Building a successful creative career takes hard work, dedication, and ambition. If you’re not prepared to do these things, you’ll never be successful no matter how talented you are as an artist or entrepreneur. If you do want to be successful, though, here are the top 10 lessons that can help you build your career and achieve the success you deserve.
1. Mistakes are lessons
There were a number of things that people took away from the talk. The Graphic Cat told the designers to take one step at a time and learn from mistakes, while Nino, the owner of NinON, says the key is to never stop learning. When you understand that every setback you face is a hidden opportunity, your journey will become more enjoyable.
2. Stay in research mode
It’s important to research to avoid falling into an echo chamber. Christina Stokes, a business owner, does this to keep her ideas fresh. This year, in particular, I’ve learned to be determined to always research and be educated on any subject matter, not to mention just in general for everything. Digital creation is a process and banging your head on the desk isn’t conducive to it.
3. Be yourself, always
Before creating anything, you should honor your identity and personal point of view. And, no matter what you’re making, do it for yourself. Don’t worry about what others think about it, be passionately devoted to your work, and other people will want to follow you. For example, every designer in our office is different, so we choose projects that suit their skills and interests.
4. Internships and volunteering
When you first start out, this is about getting as much experience as you can, so use this internship well. Just remember to show up on time, put in a good work ethic, be open to the work, and always be open to learning new things. That’s how you’re building your reputation as a respectable employee in your desired field.
5. Surround yourself well
You might sometimes forget that colleagues and clients can affect your career. As one high-profile design Craig Allen said if you surround yourself with the wrong people, it could really hurt your ability to produce good work.
6. Stay playful
A concern to be taken seriously early in one’s career can often stifle us, but experienced designers know how important it is to have fun. The more joy you put into a project, the more joy it yields. Avoid seriousness while you’re at it. Later on in the project, allow it to have some emotion.
7. Get some business skills – you'll need them!
In all likelihood, you’ll be self-employed. Know the basics of business management so you can make money from what you do.
8. Keep your portfolio up to date
Consider your portfolio like your face: keeping it up to date is essential. Think of your portfolio as a window into your skills, self-awareness, and professionalism – because that’s what it is. In an environment where employers require very high standards, low-quality portfolios that have typos won’t be considered and ignored – the pressure is on!
9. Stop waiting for a muse
Pablo Picasso once said, Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. After years in the creative industry, I’ve come to understand that you have to find motivation yourself, as it will be all but guaranteed. This also applies to creating something beautiful.
10. Take risks with your career
When people stop moving forward, they end up stagnating. Continued development and improvement are necessary for a successful career. Making a radical shift in your career or making something new and initially daunting can be terrifying, but the classic cliché what we didn’t do in life is regret, not what we did generally holds true for creatives.