A complete guide on how to navigate the tricky world of creative jobs
The creative industries have been said to be the next frontier. Though it has been around for quite some time (making of artisan jewelry can be traced back to 7000 BCE before the industrial revolution), creativity as a major driver of the economy is yet to make an impact.
Recently, there has been a significant growth in the sector, an indicator that the economies of tomorrow will be hugely defined by creatives and artists, something that has led to embracing of this new norm.
In the creative world, the rules of business are different. As more people are joining this lucrative industry, cut-throat competition is the order of the day. In Kenya, with rising unemployment, the youth have resorted to using their skills and ideas to earn a living rather than waiting to be employed..
A majority of Kenyans are joining the industry every day. To make a mark, you have to be outstanding in your field of interest. Let’s give you hacks to succeed as a creative entrepreneur in Kenya.
The basis of creativity is ideas. Having that elusive idea is where we all start. Everyone is trying to grab a piece of the pie of the billions of shillings in the industry so to have a bigger chunk of it, you must come up with a unique concept. Your skills and expertise come in when you begin to develop and implement the idea. Creatives have always been deemed as ‘mentally unfit’ by the society. They are outcasts, rebels. Embrace it.
Social media use has experienced a huge surge in Kenya. This has led to setting up of YouTube channels (vlog) by anyone with one a smartphone and internet. To wade through the flooding of the video-sharing site, you must create a unique niche to stand out. Choosing that niche and developing it into content consumable by the masses is itself innovation.
You don’t need a basic education to work in the creative industries but taking a skills course in your area of expertise is a bonus. The society has never placed art and education in one pot. Art is viewed as less-serious and lacking intellectual depth and that’s where we miss the point.
It’s possible that you can be a creative without average education qualifications (a university degree in) but learning certain aspects of creative economies will come in handy in your area of work.
Take this example, you may be gifted with the garb of writing. That makes you write well. But when you take a writing course, you write better. It’s always a bottomless pit of learning.
Prioritizing work before monetary benefits
The main difference between creative entrepreneurship and “traditional” entrepreneurship is that in creative entrepreneurship, exploitation of talents and skills and creation of products is given meaning before money.
Quality work begets money. Your brand is based on your projects and testimonies from clients.
It’s a who-knows-who world. The little jobs up for grabs are dished depending on who knows you or your work. Engaging with industry players is an ideal way of putting your work out there and getting wind of opportunities.
Ideal places for meeting like-minded people are events and social meet-ups.
Social media presence
The best way to showcase your work to the world is by establishing a strong social media presence. More than 10 million Kenyans access the internet. That is where your future customers are.
An average Kenyan spends at least 4 hours a day online. When you go online, you think about the future. Most photo studios have displayed their work on Instagram pages while writers open free blogs to post their content. These are some of the channels of reaching your clients.
In a rapidly changing economy, adapting to new concepts is an added advantage. Due to technological advancements, new trends are being set every day in all sectors. To catch up, you have to learn and embrace technologies.
Using photography business in Kenya as an example, with the emerging of drone photography, sticking to traditional methods of filming will kick you out of your game. Most professional photographers are currently using drones to take aerial photos.
Creatives are not boring people sitting in a chemical lab studying new drug species (with respect to our admirable lab technologists). A little fun may not hurt. Go for what you love and arm yourself with requisite skills to get the job done.
Jobs in the creative industries are often stressful and demanding, a complete opposite of the perception out there.
Just like in other economies, the creative world is characterized by stiff competition, long hours and exploitation of skills. Being a free industry, it’s crowded thus a good strategy and implementation will get you the ultimate prize.
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