That depends. When I graduated college in 2006 with a fine arts degree, I was pretty broke and barely making ends meet. After I lost my job, I spent nearly $400 per month on student loans and a roommate who was already living off Social Security. But I learned a lot from my art classes and kept going and eventually broke out financially, so I decided art was something I really should make a career of. My classes provided real world, practical and real world-relevant experiences that helped my career get off the ground.
What are the challenges facing freelancers?
If you’re a freelancer it comes down to this:
• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even though I teach freelance craftwork, mistakes happen. Being a freelancer is different than being a full-blown artist or an illustrator. It’s all about working as hard as you can and taking care of your relationships the best you can. If you don’t get good at this, it may be the beginning of a bad habit.
• Always be prepared to go where the market needs you. Every artist and art school teaches you something new about their business, but once you leave the school you won’t know the same. The key to being prepared is taking the time to learn as much as you can about where and when they are doing what. This will give you ideas to follow when you need them.
• Be sure to build a community around your profession. Artists tend to have a really hard time staying connected with artists outside their own circle. It’s impossible to do your stuff without a network. Whether it’s drawing a group of friends or sharing your ideas and experiences with a group of like-minded folks, you’ll build a good community.
• Find a few people to mentor you. If you’re not getting enough people to mentor you (or you get overwhelmed or too busy), look into getting some friends on board to help out. A lot of us freelancers never get a chance to mentor each other as we have school and other commitments.
• Work hard, eat well. Many of you will want to save a little for retirement. If you want to be a freelance artist, take care of yourself so you can work on what interests you.
• Give yourself time. As soon as you’ve finished learning the basics of your craft, you’ll be able to work on a few small projects to get your feet wet so that you don’t burn out too hard.
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