Six steps to make more money as a media professional
If you are a media professional, or if you want to become one, one of the most important aspects you will have to consider is bringing in the money to support your life! Just being in business and doing your job well usually isn't enough to get you where you want to go in income and other aspects. So here are 6 steps to take when you want to give your earnings a boost:
1. Create a compelling dream and clarify it
You probably have some idea of what you want from your creative endeavours. But is it clear enough to guide your actions? It is easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of life, so you need a clear and compelling dream to keep you on track and enable you to identify opportunities as soon as they pop up. Is it big enough to motivate you? By clarifying your own dream you can also identify your strong side as well as the ones that need working on in order to reach that dream. One word of warning though: this is not about daydreaming or wishful thinking! Don't substitute dreaming for taking action. Use your imagination to choose your direction and take action towards reaching it on a daily basis. Now that you know where you are going, you can see why everything counts. Having a clear picture of your dream makes it possible to capitalize on your strong points, improve your weak spots and take quick and decisive action on unexpected opportunities. The money will eventually follow.
2. Clarify your image
"Image" seems to be a dirty word to many professionals, since for some it implies pretending to be something or someone you're not. If that's what you think, consider this: you already have an image! Your current demeanor and actions define you in other people's perception. So the best thing you can do is to take back control! Are you sending out a clear message about what you and your work is all about? Having defined your dream, this will most likely also tell you something about yourself: what you want to be like as a media professional. Therefore clarifying your image is not about creating some phoney persona, but about being yourself. Write a short description of how you'd like to be known in your chosen field. Be sure that you can live your life according to this description at all times! It should feel natural to you. As with your dream, this is not about making things up, but about clarifying what you already know you want to be and do. In knowing what you want your image to be, you can start living it, and send a clear message about your services to others so they'll know what you are about.
3. Promote, promote, promote
You probably do a good job with your work already, and this in itself is an important aspect. But how about promoting your work and yourself? If you really want to earn more money then promotion should be a crucial part of your working routine! This is specifically true if you are just starting out. If you're a composer, how will Steven Spielberg contact you if he's never even heard of you? All joking aside: in reality everything you do is a form of promotion, even down to the way you answer your phone! Promoting your business doesn't take huge amounts of money, but it does take time, effort and dedication. This is were the previous steps are helpful: you know where you want to go, you know your image and what you are trying to say. Now make sure you do it all the time! If you pay attention you will see many simple promotional opportunities in your current life. Make sure you use them, and you will see results.
4. Your current project is the most important one
So called "Lucky Breaks" happen all the time, but often you'll only know afterward that it was one! That is why you should concentrate on producing your best work for your current project, even if it is only a small commission. You'll never know where it will take you or what connections might come from it. And as everything is promotion, so is your current project! A small project done well can bring in more money, a small commission done bad can haunt you for a long time to come.... Let your results do the talking! Also make sure you come across as a dedicated professional! Always arrive on time for meetings for example, since being late communicates to the client that you don't care about him or his project. On the other hand: letting the client know that her project is the most important one goes a long way in establishing personal relationships and you all know how important these can be!
5. Diversify and really earn more
One of the key differences between employees and entrepreneurs is that the former think in terms of income and the latter think in terms of income-streams. Thus, if you really want to make more money, you should create extra income streams. And don't worry: you probably have what it takes to do this already. For example: if you are a script writer it means you have writing skills. There are many ways you can use these skills to create extra income. A lot of people need help with improving their writing and you are in an excellent position to help them! Or you could write an e-book on script writing and sell this from your website. Another example would be to organise "creative writing workshops". There are many possibilities! Get creative! Use whatever skills you have to generate some extra income. Also try to find passive income streams, like the website e-book mentioned above: you only have to write it once, and it can generate income even while you are sleeping!
6. Improve when you're winning
Always learn more! As a creative professional you constantly need to find new inspiration, and learning more is the best way of doing this. Creativity is about combining known things in new ways, so the more you know, the better you are equipped to do this! Step outside of your borders: if you are a composer of dance music, write a sonata! Then go back and transform this sonata back to dance music. You'll learn a lot along the way and as you learn more, ideas will also come more quickly. (By the way: if you want to compose original soundtrack music, you will at some point need skills like this!) And often this kind of ideas tends to be better than the ones you get by sticking to your "tried-and-true" style. Now, this can be hard to do when you're on a winning streak (as in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"). However, this is exactly the time when you should improve! This way you can offer new ideas to the next project and keep the momentum. Constant improvement toward your dream is the real way to bring in more money.
Remember: this is a post about making more money, not about getting rich quick! These steps work, if you're willing to put in the effort and the time. But consider: is what you're doing really about getting rich, or is it about living a fulfilling life, doing what you love most and making money at it? Have fun working with these tips. Let them spark your creativity and find new ways of doing things. And remember: lucky breaks happen all the time, just make sure you recognize them when they arrive!
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