Can You Change Your Life and Become an Entrepreneur?
Are you a creative person who crams all your artistic output into the last few hours of the day, after you’ve clocked out of your ‘real job’?
It can be a chore to try and balance out your passion and your ‘real life’. As creatives, we often find ourselves jumping on random career opportunities that bring in enough money to make our passions possible.
We end up in a sort of groove. We dedicate most of our time to studies or careers that are ‘good enough’, that we can know we can succeed at and subsist on. And all the while, we end up leading this secret double life on the sidelines where we truly come alive.
So how do we get out of that groove?
What I wanted to look at for this post weren’t the big success stories, because the chances of achieving that success are one in a million. Instead, I analysed how perfectly average writers and artists are managing their transitions, in today’s digital, oversaturated world.
Networking and Visibility for Budding Entrepreneurs
For young creatives, the first outlet that is immediately accessible is, of course, the Internet. The staggering majority of the millennial generation uses social media and blog platforms for fun already: to connect with others, to share interests and hobbies, and to keep up with the news.
So it’s only natural that the first and most accessible step is to focus your online networking in order to make it as efficient as possible.
Social Media Marketing: Keep it Efficient
Marketing yourself and building your brand online can be tricky. Because as everybody out there keeps saying – the worst thing you can do is shove your portfolio and links in people’s faces all the time without anyone knowing who you are.
Authenticity is what sells, nowadays. But at the same time, you can’t liberally overshare or post eclectic content on your professional social media. Here are a couple of pointers on how to balance it out.
Stick to One Type of Content
The content you post must be streamlined and themed so that viewers know what to expect. Personal posts are still important to let your viewers know that you are a real person, but they should be few and far between.
Make your Shop or Commissions Page Visible & Obvious
Consumers won’t necessarily realise they want to buy something until they realise it’s available for sale. You have to use that to your advantage.
Along with your main products, you should always remember to add in some smaller products that are cheaper and can be sold in bundles. This works for both writers and artists.
Keywords, Hashtags, and Ideal Posting Times
However much you may hate them, you really should be using hashtags. If you study which ones will give you the most visibility, then you’re sure to gain a steady trickle of followers on the daily.
Definitely also look up when to post your content. Different social media outlets have different active periods. For instance, it’s best to post on Facebook at midday on Wednesday and Thursday – and if you’re using Twitter, you should be posting on Friday mornings.
Building and Maintaining your Customer Base
With nowadays’ vlog culture and tendency towards internet transparency, users who feel like they personally bond with you will be more likely to stay in your orbit for much longer. What you want is an active customer base rather than a passive slew of followers who don’t interact.
Here’s how you keep them interested and attract more.
- Interact with them like an actual human being.
- Don’t guilt them for not purchasing your content.
- Find popular but not oversaturated niches you can produce content for.
- Connect with other artists in your genre. Even if they’re not popular.*
- Big or small, these are guaranteed to pull some viewers in.
- Collaborations with more visible artists in your genre.
- Post daily, or according to a set schedule that your viewers can access.
- Post exclusive content on tip-based platforms like Tippee or Patreon.
- Cover your bases and use social media outlets that are best for your content.
*Forming a community with other artists at your own small level of popularity is essential. Firstly, because they’ll often become your first fans who’ll support your content. And second, because having a support network of people at the same level as you is vital for your mental health and motivation.
Declaring your Business Legally: Different Rules for Every Country
The great thing about producing online content and gathering a fanbase is that this will then act as a portfolio, and will give weight and credibility to your “business” even before you officially declare your artistic endeavours as such.
As creatives, the legal side of things might not be our forte. But it’s essential that you really study what it means to declare yourself as an independent business.
Here’s what to look out for:
Benefits for Budding Entrepreneurs
In some countries, benefits systems exist to support new businesses by cutting down the social charges you’ll have to lop off of your declared income. Look up what these benefits entail, whether you’re eligible and whether there are deadlines to apply.
Different Types of Entrepreneurs
Where I live, you have two types of statuses. The first allows the entrepreneur to declare their income and calculate/pay their charges and taxes themselves. The second place a middle-man between commissioner and entrepreneur and allows you to benefit from certain employee privileges like paid vacations.
It’s vital to take your time to study the legal side of things in your country, ask around for advice, and pick the status that suits you best. Most of the time you absolutely can start selling your content while you study these things because you’ll be declaring that income soon anyway.
Net vs. Gross Income
Oftentimes, you end up being your own accountant. So you’d better be on top of the charges and taxes you’ll have to pay. Usually you can choose to do this on a monthly or trimestral basis, but in any case, you should start getting used drawing up charts and steeling yourself for the instability of a just-opened freelance business.
So. Do you feel ready to take the step?
Don’t be discouraged by the technicalities. The dream is attainable, but it takes work. In any case, don’t quit your job before your artistic income allows you to.
Josephine Larsen, a blogger who loves fashion and travels who have been all over the planet. I’ve got many years of blogging in the backpack and will continue to write for as long as my fingers work. To make a living I also do some content writing for TouchLucky.com and FableCasino.com.