Reflections: Why I’m in business as a creative
Because from time to time, we need to think about where we’re going
As a creative, maker or consultant whose offering your skill set in exchange for money, you need to periodically take time think about why you are doing what you usually do. Getting the why part of your work equation locked down in your mind is essential. If you can’t answer why you do what you do as a maker, you won’t scale very far intentionally. Why is the question, whose answer fuels our work and gives meaning to our late nights and rash decisions as to what jobs we take and which ones we drop. Just take a look at the following variations of the why questions
1. What’s your endgame?
After 10 years of being independent and constantly creating where do you see yourself? Are you making more money, signing huge clients, shipping more refined versions of your work as mastery is attained over the years, paying your bills more consistently ;). Whatever it is, you need to have it locked down in your mind and work towards it.
2. How long do you want to do this?
Let’s face it, creative work in all its forms when done for a living is quite challenging. You and your firm have a limited span of relevance if you don’t understand how to position yourself for longevity and adapt to the times was they change. Right now, every industry we work in can and will be disrupted in some way so we need to ask the question as creatives:
If I want to do this for X years, what do I need to start adjusting in my life right now?
3. If I had to quit what I’m doing, how would I exit
This point seems counter to point #1 but you need to think about opportunities that may arise and cause you to consider a different direction from freelancing or contracting as an independent party. What would make you take a break from building your firm and put things in the back burner for while?
I know of some my friends who had been hardcore freelance software developers on Upwork for years or offering consulting services independently for years, lay down the hustle because they got Startup co-founder or CTO offers. It’s not a nice thing to think of given the thrill of the wild chase in the world of freelancing but it’s something I believe we need to think about. What if you end up being offered a management position after doing great work for your client?
These variations of Why cause us to understand that going independent as a creative has to be thought about deeply before any takes the plunge because it’s not smooth sailing all the way.