The Calculated Creative

6 Creative Career Mistakes to Avoid (Overnight Success is a Myth)

Overnight Success is a Myth.

It comes from chipping away for years until the pieces click into place.

But often times the biggest career leaps come not in what you’re doing…

But in what you shouldn’t be doing.

Leading to more time spent on the things that matter.

Here’s 6 things to avoid that will stop a creative career dead in it’s tracks:

1. A Big Ego

Your creative work is only as good as the team that helped to give it to the world.

Stop acting like it all came from you (it didn’t) and help showcase the talents of other co-workers and collaborators.

Someone else taking all the credit? Get as far away from them as you possibly can.

2. Not Networking

Your work is only as good as your network.

And if you’re unable to establish longer lasting relationships with people who have similar values then opportunities will dry up.

3. No Experimenting

Industry changes come out of left field.

Just look at how quickly AI tools are already shifting the creative landscape.

Shift your perspective and be willing to experiment with new mediums, programs, environments, etc.

Sometimes the coolest opportunities come from the most unsuspecting places.

4. Too Many Meetings

You learn the most by doing!

Not by being stuck in endless meetings talking about changes that will lead to the most vanilla output imaginable.

Guard your own focus and productivity by declining as many unnecessary meetings as possible.

5. Not Saying “No” Enough

Early in creative careers it can be beneficial to say yes to as many opportunities as possible.

But as you become more established and known for your work this needs to change.

The more you can say “no” to work that isn’t what you enjoy or want to do more of…

The more room you leave for the work that you want to be doing.

6. Lack of Business Skills

Creative work exists as just one instrument in an entire marketing ecosystem.

By learning to better understand money you can start to more effectively navigate difficult conversations around budgets, resources, and timelines.

All in the name of giving the creative work more time and space to be the best it can be.

How this is relevant for a:

Freelancer — You have a slew of different tools, contacts, platforms, etc. You don’t need more things to focus on. Use the above steps as a guardrail to keep you focused on what matters.

Full-timer — The things that lead to career advancement in a full time setting don’t come from reacting to the needs of everyone around you. Stick to your guns and crush those main KPI’s.

Dabbler — Beginners mind is the term used to refer to somebody that has an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when learning. It can be hard to maintain when you take steps to further your career. But the above outline will help keep you from closing yourself off.

We all know how quickly you can get lost in the million different things you could be doing better.

But often times it’s infinitely easier to know what few things to stay away from that make all the difference.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

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