Readers, we’ve come to the end of yet another year. How was your 2012? Were you able to stay positive and proactive? In the Mayan calendar, 2012 signaled the “End of Time”. Many mis-interpreted this to mean “the end of the world” while many others interpreted this to mean a “paradigm shift”. It should be noted that the Mayans probably meant neither of these, and that the date 12/21/12 just represented the end of one calendar and the start of another in the way their calendar system works. Despite the various mis-interpretations, for many of us this year certainly felt like a major shift of one kind or another was taking place.
I am hopeful that most of my readers experienced a positive shift. If, however, you are a regular Makeup to Go! reader, you have probably surmised that mine was not. It was not a disaster year by any stretch, but it was highly challenging to say the least. Now I know that in Social Media Land you are not supposed to say things like that. Every blog post, tweet, Instagram, Facebook post, etc. is supposed to be filled with un-ending fabulousness. As Pastor Steven Furtick once eloquently stated regarding Social Media;
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare out behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. ” ~ Steven Furtick
Let me let you in on a little secret that most people selling classes & workshops & seminars will not say: this is a hard profession and if you are fortunate enough to establish a career there will be ups and downs. I would love to be able to tell young artists that this industry is nothing but a non-stop love fest with plenty of work flowing down from the mountains like Manna for all, but lying is not my style. I have been fabulously blessed in this profession – yes – but I have also been fabulously challenged as well. The seemingly non-stop challenge this year has been getting paid for my work. Yep. You can do a job, do a GREAT job in fact, have people love you and all that and then still be waiting weeks, months and in extreme cases years to get paid. What do you do in the meantime? There is the rub. It is challenging to live without your income. This is but one example of the many hardships one can face in this profession. While not always of the financial nature, hardship befalls all artists, and I mean ALL artists of all levels. Even the highest level celebrity artists (read Scott Barnes story in the September 2012 Allure magazine) have experienced set-backs at one point or another in their career. How to get through it and stay sane? It is not always easy to stay in a positive and proactive space, but here is what has worked for me so far;
1 ) Do Something Else
Makeup is my primary profession but it is certainly not my only skill or talent. When I did not get paid on yet another job this past Fall, I focused on my side hustle which is a baking business I have (TDR Bakes). I love baking. I go into the kitchen, play great music and create fabulous food that people enjoy. The sense of satisfaction is very similar to makeup for me. For the first time this year I did a full-on Holiday Bake Sale and I’m very proud to say it was a rousing success. I not only got great support from my amazing friends, but people I don’t know ordered as well (and loved it). This was not only something great for now, but a great first step into possibilities for the future. It gave me something to do, to feel good about, and to keep my head up.
If you’re good at something else, do it. It is easy to become attached to the title “I Am A Makeup Artist” and to see doing anything else as failure, but really the most interesting people in the business are those who are multi-faceted, anyway. While it may seem to be taking a step back, it can be a ticket to making a positive step forward. Doing something else – if even for a short while – gives you the mental space to think and not just sit around and stress the heck out.
2 ) Re-Focus on Promotions
I hate promotions like most freelancers do, but if you do not do it you will not work so there’s that. As my year became more difficult, I became more lax in my promotions which is not a good thing to do, I do not recommend it. What saved my life for the most part this year were my regular clients so I will definitely make sure I stay in contact with them FIRST. Make sure you market to those who you know like you and will hire you, not just to prospects. As I was creating in other areas, it gave me ideas of how I can be a bit more creative in my marketing. Promotions are always scary because no one likes rejection, but nothing ventured nothing gained so ya gotta do it!
3 ) Do Work You Normally Would Not Do
By this I do not mean take every free piece of junk job that rolls along. I do mean stretch yourself, work outside of your comfort zone, do something new. If you normally do print, do a short film. If you normally only do beauty, do some FX. It will stretch your artistry and hey, you just may like it
As a Key artist I’m usually working by myself, particularly on Corporate gigs, so I find I am not always meeting as many other people in the industry as I would like. Once you’re established and working, that is actually a fairly easy trap to fall into and a few of my fellow artists have said the same time me, particularly if you are not a huge party-goer which I am not. This year in addition to my normal paid work (commercial/lifestyle/advertising) I did a couple of fashion shows, I went back in the way-back machine and did a couple of music videos, I am hoping to do a couple of things at the coming IMATS-LA, etc. These are not jobs that I normally do but they allow me to “see and be seen” and meet some more people, be creative and generally keep the positive energy flowing. These jobs may not be my “norm” or pay my usual rates, but doing those gigs has been and will be a much better usage of my time than sitting at home.
4) Create An Opportunity
Part of this business – and of being a freelancer in general – is to create opportunity where seemingly non exists. If you are not doing as many shoots as you would like to do, organize some. If you are not getting as many brides as you would like, starting next week hit the phone (bridal shows, coordinators, bridal shops, etc.). There really is work happening almost all the time, including the Holidays. When my commercial clients either were not booking or were slow paying, I did a large amount of private makeup clients for Holiday parties and events. The onus is on YOU as a freelance professional to find it and to put yourself in a position to receive it.
5) Create, Create, Create!
You are a creative entity. Do NOT let your creativity be limited to whether or not your career is going the way you want it to go at any given time. Do not let your worth as an artist be wrapped up in the actions of others. Craft, write, sing, bake, draw, take photographs, do whatever. Do whatever you have to do to stay in your creative zone as an artist. Trust me, I know from very personal experience that the worst thing you can do is let your mind spiral into a zone of apathy. Keep yourself mentally as well as physically active and a new clear path will eventually present itself.
Here’s to a prosperous and fulfilling 2013 to everyone!
© 2012 – 2014, Tania D. Russell / Makeup to Go. All rights reserved.