The holiday season is a great time to finish up and get a head start on the new year. Don’t let anything from the past year keep you from making an impact on the remaining weeks. What we do now can set us up to build a creative income in 2014.
Finding resources and building additional avenues of income is vital to thriving in our economy. A study by Intuit predicts 40% of the people in the USA will not have traditional jobs by the time 2020 comes.
Many of us embrace the idea of creating our own vocations and having more flexibility and earning potential. We can’t wait until 2020 to start learning how to build income in non-traditional ways. Today is the day to start.
The following are 11 ideas to establish your skill set and build creative income into your life. And you can start all of these things now!
1. Take an inventory of your skills- don’t leave any out.
Sometimes what we view as a basic skill, is something very desirable to someone else. Leverage your unique abilities and history in your favor.
I didn’t think much of my abilities to prepare healthy meals quickly. I thought (mistakenly) everyone knew how to cook with fresh ingredients. I discovered how wrong I was! Now I write books to help people gain confidence in the kitchen and I go to people’s homes and teach them how to cook.
What skill do you have that someone else would benefit from?
2. Don’t be discouraged if the dream job takes a while. Use the in between time to develop a foundation, learn from trial and error, and develop relationships.
My own misconceptions of what it would take to become a full time artpreneur caused some impulsive financial and vocational choices I came to regret. It is a discipline to balance passion with patience but it is well worth the effort. Don’t overlook things like having a savings account, getting rid of debt, and staying healthy. Avoid sacrificing personal health and special relationships for the sole motivation of making a job or business profitable.
3. Determine to enjoy the journey.
It is so easy to get caught up in running after a dream that all we end up doing is….running.
A life spent chasing after dreams can rob us of enjoying the moments we are given today. Don’t allow the dream to become a drag. When you work on your dream, do it with all your might.
Then stop, rest, refresh, and invest in relationships. Refreshed, energized people see more opportunities, leave positive impressions, and progress to their goals without burning out.
4. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.
Everyone starts out at the beginning. Most people struggle through a few (or several) years of finding their voice, nailing down what they are good at, and building a body of work.
Mental attitude and the determination to stick-to-it is one of the biggest assets to making an impact and building creative income. Don’t be discouraged if your vocational life isn’t soaring yet.
5. Give freelancing a try: enjoy the benefits even if you don’t love the work of temp jobs.
Are you looking for steady work while you work on your dream job? Perhaps the frustration of looking for a job in your field has drudged on for weeks, months, or even a year. The temptation to get any job to make money is strong.
Instead of running for a barista job as a first (or second) job, consider gigs that will pay the bills, but give you more flexibility to pursue your dreams and passions.
Service jobs allow you to maintain a flexible schedule and make more money than traditional jobs. I’ve cleaned houses, worked as a personal chef, and taught craft and cooking classes. Typically, my rate was $20 an hour, much more than the other jobs I had at restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores.
The work wasn’t glamorous, but the perks were. I had a flexible schedule and more time to focus on my art and writing.
Other ideas to consider: pet care, house sitting, errand running, housekeeping, lawn and garden care, computer fix-it services, teaching computer skills, admin work for local business (do it on a freelance basis).
6. Create a product.
Designing products is a great way to add income to your bank account, learn business skills such as sales and marketing.
There has never been a better time to explore some of your interests and passions and develop products around them. Ideas include writing a novella mystery series for food bloggers, creating beautiful coffee table books of local photography for your city, or creating a meal plan along with grocery lists and tips for saving money & time for time-crunched professionals.
A product can be something physical or digital. Have you written a book? Designed an app? Developed software to help make the lives of professionals or artists easier? Product creation is fun and can be a cathartic outlet in a world where many of the jobs we do aren’t connected to tangibly creating something.
Today, there are companies who will pay you for developing your ideas for products! Companies like Quirky (http://www.quirky.com/) take the ideas of folks like you and me, put them on a platform for the public to vote on, and will create the product if it passes through their examination process.
7. Outsource what you can’t do to make your products and services better.
I used to do everything myself because I thought I couldn’t afford help. It turns out, I can’t NOT afford to get help. With companies like Fiverr (http://www.fiverr.com) , I’ve been able to get books edited, covers made; eGuides formatted and designed- all for less than $25.
Hiring other people helps you look better, especially when design and formatting issues come up. It will also build your confidence as the product you have looks better, helping you to feel better and stronger about it.
8. Ask for referrals.
We are a social society and people want to work with people others have recommended to them. When I moved back to California and needed to obtain freelance work, a few people gave me recommendations to keep me busy full time.
Some people are better at networking than others. I have a sister-in-law who just knows everyone and what is going on in their life. She referred several people to me when I needed work. They were happy, I was happy, she was happy. Don’t hesitate to ask!
9. If you feel vague about what you want to do, make a dream day.
Has the challenges of life frozen the ability to dream? You can recover your ability to dream!
Take a day to quietly reflect on what you want to be remembered for.
Artist and art agent Lila Rogers said, “People buy your joy.” The vision and dream you hold inside of you is one of your most powerful assets. Don’t lose it; it is the connection between you and the people you are going to impact.
10. Are you more gifted in service-based businesses than in sales?
It is cool and hip to create products, but never underestimate the power of service jobs. It can be basic service skills such as housecleaning to more advanced services such as helping people find jobs, coaching, working as a personal chef, or teaching art classes.
11. Read the trends business and visioneers are making for 2014.
What interests are gaining a following that you can serve? Pick up the issues of Entrepreneur, Success, Forbes, Money, Inc., Fast Business, and Wired Magazine to see what new things are on the horizons. What might you be a part of in the next few years?
I hope this post provides you with ideas to finish out 2013 strong so you can continue implementing 2014 with action.
As you work through different ideas and businesses, you’ll make surprising discoveries about yourself. One of the things you’ll discover is that you are stronger and more resilient than you think. You will learn to view problems in a different light. Going out on a limb will do that.
This is a guest post by Melissa AuClair. Melissa AuClair is a writer, author and artist. Her life goal is to help creatives become “artpreneurs,” blending art with business to create an income and live a life true to who they are. If you want to know more about her and would like to know more about how to use your artistic and creative skills to build income, visit LaunchYourCreativeLife and download the ECourse, Somebody Needs You to Shine.