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Successful Self Employment For Artists and Other Freelancers

Being a business takes a lot of hard work, to put it mildly. Artists generally have experience in creating beauty, but are usually less than knowledgeable about the world of business and self-employment. It pays to work hard, to avoid that horrible starving artist cliche. Who needs to starve? By spending a lot of time building a reputation and trust in clients, the business will grow all by itself. The trick is to think like a savvy businessperson, not a fine artist.

First of all, advertising is very important. Without it, nobody knows who you are and what you have to sell. Learn how to sell, read, and absorb as much marketing knowledge as possible. The internet is a wealth of information. Focus your study on basic business building and marketing concepts, and then grow that knowledge by adding more study on it, later.

Join many clubs and organizations. Think like a business not a hobby. Don't go crazy with fees and big titles. Just get your name out there, and do it as cheaply as possible. Word travels fast if you're good and have products that people like.

Be realistic. Don't expect to take over the marketing world overnight. Build on your knowledge. It may take years but that's ok, it's to be expected unless you have an unlimited marketing budget or an MBA to move ahead quicker.

Be professional. Copyright everything. Keep up with the legal side of everything. It pays to be professional and expect nothing but professionalism back from others you deal with. Customers will try to get something for nothing. Don't take it personally but don't cave in, be firm with what you think your items are worth, document everything and believe in yourself. Don't let others control your business decisions unless you hire them to do so.

Put out a quality product. That goes without saying. Lousy product, no repeat customers, and your reputation suffers. Craftsmanship and professionalism. Don't be late in delivering items, dress appropriately when meeting clients and be businesslike. Sloppy presentations will put you at a disadvantage. To stand out you must be a class act and so must your products.

Network, network, network. Attend functions, luncheons, fairs, whatever fits your niche in the world. Get to know others. Big executives do their networking on golf courses. You can network yourself anywhere. Keep business cards on hand and pass them out, don't be shy.

Be picky about assignments. Don't accept anything that comes along. This keeps your standard of work high and uncompromised. It's good to get exposure but don't give your work away to anyone who asks for it. If you do, you'll be inundated with those who will tell you "I don't have any money, but I can give you exposure if you just do ___ for me". Nope. Get exposure on your own. You can bog yourself down with these kinds of projects and make nothing from it. If you want to donate work then be discriminating about it.

Have a budget and stick to it. Don't get extravagant with spending or you'll end up broke. The income of a freelance artist can be a windfall of cash one minute, and absolutely nothing, the next. Work towards more steady income without wild peaks and valleys. It pays to be sensible with money. Save a little whenever possible, to be used for strictly business purposes in the future. It takes practise.

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