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How to start freelancing without connections

Liz Ohanesian posted a great piece about how she got into freelancing as a blogger without connections. Read it.

Artists, bloggers, and musicians share the same types of marketing and publication methods, so this applies to everyone.

I know far too many people who make excuses instead of pursuing their dreams. School, while necessary in many cases, is also the #1 reason people pull out when it comes to subconsciously procrastinating. If you are a doctor, you obviously need school. Creative fields? Not so much. While it’s great to have the opportunity to study with a professional and to build a network, it’s just not always that feasible. In America, we have done our best to kill the arts as a viable career, and tie our healthcare to office jobs. Being unemployed can be extremely dangerous if you aren’t blessed with cash savings or a family to support you.

In my case, I didn’t have the cash to gamble on an MFA and I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do yet. The internet hadn’t happened, so without connections in traditional industries, I had ruled out art as a viable field. It was more sensible to bet on a general degree that would allow me to be my own safety net while I got my art career up and running rather than throwing all of my eggs in one basket. Lucky for me that the internet happened and made a lot of the old ways of entering the field less powerful.

By doing what I want to do online, I’ve gotten way farther than most people I know who have MFAs. Even the best student at the best school is nothing if they can’t deliver. Just by doing it, I proved I could deliver.

I took art classes when I could, but I do not have a degree in art. The funny bit about art degrees is that many of the programs out there fail to drive home technical skills coupled with business skills that will help you not crash and burn after graduation. The art program I was briefly in demonized computers. They are turning out people who end up stuck working in a Burger King.

Learning on the job is brutal, but you learn about the real world. Today, your education is limited to how much you want to hit google. It’s truly up to you. The negatives of not having a formal education in a fancy school is having to figure things out for yourself and not being included in cliques that form from certain colleges.

Both of these things are annoying, but surmountable if you just get off your butt and do it.

Now is the time.

Don’t feed me a line that because you weren’t rich or connected or didn’t go to a fancy school that you can’t do it. It’ll be tough and I understand that, but you are the only person who limits yourself. No one would have said that an abandoned baby from Pittsburgh would have done anything.

But here I am. I am no different or special other than the fact that I never took no for an answer.

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