The other day I was pottering about my email inbox when I noticed I’d received an email from Alex Mathers over at the Red Lemon Club and if you haven’t heard of it, the Red Lemon Club is a place of great illustration and creative industry tips and advice written by Alex himself (or Ape On The Moon) so be sure to check it out.
Anyway back to the point. In his email, he asked the reader to “Tell me one positive, awesome thing about what you’ve experienced so far working for yourself.” and so I did. I put together my little blog-posty like email and popped it on over to him. Despite the many emails alex has no doubt received I wanted to send mine along and here is what I wrote ;
Hello there Red Lemon Club or Alex :) ,
My name’s Kate Leonard and I’m an inky illustrator based all the way in Staffordshire Uk, I started out my creative journey to be a freelance illustrator in 2013, as well as, a creative blog writer. So primarily I offer a service through my little creative business. Though at the moment, I am still quite small. Starting out on my creative journey was both a terribly scary and exciting venture. The prospect of going freelance self-employed and not quite knowing where my journey may lead or the stability I might find, was again, one of those factors that either makes you stand by your passion or give it all in. However, I’m not one to give up so easily, so I went for it.
I’ve been running just under 12 months now. And to answer your question of “ one positive, awesome thing about what you’ve experienced so far working for yourself.” I’d have to say that being in the driving seat of where my business is going is the most positive experience I’ve come across during my creative venture. I am in control of which path I take, and the decisions I make. As in the past, like many, I’ve come across dictator’s and discouragement at pursuing art as a career. Being in control of my career is refreshing without feeling I have anything limiting me or holding me back at all. The decisions I’ve made so far have enabled me to meet many talented creative people, sprouted future collaborative projects, acquired funding for my start-up business, develop my skills, build a blog reader community, found mentoring relationships and grown some portfolio illustration projects.
Though being self-employed isn’t peachy, I won’t lie. It’s easy to look at a successful illustrator and admire all their achievements, but failing to realise they went through the early struggles and obstacles like I’m experiencing myself. For me, the financial instability has been one big obstacle (I am far from rolling in it I have my ” cinderella job” during the day in which no one understand’s my passion and I’m an illustrator/ writer by night ). My second struggle was the amount of time / committment you need to put into the business. Though it can really take it out of you, I keep telling myself it will definitely be worthwhile.
If any aspiring freelancer can truly see the heart of their business and the talent they have yet to share I don’t think they should let anything stop them from achieving all aspirations and dreams they may have inside. Yes, it’s scary. A lot of changes in life are, but if I hadn’t of taken the steps I did this time last year and had settled for a career I didn’t love to do every day, I would have felt I’d seriously let myself , my talent , family and dreams down.
My passion is in my illustrating and writing. I illustrate my passion and blog about it to then share inspirations with like-minded people who read it and build relationships with them to also learn their stories. I truly want to improve my business and have a list of dream clients I’m scared to approach. I can do big amazing things , I’m sure of it, but I’m just sometimes unsure how to get there and may require a positive boot up the butt along the way.
You can find out more about my inky doodles at my website and blog www.kateleonardillustration.com. I’m also a blogger for the Illustration Friday blog, which keeps me busy aswell. Anyway, thank you for all the inspiring and advice filled articles Alex. I hope this little email just so happens to help yours.
Many thanks and appreciation from an inky illustrator,
So the question is what’s your positive to being your own boss ? :) or what will be a positive when you take that leap?