“It’s Not Personal, Sonny. It’s Strictly Business.”

This famous line by Al Pacino from the movie The Godfather exemplifies perfectly the struggle of every freelancer. There is a very fine line dividing personal life from work life. And it gets even worse for creatives. Everything we create is an extension of ourselves so when someone dislikes what we make or speaks badly of what we do, we take it very, very bad. Our creations are our babies and nobody wants to hear that they have an ugly baby!

We must learn to separate ourselves from what we create if we want to survive in the creative industry:

  • Managing rejection is key for any creative. We have to be able to see that if someone doesn’t like what we do or how we do it, it only means that they are not our target. It’s not us, it’s them. You can’t please everyone; someone out there will like what we do, we just need to keep on looking.
  • Learning to see ourselves as brands and as businesses makes it easier for us to sell ourselves. We are no longer trying to sell how good we are at something; we are now saying how our client will benefit from hiring our brand.

But even if we achieve to separate the person from the business, we should never forget that this industry is made out of humans. Quoting another movie, this time Jerry Maguire: “The key to this business is personal relationships”, said Tom Cruise. That everything we do is strictly business doesn’t mean that we have to dehumanise our brand. It only means that the person and the brand must live separately but in harmony… like the ying and the yang.

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