Conclusion - You've Got This
You didn't make it this far to just make it this far. Being a creative entrepreneur is not easy, it's not for the fainthearted, and it's not for those wanting to live their life by the book or by a status-quo game plan. It's for the bold and the courageous.
By now you know that it costs you something to be who you are, to wake up every day and create from a place of confidence and determination. It's also a tremendous gift and luxury that not everyone has.
Not everyone is born with the inherent talent that you have to do what you do. Not everyone is in a socioeconomic demographic that affords the luxury of creative work. Not everyone lives in a location where creative work is commissioned and paid for, or is even a potential career. It's not an accident that you picked up this book. It’s not an accident that you are a creative. You know that there is something more out there for you, and you're looking for that extra bump of encouragement to do it.
We know the ins and outs of navigating uncertainty, and that there are ways to ride the ebbs and flows with confidence. Using your downtime to work on personal projects and perhaps take a real vacation is sometimes the best way to revive your mojo and attract like-minded clients. It's also likely that you think you want certainty more than you actually do.
There's a part of you that thrives on uncertainty. You wouldn't be here if there wasn't. Uncertainty enables the creative journey to flourish in a nonlinear way. If we had certainty all the time coupled with all the necessary resources, our work would be boring and incredibly uninspired.
The business and technological phase creatives are in now is very tough. It requires a degree of faith, entrepreneurship and courage that is unprecedented. All creatives are under attack, and copyright, fees, business practices and usage terms are all moving out of our favor. We are some of the most well-rounded, experienced and, I’d argue, necessary talent in the world, yet we have to fight tooth and nail for everything: every acknowledgment, every invoice to be paid, every small and large investment into our business, sometimes just to stay in business every month. I’d like to see that change.
The way we get through these struggles is by supporting each other, sharing best practices and advocating for our rights collectively. Talking about the struggles and working through them. We often work as individual islands, which only makes the process harder. After all, the world needs us to power the creative engine that drives innovation and progress.
We've discussed the power and importance of staying connected and in community with our fellow creative comrades. In today's world we've never been more technologically connected and emotionally and physically disconnected. Staying in close contact with our industry peers keeps us abreast what is going on and helps generate an instant problem solving and brainstorming team on demand. It helps us feel not isolated. It's also a great platform to discuss our projects, get feedback and celebrate or commiserate with those who embrace a similar lifestyle.
Surrounding ourselves with successful creatives will rub off on our work in all the right ways. It challenges us to take our work and our lives to the next level. We gain confidence and inertia from observing others taking risks toward what they want. The power of mutual support is tremendous.
You have hopefully established and embraced a routine for success that works for you. With discipline comes freedom – the freedom to work on projects of special interest and to take time off when you need it. Planning for success ensures that our personal and professional needs are met and helps us navigate an often difficult and highly unpredictable schedule. It also helps us fill our days with productive activities when commissioned work is slow and we're feeling less than inspired.
Actively managing our belief systems helps us stay focused and pulls us out of ruts when things aren't going our way. It also allows us to accelerate toward our wildest dreams when “logic” would show us that something isn't possible. It's our underlying operating system that allows us to achieve whatever we set our minds to and whatever we are willing to work at.
Facing adversity is a daily part of the creative experience. Resilience is the secret sauce of creative life, and when we move beyond difficult times we become that much stronger, and that much more ready to take on the world. It gives us the courage to continually take bigger and better risks. Our projects and plans become invincible.
As our own bosses, we sometimes forget to promote ourselves, give ourselves a raise, or challenge ourselves to take our work and business to the next level. Upleveling is a commitment to living our highest truth. It's a promise to take ourselves as far as we can go. There are many ways to give ourselves a promotion: vacation time, a wellness retreat or epic trip, new office digs, pitching new work to higher-profile clients, committing to working on a personal project, etc. No one is going to swing by your office and tell you to take the day off or task you with a higher initiative.
We need to choose what we focus on and what we chose to cut loose. This protects our energy, our ability to create, and the quality of our output. Saying no to the wrong things is as important, if not more so, than saying yes to the right things. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and stay there. This is your talent, your business and your life – you are the director and the world is waiting for you to call the shots.
With that in mind, I hope this book has inspired you to go for it. To know that you are not alone in the creative world and are right on track for success. Ours can be a tumultuous business and more difficult in many ways than a normal job. However, if you stick with it, you will see the dividends pay out for you.
You don't come with an expiration date and you never know exactly how much time you have on this planet – and of that time, how much “good” time where you are mentally and physically at your peak to do what you love. If you boil down the number of years, weeks and days you have to pursue the projects you really want to do, how much time do you really have? It's probably less than you think.
Take advantage of what you have now. Go on the trips you want to go on. Pitch the ideas and projects you want to pitch. Approach the dream clients you want to work with. Take a year off and work on the personal project you've always wanted to do. Think about your legacy and what you want to remain after you go. Someday is not a day. Put it on your calendar and make it happen. Challenge yourself to take more risks, more often. It doesn't have to be perfect and it probably won't be. Put your best foot forward and go for it. If you leap, the universe will be your net.
When I travel, which is often, I'm asked by many people what I do for a living. Being a female, architectural photographer and publisher is a possibility in very few countries in the world. I see the status of women in much of the world, some parts where it is illegal to work, where women are banned from doing creative work and where the socioeconomic standards are so low that very few have the freedom to do what they truly want to do and many are not free to live outside of traditional lifestyles.
The majority of the world works for sustenance, paycheck to paycheck. I do not take it for granted that I have the freedom to do what I do. It is a gift and one that I cherish deeply. Similarly, people dream of being in your shoes and having the talent, time and courage to create. I challenge you to embrace that freedom and give it all you've got.
There is no substitute for living the life you want to live. There is no amount of money or job title that can replace doing what you love for a living. If you've made it this far you can certainly make it much further. Don't allow “what if” regrets to sneak in. Go for it. Every step forward, no matter how big or small, ultimately brings you closer to succeeding.
Thank you for continuing to make the world a more creative and inspiring place.