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Developing Creativity: Creative Pros and Creative Entrepreneurs

Posted Dec 17 2011 9:29pm

Video: The Creative Team of the Future

“Developed by The Creative Group in partnership with the AAF, The Creative Team of the Future is a joint research project that highlights trends affecting the role of the creative professional and shares insights from leaders in the advertising industry.”

By The Creative Group , “a division of specialized staffing leader Robert Half International Inc., specializes in placing highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing, web and public relations professionals with a variety of firms.”

The Secret Life of a Freelancer
an interview with Kristen Fischer – by The Creative Group

Want to know what it’s really like to fly solo?

Started freelancing and having doubts? If you have ever been curious about consulting or are distressed by the unpredictability of this career path, check out Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal With Career Ups and Downs, by freelance writer Kristen Fischer.

In her first book, Kristen shares intimate snippets of her journey to becoming a full-time freelancer – from her decision to quit her 9-to-5 job to her traipse to Starbucks for her first day of work as a self-employed creative.

But this book is not only for writers; it includes a collection of stories from other established freelancers, from a Wisconsin-based fiber artist to a graphic artist and illustrator in the Netherlands.

And while there are plenty of warm, fuzzy “feel-good moments” scattered throughout the book, Kristen’s not afraid to reveal the day-to-day challenges of freelancing. Her words are encouraging yet candid, and the advice she offers is relevant to anyone considering – or in the midst of – a freelancing career.

We sat down with Kristen to talk about her book, her experiences and greatest lessons learned as a self-employed creative:

The Creative Group: “What made you write Creatively Self-Employed?”

Kristen Fischer: “I was always told to ‘write what you know.’ So when I was looking to write a book, I was intrigued by what I was going through at the time – that was dealing with everything related to freelancing. I was feeling lonely, coping with rejection and trying to run a business. There were no other books on this topic that didn’t preach on what to do. I didn’t think every problem deserved a cookie-cutter answer.

“I liked the idea of letting people speak out and having that support get to others, which is why I chose to interview people and highlight their experiences.”

TCG: “You include an interesting montage of professionals who successfully become ‘creatively self-employed.’ How and why did you choose these individuals?”

KF: “The people featured were either those I approached or those who answered my online ads for input. I only knew a handful of creatives in the book. I wanted to have a fresh perspective from freelancers globally, and I wanted to feature those from a wide range of industries. The cross-section of creatives came together perfectly.”

TCG: “In the first chapter of your book, you explain that you knew you could handle being self-employed: ‘I was an independent worker … I had the drive to succeed and the willingness to do whatever it took to get there.’ Can those who are less self-assured or self-disciplined thrive as full-time freelancers?”

KF: “It’s totally normal for others to be less confident starting out. I knew that I was someone who got things done when I started and I do think freelancers need to have that foundation. But people can always improve, and there’s a natural progression that happens as your business builds.

“I think to be successful [as a freelancer] you have to love what you do. You also need to have a strong business sense and be open, knowing that you’ll have things to do that you don’t like (accounting and marketing, for example). If you love what you do, you’ll excel at your work. But you can’t just rely on your craft – you have to be able to get projects in and you’ll need to have some business development and sales skills to do that.”

> Continued: The Secret Life of a Freelancer

Book: Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs , by Kristen Fischer.

> Photo: Google office, Zurich – also used in articles Giftedness in the work environment , by Noks Nauta, Sieuwke Ronner
Career Planning for Gifted Adults , by Cathy Goodwin
Work that Works for Sensitive Souls , by Jenna Avery

More resources:

How Passion Can Interfere with a Just-Right Business , by Molly Gordon

Book by Molly Gordon: The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur, The Practical Path to a Business that Fits Just-Right .

Podcast interview: Susan Kirkland: Designer and Creative Services Entrepreneur – author of the book Start & Run A Creative Services Business .

Sites:
The Inner Entrepreneur
The Inner Entrepreneur / Facebook

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