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Trollbabe

Warning: Unsolicited advice dump. Since responding to this post five years ago, I've started a freelance writing business, been laid off from my regular job, taken another job temporarily, quit that job, and become a fulltime freelance writer. I'm not saying this to boast, but to let you know it can be done. Begin by cutting all unnecessary expenses, as well as time-wasters (television, in my case.) Spend your free time reading books, articles and blogs about being a freelance artist, and about running a business. Do this while eating lunch, riding the subway, at the library, or any other time you can spare. If you can't get by on public transportation, make sure you have a reliable car. Ask you mechanic to assess it for any future problems, and decide if it's time to trade it in. Practice, practice, practice. Take life drawing or other classes. Join a local artists' co-op for encouragement. Break relationships with negative, discouraging people who will only drag you down. Resolve attracts helpful, positive people who will take their place. You may also find other freelance people willing to barter services like website work, in exchange for drawings and paintings. Once you have enough work coming in to pay the bills, consider cutting back on hours at your regular job. Accept the "feast or famine" nature of freelance work. One week you're wondering if you will make enough to pay the power bill. The next week you're eating ramen noodles and cereal because you don't have time to cook. Don't quit a fulltime job until you have six months' worth of living expenses saved up. Be financially prepared for major car expenses, home repairs, veterinary bills, anything that might come up. Remember that art is a business, and its purpose is to make money. Ask business advice of successful business owners, regardless of whether they do dry cleaning or dog grooming. Most are happy to help. The best advice I read about freelancing, was "make reliability your middle name." You don't have to be a better artist than someone else, or a faster artist than someone else. You just have to do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it. Every. Single. Time. I'll bet you my next client check that Elfpop would agree on this. People think they need tools, studio space, money and other resources to succeed in business. Think HEAD, HANDS and HEART. These three hold your most valuable business assets. Ethics, discipline, respect, generosity... these things trump money and natural talent every time.