What Does it Take to Succeed in a Creative Career?

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Making a success of your career in the creative industries isn’t easy. It’s notoriously difficult to get a break in any of the creative sectors, and there is plenty of competition for places and attention. There are many people who do manage to make a living from being creative though.

You don’t have to be a global megastar to have found success. There are many more examples of people making a modest but respectable living from their creative pursuits. These people simply have a plan and know what they’re doing and where they want to get to.

If you’re going to make it in your creative career, you need to know what it takes to succeed. Success rarely falls into your lap in this industry. Despite the myths and cliches you might have heard, finding creative success really does take hard work and patience.Achieving what you want to achieve is never going to be as easy as you’d like it to be. But that should never be a reason to give up.

Here are the steps that you’ll need to take if you want to find success in the creative industries.

1. Set Realistic Targets

Start out by setting short-term, realistic goals for yourself. These goals should give you a guide to how you’re going to progress and achieve incremental advances in your career. When these goals are in place, you will have something concrete and tangible to aim for. And that can only be a good thing when you’re just starting out.

It’s not uncommon for many young and creative people to be quite aimless and unsure of what their next step should be. You will have to find a way to set goals that help you to get what you want. But big and vague goals are not very useful at all. Yes, you might want to be a writer and win a book prize, but what are your short-term ambitions?

2. Understand the Challenges Ahead

There will be plenty of challenges that you will need to overcome before you make a success of your career. There is no easy route to success in this industry. If you fail to understand the challenges ahead, you won’t be prepared for them. And then, when they do confront you, they might be enough to make you give up on what you had been hoping to achieve.

Look at the industry you want to work in and see what the challenges will be. It might be that there are very few jobs, maybe you will need to pay for training or perhaps you just need to get noticed. Understand these challenges and how you might be able to overcome them going forward.

3. Learn from Others

You can learn a lot from other people who have been there and done it all before. They can give you the guidance and help you need when you’re struggling as a creative person just starting out. Talk to other people who are already doing what you want to eventually do. Learn from their mistakes and the things that helped them to find success.

These are the people who are best placed to help you find the success you’re looking for. Bob Doyle offers help to people who are aiming to become more creative and find a new career path for themselves. You can take advantage of that kind of help as well. Any help or advice that allows you to learn valuable lessons is important.

4. Stay Determined

Determination is an attribute that everyone needs when they’re trying to break through. It’s tough, and there will be plenty of setbacks and rejections that you experience along the way. But even the most talented and successful people get rejected and turned down when they’re just starting out. It’s something that happens to everyone, so it’s not worth beating yourself up about too much.

If you can stay determined and focused on what you’re trying to do, there’s every chance you can succeed. Keeping that kind of steely determination is not easy when things are not going well for you. But it’s something that every artist and creative person has to be able to do.

5. Make Connections
What Does it Take to Succeed in a Creative Career?

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They say it’s not what you know but who you know. And there certainly is some truth to that statement. Of course, no one likes to think that their talents alone are not enough to get them to where they want to be. And that’s not always the case. Many people achieve things because they’re talented. But luck and other things certainly can play their part.

And it doesn’t hurt to get to know people and make connections with them. If you have contacts who have influence in your chosen industry, getting that first foot on the ladder will instantly become a bit easier for you. In terms of your career progression, that can only be a good thing. So, when you get a chance to meet new people, attend events or network with people, go for it.

6. Take Every Good Opportunity

There will be a lot of different opportunities that come your way when you’re pushing forward in your career. It’s often these small opportunities that help you out most when you’re looking for a breakthrough. It doesn’t matter whether you’re interested in music or acting, you should be sure to take every good opportunity that comes your way.

You could end up regretting passing up a chance to do something later on, so don’t take the risk. When you have a chance to do something that you think might enhance your career, at least give it some consideration. Weigh up the possible pros and cons of taking it, and then grab it with both hands if you think it’s a good idea to do so.

7. Keep Improving
What Does it Take to Succeed in a Creative Career?

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No one starts out as the finished product, especially when you are working creatively. You will improve over time, as long as you put in the effort that allows you to do so. If you don’t improve, then you probably won’t achieve what you want to.

Continual improvement should be what you’re aiming for when you’re a creative person.The progress might be slow and steady, but there is nothing wrong with that. What you shouldn’t do it stand still and take what you have for granted. Once you become too pleased with what you can already do, you stop pushing forward and demanding more from yourself. That’s not a positive thing for any creative person.

8. Have Confidence in Your Creative Abilities
What Does it Take to Succeed in a Creative Career?

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You won’t get very far if you’re not 100% sure that you have what it takes to succeed in this industry. Of course, self-belief is not the same as self-delusion. You have to be honest with yourself when you’re doing a creative job. You have to know when what you’re doing is realistically going to work out for you and when it’s not.

But if you are really going to commit to aiming for a career in the creative industries, you really need to have confidence in your abilities. This can be the difference between getting what you want and failing. If you have no confidence in yourself, then it will be almost impossible to persuade others that you are talented enough to succeed.

9. Find Where the Demand Lies

In every creative industry, there is some kind of demand. If you can position yourself as someone who is able to meet that demand and offer a solution to people, you could make some money. Obviously, how you do this and how possible it is will depend on what kind of creative work you are doing. It might mean starting at the bottom where there are more opportunities.

This can give you a chance to show what you’re capable and then progress onto bigger and better things over time. Many people expect too much when they first start pursuing a creative career, but you’re never going to start at the top. It’s much wider to find out where the best place to start is and go from there.

10. Have a Financial Strategy

The financial strategy you have in place is important. Of course, you want to ultimately get paid for the creative work that you’re pursuing. But is that yet realistic? Many people have to support themselves with other jobs for years before they are able to rely solely on their creative pursuits. I

It’s always difficult to balance your regular income with your creative work. It’s important to find a way to make it work though. If you don’t, you’ll be left with no money to pay the rent and finance whatever your creative aims are.

Getting a short-term job doesn’t have to mean giving up on what you want to do in the creative world. It can be a way of making it happen, as is the case for many people.


Now that you know what it takes, it’s time that you started putting some of these ideas into practice. So, what are you waiting for?

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