop a habit of scheduling time to work is very important. When you can set up your own working hours it's really easy to end up working too much or not doing any work at all. To be persistent and have a schedule helps you to stay productive and meet the deadlines in time. I think I have some space to be better at this. But from the first day of working by myself, I saw that discipline is the key to success.

6. Communicate and promote

Maintaining a conversation with my clients and people, who interested in things I do, is essential for me. Talking with you through letters or comments allow me to get to know you better and find out your thoughts and wishes. I love blogging and share my expertise with those in need. Social media helps not just to promote, but to interact with my crowd in a direct and responsive way as well. I think that two-way communication adds more value to the whole experience in my business.

7. Believe in yourself

At the beginning of your self-employed artist journey, when you're not so sure about anything, there can be some tough times. You start questioning yourself and your work. And that's OK! You can use this frustration to improve your work. Try to talk with closest friends or family, sometimes a few supportive words lift your self esteem again. But the most important, you have to believe in yourself! All those constant doubts won't get you far.