I was on TikTok the other day and there was this guy talking about how a year ago he decided to go full time with his chocolate business even though he didn’t know ANYTHING about it. He didn’t even know how to temper chocolate, he says!
Day later I am scrolling through Instagram and there, in plain daylight, a fellow illustrator is doing an AMA and saying that she wasn’t happy at her job and she wanted to be an illustrator so she decided to quit her job and be an illustrator even though she didn’t know how to draw and here she is, mere few years later, with 50k followers and and a string of high profile jobs under her belt.
Now, I have zero doubt that these people are anything but nice and well-meaning folks, but I can promise you, with 100% certainty that they are lying to you. They are lying about the level of knowledge( or access to knowledge) they had. They maybe didn’t have huge amounts of skill or been pros in their fields when they started but they definitely knew enough to know how much they do or don’t know.
People come to me about once a month with ideas to be an illustrator and asking what I would advise them about selling their stuff or do I think this agent or that agent would be interested in their work and in almost each case I want say only one thing; You are not ready to be an illustrator because YOU CAN’T DRAW!
It’s not that these people are delusional or that they are not self aware enough. They have something that they enjoy doing, be it illustration or making chocolate bars but as life would have it they are working some boring, meaningless low paid job and then they keep seeing all these posts around internet how easy it is, how anyone can do it, how you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to love it and “You can turn your passion into 6 figure income” or “ How I went from this to that in just 3 months and how you can do the same!“ and one day their brains go
“You don’t have to live like this!You can be like those people.You just need to apply yourself!!”
“You have a passion too and you could be happy and special and rich and enjoy what you do.
You deserve happiness too! ”
And they do deserve it. But it’s a lie that everybody can do it and that people start a business without knowing anything.
It might well be true that some of them didn’t know much and some form of success happened for them in 6 months or a year but there could be a whole myriad of reasons for this;
It might be they got super lucky being in the right place at the right time.
It might be that they are super talented people and they progressed super fast.
It might be that their uncle’s cousin’s neighbour is an experienced artist and they gave them some insight or got them connected with the right people.
It might be that their partner works in finance and they were able to buy some knowledge fast without worrying about making money.
It might be that they knew much more then they are letting on in order to paint their achievements as bigger.
Or it might be that the amount of success or skill they are presenting to have is a lie.
Why do people do this? Who knows. Sometimes it’s people not being aware of their privileges. Other times people don’t like to admit all the advantages they had. It makes their successes (and hence them) less special. Then there are times when people simply need to not say the truth in order to sell you something and lying is completely intentional and they are being assholes.
At this point you might be asking yourself ;
Where is this bitch going with this? What is the point of this pessimistic rant?
The point is this:
Doing what you love and getting paid for it is absolutely possible but it is quite hard to make happen and you DO NOT have to do it!
You can just do what you love for the sake of it. You don’t have to make it a business!
BUT if you do decide to make it a business, realise that it will probably take ages for you to get really good at it ( I am talking years), that it will take tons of time and energy to get the business side set up and running. That it will 100% require sacrifices from you either in time or money or both.
That the competition is gigantic.
That you will have to be really smart about it.
That you will definitely make it but it might take 2 years or it might take 15 and in the meantime you will have to look at people who started after you getting the jobs and recognition you want.
If all this is ok with you then proceed. Go for it! But whoever is telling you it’s going to be easy and fast is lying to you.