When people start their freelance career and try to figure out what services they are going to offer, there is this difficult question of if they should focus on doing what they love.
For an artist, they may absolutely love drawing and illustration.
For a videographer, they may love short films.
For a writer, they may love fiction writing.
You have these things that you know you love doing, but the question is “Should I do what I love for my freelance career?”
To be honest, there is no perfect answer to this question.
My goal with this post is to walk you through two different ways of looking at your freelance career.
Do what you love
There is a freelance illustrator and writer based out of Berlin, Germany named Mars Dorian.
Mars and I had the chance to sit down while I was in Berlin and talk about his career over a podcast interview.
Mars has an interesting outlook on life in his creative career.
Mars has a specific illustration style that he has developed and he does not budge on his style for anyone.
Mars loves drawing, but he only loves drawing in his style that he has worked on building up over time. It is bold, vibrant and uniquely ‘Mars Dorian’.
When a client comes to Mars and asks him to alter his style to fit their needs, he simply says no and turns down the project.
Getting his illustration career started with this mindset was extremely difficult. It took Mars a long time to build up a client base so that he was making a full time income. In fact he even had to move back into his parents house for a period of time until he got enough work to go back out on his own.
But for Mars, that was not an issue because he was dedicated to the style, he was dedicated to doing what he loves for a living and making art his way.
With every project Mars does, he is developing his style and honing his craft.
Mars Dorian is doing what he loves for a living and he fought the long hard road to get there.
Do what you like so you can do what you love
On the flip side of this equation, I will share my own story and approach to this topic.
I am a freelance web designer and marketing consultant.
I like web design and I like learning about marketing, but ultimately I don’t love them.
What I love is writing and creating media that influences other people. This post you are reading right now is an example of what I absolutely love doing.
Yet, in reality it would be extremely difficult for me to make my full time living writing and creating the media I enjoy.
The writing that I do is just like Mars’s unique style. It takes time, hard work and dedication to build up a following and customer base for.
When I realized this it left me with two choices.
I could scrape by doing what I love full time
I could do what I like so that I can do what I love.
Web design and marketing consulting is something that I like. I like it enough to do it day in and day out so that I can pay the bills and continue working on my passionate writing projects on the side.
Somedays, my freelancing work absolutely sucks. I end up with clients that I hate, or there are projects that simply serve no other purpose than to pay the bills.
Other times, I learn new things from freelancing. I learn things about web design and marketing that I can apply to my own website and marketing my own content. In these ways, my freelance career helps me further my passionate writing career.
When I make my income doing what I like it means that there are times I really want to be writing or working on my passionate craft, yet client work calls and I have no choice but to prioritize that first.
Freelancing is something that I like and gives me the freedom and flexibility to do what I love.
Whats your path?
I have given you two examples here to show you different ways that individuals approach their creative freelancing careers.
There is no right path to take and for each individual your route may be different.
Yet you must be true to yourself and honest with your own desires.
If you are going to go the route of focusing full time on your art, then be prepared for the long road ahead.
If you are going the route of doing something you like to pay the bills, then you must be prepared to struggle with balance. You must learn to prioritize your passionate work on the side despite client expectations.
Both routes have their challenges, and both have their rewards.
It simply comes down to choosing the route that is right for you.