Start A Project, Create A Job
As I perused my Twitter feed this morning I kept seeing people tweeting about their woes at finding a job in an economy that is less than desirable at the moment. I can sympathize with these people, a lot. A few years ago (around 2007) I quit my “real” job to strike out on my own as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I did pretty well until around the time the economy started to take a down turn just before 2008. After 2008 my surplus funds were depleted and I was down to my last month’s worth of funds, I had no clue where I was headed from there.
So, I started a comic. To be honest I had been developing the comic for a year prior to actually getting started on it, but it was at the moment that I had finally run out of funds I earned freelancing that I decided to jump into the production of the comic.
I began creating the comic as a daily comic strip because at the time I didn’t have any other work coming in. I didn’t alter my normal work schedule at all, I would wake up and get dressed and begin working on the day’s comic. Of course the comic wasn’t bringing in any money, but nothing was at that point any way. A lot of my regular freelance customers had experienced huge setbacks in their own businesses because of the downturn of the markets, and many of them went out of business altogether. But I still had a few gigs coming in here and there and when I didn’t, I was working on the comic.
Soon I started to realize that, even though I had no income at all, I was still optimistic about my career because I was staying focused on the comic. I was honing a skill (illustration) that I’d been wanting to work on for a while, but never had the time. I was making a lot of progress doing it for eight hours a day every single day and I was loving it. And still broke. But happier than I had been in the last two years.
At this point in time creative industries are experiencing a lot of changes. And these changes aren’t over. There’s going to be constant change and even more downturn in markets and changes in job status. It’s during these times of change that offer the most opportunity.
Opportunities are the highest in times of change because the playing fields, for the most part, are even on all sides. There aren’t any status quos right now, no large conglomerates that hold all the keys to the gates of distribution any more.
But opportunities aren’t easy to take advantage of. Opportunities aren’t just going to be given away. We have to work for them. We have to take them.
So, in this down economy we often find our self “in-between” jobs more often than not. If you find yourself in that situation then start a project. Start something, anything! It doesn’t have to be a comic (though comics are great things to start) but it needs to be something that you can focus on each day and that you can mark progress forward on.
The more you focus on YOUR new project, the more you will find that you can create ways to make things happen. And who knows, this new project might even help you hone skills to find a job you didn’t even know you were looking for. Better yet, this knew project may even be that job that will pay your bills. But the task is to start. Don’t worry so much about the fact you’re out of work, instead focus on the work you have always wanted to do and create a project that utilizes that work. It’ll change your life in ways you never thought possible.