Wouldn’t you love to spend more of your time doing what you love to do?
Whether you’re a writer, musician, or artist, work has a way of getting in the way of what you’d rather spend your time doing.
Over the last six years, I’ve been exploring the idea of creative freedom on my website. I’ve been thinking about what it would mean to have more time to do what I love to do (in my case music and travel), and how to get there.
While I’m not going to suggest that the options presented here are comprehensive by any means, each of the avenues has the potential to provide a degree of freedom in your creative pursuits.
Let’s get into it.
Find a Job You Love
Perhaps the ability to spend more of your time on creativity is just an opportunity away.
There are plenty of jobs out there where creativity is an asset — just look at trending markets like content marketing, copywriting or social media.
If you don’t have the skills you need yet, don’t worry — there’s plenty of information online, and if you’re determined enough to invest your free time into self-education, there’s nothing you can’t learn and pick up.
Upsides: you get to do something you enjoy by day, and you get paid to do it too.
Downsides: in essence, you’re not freeing up more of your time, and you’re still trading time for money. You must work on the projects you’re given, and you don’t have any added flexibility.
I’ve spent a lot of time as a freelancer. I’ve handled everything from ghostwriting to sales pages, and got paid good money to do those things.
I have found that there are plenty of freelancing opportunities out there, and as you build your skills in different areas, people will begin to seek you out more frequently.
Of course, if you have absolutely no skills, then you must develop abilities that others place a value on.
In short, how well you do as a freelancer depends on what skills you have and the people you know.
Upsides: you can set your own schedule, work from home, and choose what jobs you’d like to take.
Downsides: you’re still trading time for money, just in a different context. Your upside limit is determined by how much work you can produce. Moreover, you might have to take jobs you don’t want to for the sake of money.
Build a Business
Business is primarily the avenue I’ve been exploring through my work.
If you build a profitable business, it is possible to delegate most of your responsibilities and enjoy a passive income. You can then go on to pursue whatever you’d like to be doing.
But there can be a lot of hiccups on the way to building a successful company. If you don’t systematize, if you don’t solve a problem or create something people want, if you don’t have a long-term plan for your business, you’ll often find yourself working more hours instead of fewer.
The evolution of a business is often such that you’ll have to dedicate all of your time to it early on, but you can get it to the point of running on its own by creating procedures and building a competent team.
Upsides: you can free up your time as your business grows, and as you automate, delegate and eliminate more of your responsibilities.
Downsides: there are no guarantees in business. You may fail. You may have to rebuild. It may take a long time to get to where you want to go (it will always take longer than you think it will). Business is not easy, but it can be immensely fulfilling and rewarding.
When people think of investing, they often think of the stock market.
Don’t get me wrong — there certainly are some worthwhile investments out there, but many of them require you to have a lot of capital to play with, and you need to obtain specialized knowledge besides.
I personally invested in a business in 2011, though unfortunately it didn’t work out in my favor.
I’ve also had money in various investments including mutual funds and GICs. They worked out until 2008 came along.
Upsides: if you strike gold and you are wise with your money (let’s be honest — a lot of people who win the lottery tend to lose it within a year of earning it), you can work on whatever creative endeavor you want to, to your heart’s content.
Downsides: you need a lot of money, you need to know what you’re doing, and you also must be willing to take some big risks. Investing can be as much “gut feeling” as it is specialized knowledge and experience.
The good thing about creative freedom is that you get to define what your end goal is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be complete freedom.
If freeing up an hour in your day allows you to do what you want to do, more power to you. If getting to the point where you can spend 80% of your time on creative efforts is what you want to do, that is also a worthy goal.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are.
What does creative freedom look like to you? Where are you on your path towards creative freedom? What artistic or creative pursuits are you engaged in?