Many of you may already know that I spent my weekend flipping through books, talking to artists and meeting Sci-Fi celebrities at the annual Seattle geekfest known as the Emerald City Comicon* .
It was a really fun weekend and extremely inspiring! As many of you who are creatives, you might relate to this, except for a few of my buddies who share some of my nerdisms – I am so rarely surrounded by a group of people who will laugh at the same subversive jokes as me and where the more you embrace your geekery, the “cooler” you are.
No doubt, times have changed. The blockbuster super hero movies and the mainstream adoption of the internet has made a lot of things that once were reserved for the uber-nerd much more socially acceptable — but there is still a line between those who will shell out $8 to go see Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man at their local Cineplex and those who will spend a wad of cash, an entire weekend and several hours of waiting in lines to attend a Comicon. Being a part of the weekends festivities, I took away a few freelance related lessons to share!
Lesson #1: Be nice.
Being nice is really under estimated, and in todays world, it is really unexpected when people are nice, so it means a lot. I met a few cast members from The Guild, and was really surprised at how genuinely happy they were just to chit chat with some fans of the show and how appreciative they were of the support.
When you’re building a brand on the internet, your power is in your audience — without them, there is nothing to save you! You can apply this to building your blog or even in a design studio — your clients are all that is standing between you living your entrepreneurs dream or going back to the daily grind working for someone else. So be nice, show people the respect and appreciation they deserve!
Lesson #2: Be Yourself.
It’s an adage that gets a lot of flack, “just be yourself,” but I think people misunderstand this. I don’t take it to mean that if sitting in your room alone doodling in your sketchbook and watching old episodes of Shera make you happy, do it and expect to succeed. I see it as, take what you love and work your damnedest to embrace that and make it your life!
The other cliche, “life is too short.” It ain’t. Life is long. Unexpected illness and traffic accidents excluded, chances are – you are going to be on this planet for a long while — so how do you want to spend that time? Life’s too long to spend it trying to fit into someone elses mold of success, so define it for yourself and live it!
Lesson #3: Open Your Creative Circle.
This weekend made me feel really good about pursuing my creative career and also made me realized that I wanted to branch out my social network of other creatives. I love web design, but design and business lessons can be learned from writers, crafters, and comic artists – so open your creative circle!
* note from liz: If you’re not into comics, give them a chance! They aren’t all for kids and they aren’t all super powers and capes. There are books out there of all different generes from mysteries to sci-fi to romantic comedies. You can get into a series, try out some graphic novels, or subscribe to a web comic. It’s a great entertainment and art medium and if you don’t know much about it, give it a chance — you will not regret it.