The Calculated Creative

7 Ways to Find Stability in a Creative Job

Diversifying your income and building a network can help weather the ups and downs of creative work while still pursuing your passions.

Working in a creative field can be thrilling, but also unpredictable.

The fluctuating income and irregular work schedule can create a lot of instability.

With some strategic planning, you can find more stability in your creative career while still pursuing your passions.

Here are 7 ways to find stability in a creative role:

1. Diversify your income streams

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by relying solely on one client or job.

Try to have multiple diverse sources of income.

Take on freelance gigs.

Sell products you design.

Create online courses to sell.

License your artwork.

Having several revenue streams from different sources can protect you when any one area slows down.

Aim to have at least 3–5 different income sources at any time.

2. Build up substantial savings

Save aggressively when you land a big contract or have a few months of steady clients.

Sock away as much money as you can into savings accounts so you have a solid financial cushion when work slows down.

It’s ideal to have 3–6 months of living expenses in savings as an emergency fund.

Resist the urge to spend that flush time and save it for a rainy day instead.

3. Create long-term relationships

Try to foster ongoing, lasting relationships with clients, employers and other collaborators.

Rather than always having to start from scratch on projects.

Having repeat business and long-term connections in your industry can lead to more steady, reliable work year after year.

Be sure to nurture those relationships in slower times.

4. Explore non-creative side hustles

Consider picking up side gigs outside your creative field that can provide a steady paycheck to balance out the irregular income from your creative work.

Things like:
- Bartending
- Babysitting
- Dog walking
- Landscaping

Anything to help fill income gaps.

And prevent yourself from giving up entirely on creative work.

5. Teach your craft

Earn extra income during slower periods by teaching workshops or classes in your creative specialty.

This can also expand your professional network and reputation.

Offer classes at local colleges, workshops at art centers, private lessons, or online courses.

You can make money sharing your expertise while still honing your own skills.

6. Consider career alternatives

Research alternate stable careers that take advantage of your creative skills but offer more structure.

Things like graphic design, UX design, academic/teaching roles, marketing, advertising, and web design.

Pursuing other roles allows you to use your creative talents while providing more consistent pay and schedules.

Having a viable backup plan in a related field can provide some security.

7. Set boundaries

Avoid burnout in your creative career by not overextending yourself.

Set healthy limits on your availability with clients and personal projects so you still have downtime for renewal, inspiration, rest and life balance.

Learning to say no and establishing boundaries will help make your career sustainable in the long-run.

The Takeaway

Finding stability as a creative professional takes:
- Effort
- Diligence
- Self-discipline.

But is very possible if you take proactive steps.

Diversifying your income and connections, as well as balancing structure with flexibility, can help weather the ups and downs of creative work while still pursuing your passions.

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

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to The Calculated Creative.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.