Filling the Gap Between School and Career
So you’ve gone through school and developed a creative portfolio. You’ve tweaked it up one side down the other until it perfectly represents your capabilities. You’ve developed a body of work and accomplished a lot during your student career. Now it’s time to launch yourself into the world of professional design. So what do you do now?
There is a gap between what you’re taught in school and what you need to know as a design professional. School does not teach you how to market yourself, how to get a job, or how to create a freelance business.
>What school is excels in is developing that portfolio. My intention is not to demean the role of a formal creative education. Education will make you a better designer, illustrator or photographer. If you have the opportunity to do so, invest in a formal education.
Where the Gap Is
Schools tend to focus on grooming students to get hired by creative firms. Hiring rates help schools market their programs. There’s no problem with this. But not every student wants to be a staff designer somewhere. Some want to launch their own businesses. And that’s where the gap is.
I experienced this gap myself when I graduated from Art Center. I had my portfolio and my degree and no idea what to do next. My desire was to be self-determined. I ended up a learning how to freelance from experience, but it took a long time — years. I had to piece things together, seek out my own sources, and devise my own plans of action. The bottom line was, I couldn’t go back to school because there was nothing there to help me. I went through a lot of trial and error. A few non-paying clients, a few projects where I tragically under-charged, and I gradually became knowledgable in how to run a freelance business. It’s 35 years later, and I’m still in business.
That gap between school and work still exists and it’s looking bigger than ever. One thing that’s different nowadays from when I graduated is that the economy has changed. There is no real security in landing a full-time design job. There is a strong push toward entrepreneurship and self-determination. Yet independent creatives find themselves competing in a global marketplace with few business skills that will create longevity. So what is the creative, who has invested so much in a quality creative education, to do?
And if you didn’t go to art school?
Even if you didn’t go to school, you still need to learn. Your task is even bigger. In addition to learning the principles of visual and verbal communication and the necessary technical skills on your own, you need to learn how to do business well if you want to be successful.
This is why I am standing in the gap by creating Freelance Road Trip. What I have learned through experience, I share with you so that you can enjoy a smoother road to success than I did. Sure, there are other great resources and courses available. Freelance Road Trip is a bit different because it maps out everything for you in once place: your why, your what and your how.
Freelance Road Trip Closes The Gap
I have created a roadmap of sorts to help you launch your own freelance career – part time or full time. I have pulled together information, advice, resources and tools to guide you through the process of establishing your creative business, finding clients, writing contracts, spreading the word, staying inspired, and staying focused. I packaged all of this into 15 self-paced units covering everything from discovering your WHY to building your influence on social media.
The first module is available now. It deals with your reasons, your why, and your goals. It includes:
The 5 questions you need to answer before you can build your business that are often overlooked by emerging creative entrepreneurs.
How to set realistic goals and move yourself forward
How to identify your ideal clients so that you don’t waste effort pursuing the wrong ones
What you need to consider in setting up a spending plan and determining your start-up costs
The legal aspects, often overlooked until a problem arises, that you need to consider in running a business.
The second module, coming soon, covers pricing and protecting your work with contracts, and negotiating the best price. You will decide the best way to price your work based on what you do and your goals, what copyright is all about and how to use it when pricing and in contracts. You will write your own contract to use as a template.
The object is that, by the time you complete the course, you will have launched
your freelance business.
The third module is all about branding, promotion and marketing from your portfolio and web site to social media, direct mail and email. You’ll get tactics for in-person networking, guidance on creating a marketing plan and figure out whether you should blog or create other types of content.
I’ll take you through unit one step by step, with quick, easy to accomplish tasks and worksheets. Freelance Road Trip members have access to mentoring and a members-only community, because road trips are better when you ride together.
The object is that, by the time you complete the course, you will have launched your freelance business.
If you are interested in learning more about Freelance Road Trip or about building your freelance business, please join my Freelance Road Trip mailing list.