Career success

Career Advice for Creative People



How to Start and How to Survive.


This guide is (mostly) about showing your creative work. Someone said the right stuff already: 'Good work doesn't market or promote itself. You have to give people a convenient way to access your work'.


It starts with building an audience for your good works. Building your audience starts with a small step- you show your work to people you know and get their suggestions and criticisms. It is like a business going out and getting responses from its target customer base before it even launches its product/s.


Artists often hate promotion but your audience will take you to a living- direct sale, jobs, project work...


The creative people: Writers, Artists, Photographers, Graphic designers, UX (User experience) people, Cartoonists, Animators, Musicians and so on.


1. Anyone can be an artist

An artist does not have to be a genius. This line is from Austin Kleon's 'Show your work!'.


You can steal influence from other artists. You can look, copy and/or steal (and make it your own way. You can contribute to other projects. Just start sharing your ideas and connect with other artists. Austin kleon says it is okay to be an amateur.


But you have to work at it.


It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.


The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.

- 'The War of Art' by Steven Pressfield


2. Take them 'behind the scene'

Show people how you are making the stuff. Show your process through blog posts, videos, talks...just show them. Show your reading list. Show your tours of art and talk about the stuff you will be calling upon in your next work.


When you put things out there consistently, even if they are not the final product, your audience will be able to connect and be a part of your creative process.


3. Share something small every day

This way, you are slowly but surely building a substantial body of work. No need to create stuff daily. Talk about your influences for a project, your methods, your lessons learned (after launch), who bought your stuff, how they are using on.


4. Share your scrapbooks and notebooks

Where do you get your inspiration? What do you collect? Who's done work that you admire? Who do you steal ideas from? Do you have any heroes? When you share your influences, you are cluing people in to your own work & who you are.


This also shows your honest face: You are one those who always gives credit wherever it is due.


5. Tell stories about your work


When did the idea strike you? What were doing at the time? What work failed? Why? What succeeded? Why do you think people liked it? What are you going to do next? What is your pitch this time around? Such are the stories you will be talking about in real life or online.


Kanye West, the chronic over-dramatizer, says, 'You got to make your case'.


6. Share your trade secrets


Teach what you know. Many writers teach writing. What is in your cookbook? When you teach, you also look at your work in a new light.


7. Listen first


Before you start spamming your blog /Twitter account with shameless but useless self promotional stuff, stop. Even if you are showing your work, talking about your work, stop and listen.


What are people saying? Answer questions, Chat with fans about things they love.. The road to the proverbial '1000 true fans' (Google this please) is a long one.


Austin Kleon says, 'You want hearts, not eyeballs'.


8. An artist has guts

An artist knows how to take a punch from the critics (and dissatisfied customers). An artist has a thick skin (after working on it for a while, of course). Start by not over-analyzing everything.


A bad critique is not the end of the world. Criticism helps you get better. Go meta. Sometimes it's fun to have certain people hate on your work. Keep your cushion close- i.e., keep close to those who love you.


Brian Michael Bendis said, 'The trick is not caring what everybody thinks of you and just caring about what the right people think of you.'


9. 'Show me the money'

Cuba Gooding Jr. is still making a fine living, courtesy this one line from 'Jerry Mcguire'. Point is, somehow we have to find a way to get money to enable us to pursue our art. We have to find our Medicis (the rich guys in Florence who supported many of the top Renaissance artists).


Try a 'donate', 'hire me', 'buy now' or 'like this? buy me a coffee' button on your site.

Explore crowdfunding if you have enough fans. can help you create work requiring upfront capital if you've already got fans interested

Build a mailing list of people who signed up to receive updates from you. Many will give their email ids in return for some free stuff.


How do I do good work and get my work noticed by the people or companies who can financially support me is one of the biggest questions of our modern era. Everyone’s asking it, from the recent graduates aching for a chance to build a career to the senior citizens working multiple jobs and living out of their cars.

- Nikole Dieker, Billfold


10. Keep doing what you are doing

Stick around. Don't quit your show. True lifelong artists persevere, treating success or failure alike.


If it is a case of boredom, when you feel like you've learned everything about something, change course so there's always something new to learn.


If is is a case of no/ little money, keep overhead low, keep on working and find a side gig.


Take a break, but don't break away completely.


(Source: 'Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered' by Austin Kleon)


Note: Everyone is after the followers and the likes. However, 'Make followers and make money' is a lousy way to make a living. It is lousy as everyone is doing the same stuff. The idea is make unique stuff and then work at finding influential mentors and people with disposable income. Obviously, this is a long haul job.


So, keep doing what you are doing. Hopefully, you are doing something new and interesting.


Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life.  Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.