One of the biggest wake-up calls I got as a newly employed screenwriter was that going from 9-5 to Working Creative isn’t just about making a physical transition to a new career, it’s also about making a mental transition from employee to boss.
Screenwriters are freelancers (or entrepreneurs) who must generate an income by selling their skills and their ideas. The way to BYOB (or Become Your Own Boss) is to approach your creative work as an entrepreneur.
Here are four things entrepreneurs do that creatives can use to BYOB:
Entrepreneurs create products and services. As a writer, your ideas are your products and your skills are your services. The more you create, the better your ideas and your skills become, and the more likely you are to stand out.
#2 Sell yourself and your products
Creating and selling go hand in hand. How can the world respond to your work if you put it in a drawer or bury it in a file folder on your computer?
Selling ourselves can feel icky, but selling isn’t about smoke and mirrors or luring anyone in. Selling is about identifying a need, then offering a solution to the people who need it. The world needs good stories and Hollywood needs skilled writers to create those stories.
Your work doesn’t need to be for everyone. The good thing is, it doesn’t have to be.
#3 Manage Your Resources
Entrepreneurs are deliberate about managing their time and their money because time and money are valuable resources. They know that the only way to be productive is to manage their time and the only way to be financially secure is to manage their money.
If you feel unproductive or like your finances are out of control, set aside one hour this week to do a review of where you’re spending your time and/or your money.
Get a clear sense of where your resources are going so you can manage them.
#4 Embrace uncertainty
Entrepreneurs embrace uncertainty by accepting (and even anticipating) that there will be mistakes, failures, curveballs, and things that are out of their control.
But uncertainty isn’t something that only writers or entrepreneurs face, it’s a fundamental part of the human experience. We all deal with things that are out of our control like the weather and the economy, but we instinctively know to hedge our bets by saving for a rainy day or grabbing an umbrella when the sky looks cloudy.
Why not do that when it comes to creative pursuits? When and how you break into the industry might be out of your control, but you can hedge your bets now by preparing for what you want.
Don’t wait until you’re in your chosen career to BYOB. You can do it now simply by getting out there and getting to work.
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