With this post, I’m starting a new series called (you guessed it): Look who made it. I want to take this space to introduce and interview creative minds that I admire. People that work in the creative field, Makers and Doers.
First up is my good friend Monika Kanokova. She just crowdfunded her second book “My creative (side) business” in which she interviewed women around the world that have several income streams all starting with their creative business. Couldn’t we all use some advice on having diverse channels money comes from? She just gives that in the practical tips that summarize the learnings from the interviews.
But let her speak about her project, inspiration and hardship she had to overcome.
1 | You just wrote “My creative (side) business“, what drove you to do so?
Last February I didn’t invoice a single client, nor did I know what I’d be doing in March. After only three months of freelancing, the instability drove me crazy. It’s been said that it takes three years to build a viable business. However, I didn’t want to retreat to waiting tables, so I started seeking opportunities to monetize creativity online.
I wrote #MCFSB for creative freelancers like myself who wonder how they can invest time whenever they have a dry month without any client work to build scalable income streams.
2 | How are you working creatively? Tell me more about your working process.
I am a trained designer. The past few years I’ve mostly been writing and photographing my surroundings. I work as a freelance community strategist and I get to meet a lot of interesting people and I travel often for work, so there is always something to photograph and write about.
3 | Where do you get inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere we look. Staying focused and creating continuously is what remains challenging. My curiosity and determination to get better at what I do keeps me inspired. And of course, the people around me.
4 | Who or what is your biggest influence?
Definitely Tina Roth Eisenberg, the mastermind behind the design blog Swissmiss, the founder of Creative Mornings, Studiomates, TeuxDeux and Tattly. All her companies were once tiny side projects that she grew through hard work and endless passion.
5 | What is your creative (side) business?
Last year, I fell into selling stock photography on EyeEm and Getty and I make some extra income selling books on Amazon. I also teach classes on Skillshare. I am planning to do a bit more teaching in 2016.
6 | What were the first steps you took to be where you are today?
I’ve always been open about what I am working on and what I’d like to work on next. I believe that if you show people where you are headed, they are more likely to help you because they know how. I’d recommend that everyone share more of their work in progress online to connect with like-minded others.
7 | Could you give some practical tips to someone who’s just starting out or considering a creative (side) business?
Your side business should be based on an activity that you’d do even if no one paid you for it. Once you know what you enjoy doing, think of a product you could create. Then, look for a suitable social network where you can talk about your work in progress and connect to like-minds. Finally, look for suitable partners that can help you with the logistics.
To give you some practical tips: if you enjoy writing, why not package your writing in a book that you can then sell on Amazon. If you are into photography why not sell your images on EyeEm? If you are a graphic designer and you create design assets that other creatives might appreciate, why not setup a shop on Creative Market? There are millions of opportunities, you just have to decide what you want to create. And if you just want to explore different opportunities, then start a side project.
8 | Were there any hardships that you had to overcome? How did you manage to do so?
Yes, absolutely! Last February was a big one for me. Having no money coming in but having the same expenses as every other month was quite nerve wrecking. However, having to think about what to do and how to invest my time effectively brought me to the conclusion that freelancing, especially building a creative business, is something that doesn’t happen overnight and that one must invest in before seeing any return.
9 | With what did (do) you struggle the most?
It makes me feel extremely uncomfortable to be dependent on the time and budgets of potential clients, which is probably why diversifying income streams is such a big topic for me.
10 | What’s next? Any new creative (side) businesses on the horizon?
Publishing a book is a big project and so before I’ll start thinking about any future projects, I’ll first make sure to deliver exceptional and surprising rewards to my Kickstarter backers. There are still some days left to get such a package 😉
I’m also one of those backers, so if you think this could be something for you (or a friend that could need it), please back it now on kickstarter or buy the book afterwards on Amazon.
Now. Carry on!