As we look forward to another brand new year, here's an idea I had while listening to some experts talk about how to get promotions in conventional workplaces.
If, as I've suggested in some of these posts, you might think of your freelance or creative work as within the framework of a sort of imaginary office, why not give yourself a promotion every now and then?
What I mean is: why not push yourself up a pay grade, legitimately, by putting yourself through some intensive "training" to get your creations to work harder for you.
Every six months (or more frequently, if you like), write yourself a job description, and follow your own instructions to consciously level yourself up. Why not do one now? It's as good a time as any.
It's important to make time, every day if possible, to learn your subject or your industry. You'll very quickly steal a march on many other creatives simply by dedicating a part of each day or week to reading websites, books or industry press. Most people, in my experience, mistake lack of dedicated time for bad luck - and I really do mean most people. Find a way to put the hours in, and you'll quickly find yourself far ahead of where you expected to be, just because your doubts about what's possible are based on failure cases who are omitting this major truth from their story.
All any endeavour needs from you is time. Learn to dedicate time to your industry, and the rest will work itself out.
Don't think you've got an industry? Then, what framework are you operating within? How are people finding the things you're selling? How are you finding your clients? How do you know what they want?
The arts is an industry. In fact it's more than that - it's a sort of super-industry, a galaxy of all kinds of wonderful creative worlds. Amongst other things, it produces unique and rare items (and ideas) of ineffable quality, which people will pay proper amounts of money for.
And whether or not you sell anything for money, you're still a worker, and you can always go up a grade.
A couple of slightly facile examples of the kind of thing I mean:
If you are an author, you can level up in your strategy by learning about trends in publishing. Are ebooks still on the rise? Could you make an app or a game? Are there other ways that market trends suggest your books could work harder for you?
If you're a visual artist, are you making enough connections? Can you promote yourself by giving yourself a 'networking' task for a while? If so, perhaps write yourself a new job description that includes "to meet people who might show, support, write about or buy my work, as often as I can".
You get the idea. Give yourself a promotion this year, and write yourself a new, slightly more challenging job description for 2017.
Let me know how you get on.