Do you think art makes more money?

Earning money with creativity is the greatest calling on this planet!

Howdy, I'm Janine. I want to tell you in a short story where I come from, where I'm going and what it all has to do with you, as a Achtung Designer Reader. I will speak to you completely openly - from designer to designer - and not mince words, because I have experienced myself that a good portion of truth and realism are balm for the creative soul.

I want to tell you about my career as a creative and encourage you to earn a solid income without losing your creative roots.

Right at the beginning I will tell you my mantra, which has accompanied me since studying graphic design. You too are welcome to take this to heart: "Everyone only cooks with water!" Sometimes the stove just lacks the boost level so that things can really move forward and you can make a good living from your work. But more on that in a moment.

Would you like to earn your money with your # creativity? @Janine_Salier tells how she found her way. #Designerin #inspiration Click To Tweet

I want to do something with art.

That's how it begins with most. I, too, am practically a classic, like most of the greenhorns in our industry. You know that saying too, don't you? Many creative people simply do not know which profession they specifically want to learn. There is the question in the room: "How should I please earn money with creativity?" Thus, first of all, the general statement comes about: "I want to do something with art!"
I think we all come from this uncertain place. After all, everyone has to start once. And that's absolutely okay!

I was still floating in this uncertainty at 21. 😅 I got stuck in my business studies, which I just didn't enjoy. Just once in the third semester, I decided to quit the university. Was that an easy decision? Oh heavens no Did I have a plan for what would come next? Oh heavens, so no!

I just wanted to "Anything with art" do. This is how I called my creative vein dormant in me. Until now, I had no idea how to make money with creativity. The year is 2007. The internet did exist, but the networking and social platforms, blogs and creative jobs as we know them today were only just getting started and hadn't opened up to me yet.

Perhaps you come from a similar background, perhaps you have also trained as a media designer for digital and print, perhaps completed your bachelor's degree at a university of applied sciences or university?
It doesn't really matter where you're from, but I think we both have the same goal: We both want to earn money with our creativity and not just do "any" 8 hour job. I want to pursue my calling. This is my motivation.

After dropping out of university, part 1 of my plan was: "I finally want to learn a creative profession."
It should be graphic design. I didn't understand all the other job descriptions in the creative industry, with all its names, until much later, when I was self-employed.

I decided that studying would be just my thing. Did I know it was going to work? Absolutely not! But I was lucky, the second attempt at adult education should finally be my entry into working life. Because I was absolutely hot for that. I finally wanted to leave school and university behind and work.

Part 2 of my plan was: "No matter what, I want to be independent."
From day one at the Werbe Design Akademie, I let everyone know that I never wanted to work in an agency at all. Most of them gave me a weird look, some lecturers smiled at me, but I didn't care. I wanted to be my own boss. I had no clue what that was supposed to mean in concrete terms. 😅 But the plan was there anyway.

Looking back, I now know that I must have looked wonderfully cute and naive, but nothing better could have happened to me. Naivety is simply part of the process at a young age, otherwise you will end up in a zero-eighty fifteen job and after a short time you will simply go about your work in frustration. We creatives are simply too valuable for such waste!

I want to earn money with my creativity and not just do some 8 hour job. I want to pursue my calling. This is my motivation. @janine_salier Click To Tweet

Yeah, I do something with media!

Since 2010 I have been allowed to register as "Diploma prepress specialist" describe. Basically, I'm a trained graphic designer with a preference for prepress and printing. The fact that my title is so is more of a coincidence, because, like so many other things, I only discovered my preference for prepress and printing after my studies.

Such statements are also more the rule. If you are currently unsure and do not really know whether your studies or training will contribute to your goal, or if your independence as a designer still makes you happy, then set a deadline with the plan to clarify it or make a rigorous one Cut. No matter what you do, every path will take you forward. Better said than done. Both take courage, overcoming and hard work. But only by doing you get answers.

Why do I say this so casually? Every designer has a specialty in which he is particularly good. The job descriptions of the creative could not be more different. Maybe you don't like your studies or your apprenticeship, but at least you have a door opener into the design world. If you have been working as a designer for a long time, you already have a better insight into what the various professional designers do. For example, put together a "plus-minus list" of your skills and deal with your skills, you will quickly find out what suits you best:

  • Are you a creative or more of a technician?
  • Do you have special analog skills, e.g. with pens or watercolor?
  • Do you want to work on large or small projects?

I think that this is the ideal place for you to take advantage of Gudrun’s online course for your best business, because only when you are clear about what you are good at do the jobs flutter into your house and you enjoy working through them.

I too have been looking for my focus in recent years and have finally found it. Today I am not only allowed to call myself an independent creative person, I am living my dream as an entrepreneur.

Where do I draw the line between self-employment and entrepreneurship? As a freelance graphic designer, I was on the road for the first 1-2 years. I took on graphic design jobs, created logos, flyers, business cards, all kinds of printed matter such as stickers, advertising signs and posters, I tried my hand at screen designs and online images. I was simply too broad and had to do a lot of things that I just didn't enjoy. In addition, creative design is really cool for others, but I'm just too perfectionist and not very effective at processing. My results made me dissatisfied. I realized that in the long run I wouldn't be able to make my living with it.

At the same time, my parents and I developed our family business together: an online print shop specializing in large-format digital printing, a web shop for advertising material, and a web shop for tile stickers. That's what I call entrepreneurship. A business case with its own value chain: production, employees, being innovative.

There is so much creative work to do in building a company: strategy, corporate identity, marketing, branding, etc. Simply building a brand from scratch. THAT is what I always wanted to do. THAT is the work that brings me creative fulfillment. Did I suspect that in 2010 with my freshly printed graphic design diploma in my pocket? Oh absolutely not! I only realized it now while doing it.

We started our own #family business. That's what I call entrepreneurship. A business case with its own value chain: production, employees, being innovative. @janine_salier #designer Click To Tweet

The world is at the feet of the creative

Today, June 2018, I would describe myself as quite relaxed. Meanwhile, I know what opportunities and opportunities are out there to earn money as a creative. In the last 8 years I have managed to test my creative abilities on the market and find out how good I am, what I am particularly good at and what is worthwhile for me to earn money with.

What is even more important: I now have a very good overview of the advertising industry and entrepreneurship. I know from my own experience what companies need and how marketing works. And yes, they really only cook with water! I am not mutually exclusive here. 😃

I would like to claim that here and now there is an unprecedented potential for creative professionals. A communication designer is not forced to work in an agency, he can work very well as a freelancer. He is also not forced to “only” accept customer orders in order to earn money. The Internet has created opportunities and platforms for us in which we can market ourselves wonderfully in order to build up a second mainstay. Let's just think of all the YouTubers, Vloggers, DIYers, Bloggers, Instagrammers, Influencers and Patreons!

I recently wrote an article on “Patreon for designers” on my “home blog”. In this post, I'll show you how you can use your creativity to create additional income. Whether you let it run parallel to your job or even integrate it into your self-employment so that it is part of your marketing strategy is entirely up to you. Always remember: there are no limits to your creativity, you just have to trust it 🤓

We all have a special creative strength and if it doesn't make an income directly, then just do it on the side. If you are passionate about it, the rest will come by itself.

Cheerio and good luck,
Janine Salier

The article was last updated in August 2018.
Photo credit cover picture: Luca Upper // Unsplash

Online course: your best business

The starting shot for your positioning as a designer: In this online course I will show you how to find your design focus and create designs with which you are creative and successful. You'll also learn how to sell your designs to the right customers you enjoy working with. Without having to bend over, you love your creative work - no question about it. Nevertheless, it is not that easy to maintain this creativity in everyday life. Regardless of whether it is pressing deadlines, laborious project management, overtime or creative blockades that burden you. In this book you will find many practical tips, valuable knowledge and new impulses to preserve the most valuable thing for your independence - your creativity!
To the online course: Your best business
Janine Salier
I'm a tech nerd when it comes to printing, prepress, and graphics. I recognize a problem and call it a challenge. I am a passionate trainer for media designers and media technologists. I have been able to call myself a qualified prepress specialist since 2010. Everything that has to do with prepress, software, color management and printing machines is my day-to-day business. Graphic design and blogging are my passions. I manage the family business SalierDruck together with my parents.

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