It’s no secret that most creatives (including me) are introverts. We really just want to stay in our cave and make stuff– the last thing we want to do is go out there and “sell” ourselves, right?
But here’s the thing: you could be doing the best work in the world, but if nobody sees it, how are you going to get hired??
As most of us have learned from experience, if you just make stuff and put it up on your portfolio, it’s like a tree falling in the woods… nobody hears it!
So if you want to get paid to do what you love, you’ve gotta be consistently putting yourself out there. You have to let people know who you are and what you do, AND asking them to hire you– whether that’s in person, by email, DM, whatever it takes… you’ve gotta let them know you exist.
You want to be the first person they think of when they think of your field, so when they need a designer, photographer, writer, or whatever – their first move is to call YOU.
If that’s making you nervous, relax – it’s not as scary as it might seem 🙂 In fact, it’s probably a lot easier than you think!
As one example, here’s how I ended up writing a bunch of cover stories for a national magazine using a super simple, introvert-friendly approach that can work for anyone (including you!)…
I was at Barnes & Noble one day and saw a copy of a music magazine called Substream. I’d never heard of it before because it was pretty new at the time and felt super fresh, raw and vibrant – exactly what I was looking for at the time.
They were covering a bunch of smaller, younger bands that weren’t yet getting a lot of attention from the bigger magazines like Alternative Press, and I’m always more interested in what’s going to be big next rather that what’s currently big, so I was stoked on what they were doing and really wanted to be part of it.
I’d been running a reasonably popular music blog for a while, so I had some proof that I knew what I was doing as a writer… so I said “Fuck it, why not hit them up and see if they need more writers?”
I found the publisher’s email address in the front of the magazine, pulled out my phone and emailed him right there at B&N with some links to my blog.
He replied, I wrote a short piece about my friends’ band Winds Of Plague in the next issue, and that quickly turned into writing a cover story about another band called Of Mice & Men (who were tiny then, but are now a massive, Billboard top 10 selling band that’s toured with Linkin Park).
A couple of the cover stories I wrote, back when these bands were little MySpace sensations…
I wrote a bunch more stories for Substream with Asking Alexandria (also now a huge, Billboard top 10 band), Hey Monday, and half a dozen other bands.
And whether you like those bands (or even whether you are a writer) is beside the point– the point is that this is a national magazine sold at Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc and I wrote 3 or 4 cover stories for them… all because I said “fuck it” and sent that email from the aisle of Barnes & Noble!
So here’s the takeaway: You have to PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! You can’t sit back waiting to be discovered. You have to make people aware that you exist, and ask them to hire you.
Yes, you will hear no many times but that’s OK– just KEEP ASKING and it’s only a matter of time until you hear yes!
Remember: the only way you can fail is if you give up… it’s ok if you get bummed and discouraged, just never, EVER give up and eventually it will work out… I promise! 🙂
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