Picking A Class Topic To Help Creatives Launch Their Careers

Remember when you first started out as a creative professional? You most likely felt excited to make your best work, but nervous about being able to make it on your own.  

You’re not alone— our students are facing those very same doubts. By teaching other aspiring creative professionals how to launch their own careers, you'll not only inspire others, but also help pave the way for the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. To help you pick a great class topic that will resonate with the Skillshare audience, we’ve put together some useful questions that will get your ideas flowing!

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How Did You Get Started?

The hardest part of building a successful creative career is taking the first step. Without clear guidance and direction, budding creatives are bound to take many wrong turns. Thinking about how you got your start, where you went wrong, and how you can help others avoid the same mistakes is a great way to generate some class topic ideas. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What were some of the key challenges you encountered when you first started working independently? How did you overcome those challenges?

  • How did you generate business ideas when you when starting out?

  • What methods did you use to plan your business strategy?

  • What do you often get asked by people who are just starting out in your industry?

Martina Flor does a fantastic job of laying out the challenges she encountered when she first started working independently in her class Be Your Own Boss: Strategies for Launching Your Creative Career. Bonnie Christine also helps students get unstuck by helping them build a 12-month plan for launching their creative business in her class, Your Roadmap to Surface Design: A Step by Step Framework to Crafting Your Career.

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How Did You Build Your Brand?

In order to communicate what you do and how you do it, creative businesses need a strong brand that resonates with their future clients. Help your students discover their own voice by walking them through the steps of building a brand that works. Think through the following questions and see what you come up with:

  • What process do you use to define your brand and get your name out into the world?

  • How did you make a portfolio that reflects your creative brand?

  • How do you leverage storytelling to communicate your brand?

How do you get your amazing portfolio in front of the right eyes? That’s the question that Brad Woodard answers in Lessons in Launching Your Creative Career: The Art of Self-Promotion. Marketer and entrepreneur Hamza Khan walks students through the process of creating a branded digital presence in Do Things, Tell People: The Power of Personal Branding.

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How Did You Get Discovered?

Making great work alone is not enough to launch and sustain a successful career. As a creative entrepreneur, you can use so many platforms to showcase your work, but there are not enough hours in the day to make them work for you. Help students build a marketing strategy by sharing your methods for getting discovered online. Here are some questions that some of the most successful Skillshare teachers have answered for their students:

  • What new tools and/or trends have you leveraged to market your small business or freelance offerings?

  • How do you showcase your work online effectively?

  • What social media platforms do you use to acquire clients, and how do you decide which platforms to focus on?

  • How do you stand out from the crowd on social media?

Stephanie Fizer Coleman helps students showcase their work online and reach bigger audiences in Instagram for Artists: Grow Your Following with Daily Drawing Challenges. Taking a different approach to getting found online, Christopher Dodd shares how he grew his business on one of the world’s largest freelancing marketplaces in UpWork Freelancing: Your Guide to Finding Remote Freelance Jobs.

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What Positive Work Habits Do You Lean On Most?

Running a creative business is not all smooth sailing! You have to overcome new challenges every day, and put processes in place to improve your practice. How do you conquer these regular hurdles, and how can you help students do the same?

  • What productivity hacks would you recommend for creatives that are seeking to go freelance, or that want to start their own businesses?

  • What strategies do you put in place to manage your client relationships?

  • How do you manage your work/life balance as an entrepreneur?

In Turning Procrastination Into Productivity, Catrinel Girbovan arms students with a useful toolkit for beating procrastination. Faye Brown reminds students of the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance, even while running a creative business, and shows them how it’s done in The Freelancing Guide: How to Organize Your Work and Life.

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How Do You Make a Living With Your Creative Passion?

Although most creatives would rather be focusing on their work than on their income statement, financial stability is also important! Help others do what they love by showing them how to make a living. You’ve likely tried many avenues to find financial success, so let your students know how they can follow in your footsteps. Consider the following questions:

  • How did you figure out how to price your work?

  • What strategies or frameworks did you use to determine how best to grow your business?

  • What revenue streams do you use to generate income from your creative work?

  • What growing pains have you faced in your business? How did you overcome them?

Students who want to make passive income from their artwork can learn how in Cat Coquillette’s class A Step-by-Step Guide to Art Licensing: Sell Your First Piece of Artwork Online. Peggy Dean offers students an actionable strategy for figuring out how much their creative work is worth in Pricing Your Work: How to Value Your Work as a Freelancer.

Ready to share your success strategies with other creatives? Join the Teach Challenge today and we'll help you get started!