I’m so excited to be part of the Creative Inc. blog tour! Today I am sharing an interview with the authors Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho. I’ve been big fans of both Joy and Meg for a many years now. These talented ladies have been a huge inspiration to me especially with how well they run their own creative freelance businesses. Now they have gathered all their knowledge to share with everyone else. The book is extensive information about things like what you need to get started as a freelancer, promoting yourself, licensing your art, dealing with taxes, what contracts should look and lots more. Plus there are tons of helpful interviews with successful freelancers, agents, accountants and art directors. I am thrilled and honored that our company Also was interviewed for the book. Get a copy of the book here
Now here’s the interview:
How did this book come about and what made you two partner together to write it?
Joy: We met in 2007 after we did the Stationery Show together and quickly became long-distance friends. We often looked to each other for constructive feedback on our work and discussed working together on a project in the future. After the success of Meg’s book, Craft, Inc., Chronicle wanted to expand the series. We began brainstorming for ideas and with our joint backgrounds as freelancers, it was natural to write about that topic. We also felt there wasn’t a go-to bible in the market for any creative type looking to go freelance.
Meg: I pretty much just begged Joy to do a book with me. Tears were involved. She eventually caved in.
How is your book different from the other books that already exist about being an artistic freelancer?
Joy: There are various freelancer books out there, but most focus on one particular freelancing field. We wanted to create a book that combines several fields and includes things we felt were missing in other freelance books: relevant business advice, interviews with other freelancers in a range of creative fields (including you!), and approachable guidance on the highs and lows of all aspects of freelancing.
Meg: We’re in a golden age of creativity. With fields cross-pollinating and blurring–it’s hard to be just one type of creative in a single medium. Many creatives, like Joy and I, are “slashies” (i.e., illustrator/designer, photographer/director/stylist)–so we wanted to create a book that encompasses different kinds of creative freelancing. There is a lot of overlap across fields as well as differences you can learn from and apply to your own practice. In fact, the most interesting freelance practices I learned were from photographers–and I’m not a photographer!
As freelancers yourselves, what has been the toughest challenges you’ve had to face?
Joy: The toughest challenges are the irregularity of the business, changing from a regular paycheck, being your own boss, getting your own clients, and then managing it all. Those are the things that make most freelancing newbies (or those considering it) apprehensive. However, the upside is that once you’ve figured out how to manage those areas (which we cover in the book), those challenges become your rewards: the flexible schedule, getting to be your own boss, getting to choose clients, and having it all be on your terms.
While researching information for the book, did you learn any new things that have changed your own freelance business model?
Joy: We found the interviewees to be super inspiring and such a great a confirmation of the truism: if you want new opportunities, new clients, and new types of work, being pro-active and being a go-getter is the best way to make them happen. Most of the freelancers we interviewed didn’t start off with dream clients or the exact type of work they eventually wanted, but they created self-initiated work for their portfolio, took some jobs initially for very reasonable prices, or approached companies they’ve always wanted to work for. With hard work and perseverance, they started getting the jobs and clients they’ve always dreamt of. This has been a great reminder for our own businesses to never settle and keep going after the projects you want and haven’t done yet.
Which section of this book was the most fun for you to write? Which was the hardest?
Meg: It was fun to write Chapter 7, “Balancing Your Business and Personal Lives,” because it’s great to think of ways to recharge, relax, or step back from your business. It also gave us a moment to think about how to improve our own personal lives by toning down our workaholism. I can’t say there was ever a “hard” chapter. The best part about having a co-author is you can hand off a chapter to her and ask her to fill it with more information!
What is on the horizons for you guys?
Meg: Not much, just total world domination.
Ha! Thanks so much to Meg and Joy for such a useful book!
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© Julia Rothman 2007