Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey as a creative, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carmela Caldart, an illustrator and artist based in Barcelona.
Tell us all about your business...
I'm a freelance illustrator and artist. My commercial clients include magazines, online publications, brands, etc. I also sell physical artwork like pins, prints, original paintings, and ceramics through my online shop.
What's your background and motivation to get into the solopreneur life?
I got my degree in graphic design, but I've always felt it made more sense to express myself through drawing and painting. I made the switch to illustration about 3 years ago and began working on my portfolio and working as a freelance illustrator. I also noticed people seemed to really like my personal work, so I started making those available for purchase too. I think what motivates me the possibility to express myself through my work, and to create something people can connect to and be inspired by.
As a business owner, what does success ultimately mean to you?
Success to me means being able to do what I love, while also always recreating myself - having the freedom to experiment, change, and evolve within my work.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Patience and not getting discouraged - success takes time and isn't easy to measure, so I think the hardest part is to keep going even when things are slow.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a business today?
First, like I said, patience! Building up your business day by day, and not expecting success to be immediate. Second, staying consistent - in the case of illustration, making new work, sharing it, etc. And third, I think creativity is really important (even in non-creative fields, I imagine) - creating things that haven't been done, or thinking outside the box.
If there was one thing you could do repeatedly to help grow your business, what would it be?
I think it's the same answer as everyone - marketing and self-promotion, knowing how to sell yourself.
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?
As a freelancer, I think this is really hard - we always want to say yes to every project! I recently started working regular hours (no working at night, taking actual lunch breaks, logging off at the end of the day). I also stopped taking my computer on vacations, which seems simple but is actually really hard to do!! I think as an artist, too, so much of our work is personal and there are blurry lines between what is work and what is life - so I think setting boundaries of time and space were really helpful to me.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and best business resources/books?
I don't really have many recommendations!! But I do have a few illustrator-specific resources:
Magoz has a great client list template/blog post about reaching out to clients that was really helpful to me.
Jessica Hische has a great pricing guideline for illustrators/designers.
And Lauren Hom has a great course called "Passion to Paid" on turning your passion project into your career.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't forget to have fun :)
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own solopreneur story that you'd like to share then email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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