The Best Digital Resources For The Bootstrapped Creative (And How to use Them)

Published On: December 30th, 2020|Categories: Knowledge|Tags: , , |

The Best Digital Resources For The Bootstrapped Creative (And How to use Them) 

Sometimes, creative entrepreneurship can make you feel like a one-person circus. 

You’re wearing all the hats (plus none of them really look that good on you), juggling tasks and projects 24/7, and you’re walking a very precarious tightrope otherwise known as the balance between work and life.

If you take into account everything that you do as a creative (besides your actual skills and passion), it might make you want to hide in a mountain cave and never come out.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of tricks of the trade and tools to make your creative journey that much easier. Here’s a handy list of some of the best digital resources for creatives hoofing it on a budget out there.

Side note- these are all tools I use regularly in my creative business. They’ve been a total gamechanger.

Contracts –

I know that creativity and legalities don’t really mix, but for any creator, ensuring that your artwork is protected keeps your projects and yourself safe from scary, unforeseen legal charges or fines.

 Plus, it sets boundaries with clients and prevents scope creep down the road. Getting a contract from a lawyer or agency is nearly fail-proof, but for an artist on a tight budget, it isn’t the easiest solution. 

In that case, you can opt for a pre-made and legal option such as customized contractor templates from an outfit like The Contract Shop, a range of legal contracts for artists, creative entrepreneurs, course creators, photographers, designers and more, all carefully drawn up by attorney Christina Scalera. 

If you’ve got a decent budget with a little wiggle room, I highly recommend buying a contract from Christina. The investment is well worth the peace of mind knowing that your business is protected.

On the other hand, if you need something that’s a little (or a lot) lighter on the wallet, I’ve personally had great luck with  Square Up Contracts, BizTree’s Business In A Box or even this fun contract script from Stuff And Nonsense Killer Contract.

Networking –

I know, I know. As an artist, you’d rather surround yourself with thought-provoking inspiration rather than inane chatter and scores of people handing out business cards. 

Still, to really turn your passion into a sustainable source of income, whether that’s full time or just moonlighting work, you can’t always go it alone.

That’s not to say that you have to force yourself to go to every networking event; quite the opposite.

If you prefer to connect online vs IRL, try the creative business platform The Dots, described as ‘The professional network for people who don’t wear suits to work’. 

With The Dots, you can attend digital summits, meetups, webinars; ask and give advice from mentors and collaborators, discover amazing companies you never knew existed, find cool new jobs and so much more.

Portfolio – 

Sure,  you could just copy paste a few links onto a free journalistic portfolio site and call it a day, but is that really the best way to knock the socks off a potential client?

Skip the clutter and go for a more aesthetic, visually pleasing option. You’re an artist- take the creative reins!

Two of the best choices are to either create a standalone page on your website, dedicated solely to your projects (and testimonials, if you like), showcasing your best work, whether that’s published links, a carousel of photographs or simply a few illustrations. This page is meant to display your talent- let it shine!

If you want to have a separate portfolio, create an account with UnderPinned, a unique platform where you can display your projects in a highly visual medium.

If you’re a content creator, photographer, digital designer or even a painter, UnderPinned is the perfect way to display projects and pitch to prospective clients.

Inspiration –

Sometimes while you’re in the midst of a project, you might find yourself dealing with mental blocks, looming deadlines and numerous other tasks on your plate, zapping your creativity and halting your progress.

If your creative brain starts to feel a little rusty, check out HeyNishi, an online hub for designers, marketers, copywriters and other creatives to discover what works and what doesn’t through a selection of carefully scrutinized and tested websites that take the guesswork out of inspiration.

Whether it’s the copy that’s puzzling you, or you’re concerned that the visuals might not be consistent with the project theme, Nishi helps you understand the next steps to take.

Learning – 

As artists and creatives, we’re always growing, always improving, continuously navigating the ever-changing landscape. 

Not just to keep up with the constant stream of industry trends and client demands, but also to sharpen our skills and hone our craft.

Learning never truly stops, but don’t take that to mean that you have to go back to school or enroll into an expensive art school to further refine your knowledge. 

Luckily, with the internet, the world is your oyster and nearly everything you’d like to learn is at your fingertips.

Try out Skillshare, an awesome platform for creators of all disciplines.

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer, a wedding calligrapher, an aspiring illustrator or even a floral designer, there’s a wonderful class waiting for you.

Taught by amazing, verified teachers and trainers, all lessons are in video format and are self paced, making them easy to fit around your schedule instead of the other way around.

Skillshare offers an easy free trial for you to get a feel for the system, though in my opinion a subscription to the site is well worth the price.

Another popular option is CreativeLive, a similar platform geared towards creatives who lean more into the visual side of art, such as graphic design, photography, painting and the like.

You can brush up and polish existing skills, or have some fun and learn some new ones. Sky’s the limit with Skillshare!

Which of these tools will you try out? Let’s talk in the comments!

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