Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How Freelancer's Dance!

'A successful freelancer is passionate about his art and seeks inspiration to fuel it-even in his off-duty hours-simply for the sake of generating work that he loves' (Ilasco, 2010)

Creative freelancers are curious creatures! Curiosity is a driver, a motivator and is a well primed tool for new opportunities, new skills, new techniques new ways of creating. Creative people are 'culture vultures' devouring all sorts of newspapers, magazines, journals and books watching the latest films, world cinema, theatre and documentaries (Ilasco, 2010). 'We vultures' or as i prefer 'magpies' (!) also like to travel and absorb new experiences be inspired by our adventures, by what we have seen: people, places, colours, textures etc.

'The more diverse your experiences and interests, the stronger your ability to come up with ideas' (Ilasco, 2010)

Although Meg Mateo Ilasco's book 'Creative Inc...' (see 'Tools of the Trade') is specifically aimed at freelancers/'wannabe' freelancers in my view it also sums up the qualities of a creative individual and a creative entrepreneur.

Ilasco lists 9 essential qualities for a freelancer and in my view a creative entrepreneur:

  1. A strong business sense: '...there's enough ego and talent coursing through the creative world for even the most gifted artist to get lost in the crowd. The ones who flex their business muscle become the most identifiable and successful' It is important to be a confident decision maker, with motivation and resourcefulness. Competence in maintaining structure and schedule, marketing, accounting and office admin is also equally important as this will be a day-to-day task (Ilasco, 2010).
  2. Love of your art: '...you have to be passionate about what you do' You need to be excited each morning to get out of bed and start your day, you need to be prepared to have very long days, a 9-5 day is unrealistic! 
  3. Curiosity: As stated earlier a creatives' are curious creatures! Creative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in general need to be connected and engage with the world observing, listening, reacting, being influenced and inspired and forming networks and alliances everywhere, even in the most unlikely places.
  4. Confidence and a strong vision: initiate projects from your ideas, from how your perceive them to 'look', 'just do it' and have faith in your abilities.
  5. Good listening and observational skills: as a creative entrepreneur you may always want to 'Do whatever you want, when you want' however as Ilasco illustrates for creative freelancers to stay in business you need to please your client before yourself, likewise to be a successful entrepreneur you'll need to please your respective market, be adaptable.
  6. Good communication skills: you will need to connect with your market - whoever it might be. You need to inspire and persuade effectively, to be a successful entrepreneur you still need to make money and communication skills are vital for marketing and selling your product/service!
  7. An ability to handle criticism and rejection: although it has been emphasised that creative individuals and indeed creative entrepreneurs like to  'Do whatever you want, when you want' in business it will be tough and if creative entrepreneurs are to succeed they depend on appeal to their market, it is therefore essential not only to develop a thick skin but also not to ignore feedback and react to it positively! (Ilasco, 2010)
  8. A positive attitude and professional demeanour:  'A positive attitude is priceless when you are running your own business. It's important to handle every job, whether small or large with joice de vivre' ...'mistatkes are part of the discovery process' (Ilasco, 2010).
  9. Good work habits:  as both a creative freelancer and creative entrepreneur you need to organise a good suitable structure that ensures you are able to focus on business tasks and responsibilities day-to-day whilst having the fluidity to be creative and realise your ideas! 'As a freelancer, you have to be self-motivated, because only you can set the bar for your skill and output' (Ilasco, 2010).

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