My History as an Artist Part 3: Going Pro!

Welcome back to the story of me!

The Ascent of Ben 3/3
The Ascent of Ben 3/3

We’re almost up-to-date so check out Part 1: Childhood and Part 2: Going Digital! and let’s press on! Because it’s time to start earning a living!

“Real” jobs

I’ve done a few “real” jobs in my life and I’ve got to say, not a fan. I spent a few years in retail, first at a trainer shop (fired) and a stationary shop (quit) and for someone who’s not overly outgoing, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I’m also a fan of not being cripplingly poor, so it was time to move on.

Pennies
I would daydream of finding pennies in the sofa…

Over the next couple of years, I spent a few months at a charity then about a year being damn year suicidal in an office job.

But somewhere in amongst all that I discovered online freelancing.

The Birth of a Freelancer

I’d been coasting for years, finishing my degree then dragging myself from one job to another just trying to make ends meet. I desperately didn’t want to suffer the indignity of moving back with my mum. It would’ve felt like a failure. And heaven knows my partner at the time didn’t want that either.

Knight
Insert obligatory lance pun

But that’s what happened.

Then, one fateful afternoon I was sitting on the sofa watching some inane crap on TV when the show gave way to adverts…and one advert caught my eye.

I’d never considered freelancing before. It just hadn’t occurred to me. I’d done a bit of design work over on RedBubble but nothing really took off so, as usual, I lost my resolve and gave up. But this was different. This was a way to find people who wanted to pay me to do stuff! And after dozens of hours of sending off proposals I got my first job: A poster for a punk music event.

The brief was simple but fun. A cool punk-looking dinosaur trashing a city with some spaces for event details.

Punk Poster with Space
It was a pretty badass way to kick things off if I say so myself.

 

The client was thrilled with the final image and I earned my first £10 freelancing.

I was on top of the world.

The Death of a Freelancer

But…

As some of you may know, the minimum wage for someone aged 21-25 in the UK is £7.05. A recent job took me over 200 hours and worked out at less than £1 an hour. So, uh…not great.

“But why did you take that job?” I hear you ask! And rightly so! But I was desperate.

In my short time on websites like People per Hour, UpWork, Fivr etc. I’ve learned one thing:

Prices are a race to the bottom.

To be competitive you’d better live in India or you’d better learn to photosynthesise cos you ain’t gonna be eating human food for a long time.

Today

I’m still using a few of these sites, but these days I’m moving away from them. Into face-to-face work that gets real results. No waiting a month between responses from clients and having my earnings held hostage until someone has the time to check their email.

Nothing against them, people are busy. But it’s not a sustainable model on my end.

So if you’ve got stuff you want done then click here to hire me or just check out some testimonials. Otherwise…

Next Time!

Stick around because next week we’ll be breaking down what goes into the Ultimate Mangaka Starter Pack! You won’t want to miss it!

For more on what I’m up to now checkout the My Work page. Or if you want to know more about my current setup and recommended resources take a look at the Resources page.

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