I recently read an article in a magazine that said, “I don’t think any sane artist would imagine entering into art as a lucrative career move.” I disagree with this. These days we have the tools to make our art as lucrative as we want. We just have to put in more work than we are now. Sure, taking the dive into doing art full time can be scary. I’ve experienced this feeling first hand and I’m sure many of you have as well, but it absolutely can be done. However, until you reach that point, you must participate in the necessary evil that is the side job. If you’re already past the point of the side job, good for you! If not, this article is for you.
My first side job was at Chick-Fil-A, then Pacsun, a spa, Nordstrom, and the list goes on and on. Do you think I loved working those jobs? Okay, I loved Chick-Fil-A, because who doesn’t want to have an excuse to eat Chick-Fil-A 5 days a week? But the rest? No way. I would’ve much rather have been out there shooting photos every day. However, sometimes building your clientele and portfolio can take a little longer than expected. In my case, 7 years too long!
Any artistic medium is going to involve an unpredictable paycheck. Some months you may make nothing and other months, you’re like, “What am I going to do with all of this extra money?!” *Whilst Googling plane tickets to Bora Bora* We’ve all done it.
Your job should cover your bills and living expenses while your art money goes back into new gear, marketing, and educating yourself on your craft. This goes for photographers, videographers, and models alike. Until you reach the point where you can pay ALL of your bills, have sustainable spending money, AND a good chunk left over to save, you should probably still be working that side hustle.
There is nothing attractive about the starving artist look. There. Someone had to say it. Yes, we love art, and no, we don’t want to sell out. But guess what? Selling out and working that job you don’t necessarily love is going to support your artistry in the long run. Your side job is a tool to fund and fuel your art. Use it and view it as so. Here are the main things to consider before quitting your day job:
Use Social Media to it’s full capacity. Chances are those creators you look up to are putting in the maximum amount of work that they can on social media. My work suffered most when I decided that social media was ‘lame.’ I’m back in action now though, using this free advertising to my advantage. I have the ability to share my art, my ideas, and my beliefs with ANYONE IN THE WORLD at ANY GIVEN TIME thanks to the Internet and social media. We even have our very own social network of creators at The Hub, filled with like-minded creatives. Use this outlet to collaborate with others, share your work, and even just make genuine friends who want to support you and your art.
Find clients at your side job. The best tip a photographer (or videographer) can receive is a referral. When I had a side job selling kids’ clothing I ended up booking 90% of my shoots AT work. Coworkers, customers, bosses. They ALL need photos. I never asked them to book photo sessions with me. The jobs booked themselves and my work spoke for itself. So next time you shoot an amazing set of photos, share it with your friends at work. Be loud and be proud, and you may just get some new clients.
Keep your work fresh. Make sure you’re shooting for yourself, not just paid work. Your passion and creativity can get lost in all of the stress that comes along with running your own business. Get on The Hub and find new creators to collaborate with in your area. There are plenty.
H U S T L E. I genuinely need to spell it out for you guys. I see a lot of complaining, but not a whole lot of go-getter action. Hustle doesn’t mean working 40 hours a week and complaining that you just simply don’t have time to do your photography on the side. Hustle means working 40 hours a week on the side of shooting 4-5 times a week and editing all of those photos by their deadlines. Hustle means getting 5 hours of sleep because you have to wake up and squeeze a shoot in before work. Those who are willing to put in the extra hustle will see progress and those who aren’t, won’t.
With these three seemingly simple components and a good eye, you have the ability to take over the photography industry. You just have to want it bad enough. Your side job may seem like a major buzzkill right now, but I promise you will be thankful for it when you’ve got that 10k cushion in the bank and you’re comfortably switching from part time to full time artist.
Featured Hub Creators That Are Slaying The Game –
Chris Lampkins: Music + portrait photographer washing dishes on the side in Nashville.
Carson Hiner: International model + beer slinger in New York City.
Kassidy Renee Paige: Fine art photographer + sales operation specialist for businesses residing in Minneapolis.