Creatives are the light of the world and we need to shine, more now than ever before. It is our work that has the greatest power to transcend cultural differences and transform society.
You are the only hope we have!
You are here because you have a burning desire to contribute something important to the world. Something the world needs to see, hear, touch or do. Something that is working through you that you are meant to share. Something that will likely change the course of your life and the lives of others, if only for a moment.
You may not think what you do is revolutionary. It may in fact not be—on the surface.
Being an individual creative entrepreneur doing what you love for a living puts you in the one percent. It puts you in a group so narrow that your very existence of waking up every morning and taking a stab at life truly matters. It matters because most people don't have the courage to do it.
Most people wouldn't dare to take the risk of doing something they truly love for such a wide variety of reasons: it's scary, it's impractical, it won't pay the bills, it's unstable, there’s a risk of failure, and that’s just the beginning.
You doing what you do gives others permission to do what they want to do.
If just a few like-minded people are putting out writing, scripts, fine art, music, and photography, think of how many voices are not being represented and heard.
Do you love everything that's going on politically? Do you love the way the world characterizes you, your gender, your race, your age, etc.? If you're not madly in love with the status quo, then it's time to do something about it by contributing in a way that others can see. The operative words are can see. Get your work and your voice out there. Make yourself heard. The world needs you.
The reality is that most of us did not end up here by accident. You did not become a creative entrepreneur because it was the easy thing to do. It wasn't the convenient thing to do. It was what you had to do. That means you couldn't or wouldn't take the “certain” route of corporate life, a 9-to-5 by any definition, or any other conventional career path. Working for someone and something else wasn't for you.
You have a purpose and a vision, so much so that you were or are willing to risk your survival to do what you do. Think about that. It's pretty impressive when you assess the risk you took to get here. It goes against common sense. It even goes against Darwin. You chose uncertainty in order to fulfill your life purpose. Just remember that. You may hate it, it may be your least favorite part of being a creative, but you ultimately chose it over certainty.
Being a creative is privilege. With the talent and good fortune comes an obligation. One that so few of us living in the Western world truly understand. It's an obligation to narrate the stories of the world through our perspective. It's an obligation to de-corporatize and re-democratize the media. It's an obligation to be present and show up every day doing the best that we can do.
That’s not to say it’s easy, but it’s to say that it doesn’t have to be hard. Uncertain? Yes. Curveballs when you lease expect them? Yes. Requires tons of faith, courage and curiosity? Yes. Doable? Absolulely.
My goal is to provide you with a framework for building emotional support and success. I hope this book inspires you to take the next step in your creative endeavor, or at a minimum, know that you are not alone in the process. Your struggles are our struggles. Your successes are our successes. Your failures are our failures.
You may be in a position where you’re stuck between your day job and taking the leap into doing what you really want to be doing full-time. You may have already taken the leap, but now struggle with getting new clients and staying out of the red on a month-to-month basis. You may have gotten the clients and done the work but are waiting ad nauseam to get paid. Your clients may have paid, but tend to be one-hit wonders, are inconsistent, or are constantly trying to negotiate a “better” deal, making you wonder whether the corporate world was so bad after all. At least you had complimentary coffee and pantry snacks that were regularly stocked by someone other than you. Or you may just be stuck somewhere in the middle—you’re mildly successful but don’t know how long it will last and can’t find the gusto to stop staring at the couch and really go for it in a way that guarantees your long-term success.
There are many things I wish I would have known earlier in my journey as an independent creative. In studying both leaders and independent high-achievers in creative fields, I have analyzed what it takes to get over the humps and persevere in a world with seemingly no structure or recipe for success.
We will dive headfirst into the most common challenges creatives face and demystify what it really takes to get ahead—and stay there.