Ah, the life of a creative, what is it really like? What exactly does one mean when they talk about creatives, anyway? For the purposes of this blog, let’s say that creatives are any individual working freelance or for a company that provides some kind of creative skill-based service such as graphic design, film editing, writing, set design, background art, and more.
What kind of challenges do these creatives face in their respective workspaces? Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest and most common:
1. Conflicting Workflows
If you’re working within a company or studio, then your workday will be the same as others like you, and so will your workflow. However, a great many (and growing number) of creatives work independently and freelance, which means that in reality, there are always a great number of conflicts between working times and workflows.
For example, an agency might send a brief to a graphic designer in the morning, but not hear back until the afternoon. That freelance designer might be someone who starts work in the afternoon, works well into the evening and nighttime, sleeps late and takes the morning as rest time. In a world dominated by freelancers and people whose creativity and productivity emerges at different times, workflows don’t always align properly.
2. File Sharing
Creatives in many sectors regularly work with huge files, and have to find ways of sharing large files online without hindrance. Companies and established creative agencies can get around these issues by investing in file sharing and digital asset management solutions that will allow all users within that group to freely share large files more quickly and stably. Once again, however, it remains a challenge when a workchain includes freelancers.
Large files that are too big for emails and instant messaging platforms are commonplace in the creative workspace. Too much time and effort is wasted trying to share files only to discover that they’re the wrong ones, or that the transfer started but was then timed out when you weren’t looking and you have to start over. Finding seamless channels of sharing remains, therefore, a significant obstacle to creative workflow.
3. Finding New Business
The creative sector is incredibly competitive, and finding new clients can be a serious problem for some. Many freelancers and small creative companies rely on a small handful of clients in their early days, and it can create serious disruption when one of those customers jumps ship somewhere else. Generating new clients takes time, and even when you bring a new customer on board, it takes more time to build rapport and trust as designers, writers and others work to figure out how best to work with the client and meet their needs.
4. Pricing Their Services
Creative services are the subject of much debate and discussion when it comes to prices. Between freelancers, there are often a lot of jokes exchanged about those clients who expect the world but are only willing to pay for a tiny fraction of that world. Creatives are caught between a rock and a hard place because while they need to price themselves competitively, much of what they do takes time and energy, and it’s hard to put a price on that. Pricing too high drives away good, regular business, but going too low means you’re cheapening your skill.
5. Being Taken Seriously
Finally, too many people out there simply don’t take creatives seriously at all. They think what they do is something anyone could do, or they think that creatives don’t work hard. To tell someone that you’re a writer, visual artist, filmmaker, editor, graphic designer…sometimes takes courage because there will always be some who understand these job titles to be synonymous with “unemployed” or “desperate.”