Welcome to a new era of the multi-hyphenate independent

2020 is finally coming to an END — woo! No need to recount everything that happened this year, This Is Us already did that.

When Wethos asked me to reflect on where the creative industry currently is and where it’s heading, I was down. Who doesn’t like a good ole’ post-mortem? As the Founder and teacher at ilovecreatives, I’ve witnessed droves of creatives get hit with whacking changes in their work, life, and overall mindset. Change is an uncomfortable state. It can be a dip and a high. Eventually, change turns into the layers that make up your experience and your creative range. I’m hoping that we can look back (as I’m now able to with 2008) and say, “2020 sucked! But… I’m better because of it.”

Change for creatives: Since the pandemic, the surge of remote work has given everyone a taste of work without pants. Some thrived and others were lonely, felt too unstructured, or moved apartments because they needed bigger windows. However different everyone’s experience has been, we’ve all had a taste of autonomy… AKA that freelance life. 

Many of us faced financial instability at some point or maybe are still figuring it all out. You’re not alone. The most common concern before “taking the jump” into freelance is financial security. Whether or not you were even thinking about freelancing, in this pandemic, there wasn’t any jumping — it was a straight-up push.

Understanding how to survive mentally and financially with zero job security is also an incredible lesson that no degree or course could teach you. You’re learning creative independence!

Creative independence is intertwined with money, time, and mindset, but only an incredible change will allow people to rethink how they want to spend money, make money, and why. 

These questions are important because they allow you to choose what your potential creative independence could look like. Spend less time working, make $X less, but get to do X. As people make adjustments to their spending habits or lifestyle, they become even more flexible and resistant when other changes happen. Nothing in life is predictable, but if we can learn to exist in it, we can do whatever we want. 

Hopes for creatives: When I was laid off in 2008, I had to take care of myself — figure out health insurance, learn new skills, build my portfolio, find clients. I definitely didn’t know what I was doing, but I was doing and trying so many things that I never really had a second to worry if this was my path or passion in life. 

At ilovecreatives, we had a surge of people taking our courses. There was something different in the air. It was more of a sense of curiosity than a career shift. I prefer that mindset over the “This is my ultimate passion, and I will do this for the rest of my life.” Ya know? I mean, I couldn’t do it in college! 

One of the biggest takeaways from our course is that you’ll learn how to learn. Learning in 2020 isn’t textbook education… thank goodness! It’s the internet and it’s abundant and overwhelming. Learning how to brainstorm and navigate what you want to learn is one of the fastest ways to unlock confidence and opportunity. 

2021 and beyond: We’re no longer in the industrial era where you have one skill and one path. While we haven’t completely embraced it, we’re all becoming slashies and masters of connection. 

Creative independents play an important role in democratizing the ability to start a business. In a few months, you could have a product, website, email, and everything to start your business. You could do it all yourself or you could hire a freelancer. 

As people begin to stack more skills, proudly becoming a jack of all trades, we’ll begin to focus more on the project vs. the skill. We’ll ask ourselves, “What do I want to build? And what skills do I need to build it?” vs. “What skill do I want to do for the rest of my life? And how much will I get paid?” 

I hope to see a shift in the perspective of success. Let’s just be much easier on ourselves and enjoy the ride. The process is incredible and makes up the whole thing! The end is just… the end. Make a ride that you want to be on and change it while you’re there. It’s your adventure baby!

Ready to take your one-person business to a full-service studio?

Puno Dostres

Founder, ilovecreatives