My earnings continue to evolve as I gain knowledge and confidence in my work, so that I can charge without feeling undeserving. The biggest learnings so far have been starting to identify my worth, so when it comes to pricing, I’m not confused or hesitant. Also, I now know that it’s not a crime to ask for more money or negotiate rates. I was scared the first time I did this, but the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. My first attempt at asking for more actually successful, so it encouraged me to take more risks.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a side job to supplement your creative work, but it’s important not to get lost. My side job was working as a specialist at an Apple store, but I ended up doing a lot of overtime and it sapped any energy I had to create. Physically and mentally I became exhausted. When I first got the job, I told myself that if I was there for more than a year, it would mean I wasn’t trying hard enough as an illustrator, so I should quit. Many months later it didn’t feel like a side job anymore, and I was barely freelancing.
After a trip to Sweden with some friends, I came back to work and asked myself, “What am I actually doing?” The money was decent but the job itself wasn’t helping me. I wasn’t making a plan and it worried me how little I was drawing. So when it got to one year exactly of working there, I handed in my notice. It was a big risk but I knew it had to be done, and it pushed me to get serious with illustration again.
I think the stage I’m at right now is preparation and laying down foundations. I am still working on a few commissions and consistently creating but I’m also in the process of building a new brand. My goal is to reassess and make sure my visual language is professional but still embodies my personal aesthetic, so that I can re-emerge and get the jobs I want.