Diary of a Freelance Art Buyer: Going for it!

© Richard Schultz - http://www.rschultz.com

When Julia Cunningham, (previously an art buyer at an advertising agency in Chicago) shared with us her news about venturing out on her own, we were so happy for her.  When she called, we talked a lot about how the power of being on your own needed to outweigh the fears if she were to succeed.  We talked of the courage and independence it takes to start something for herself.  And we talked about how exciting it all was.

It got me thinking that her experiences over the next few months would be unique.  I wondered if she would be open to sharing her thoughts, fears and journey through our blog.  So much of what she will experience is relevant to not only other art buyers but anyone in the freelance creative community; photographers included.

Here is her first entry.  After reading this, I look forward to reading and sharing more about her journey.

“OK, I did it” I said to my husband over the phone in my office.

And, then my next comment was “What did I just do?”

I had resigned from my position of 8 years as a Sr. Art Production manager at a Chicago ad agency.   Who would have thought going into my HR manager’s office to resign would provoke sweaty palms and teary eyes.   I wasn’t being laid off; I was doing this of my own volition.   I thought for sure I would feel liberated, I was going out on my own wasn’t I?  This is good news, right?   I think the uncertainty of whether I was making the right decision had overtook my emotions.

It’s my personal opinion that most of us will come to several crossroads in our lives.  Where should we go to college, if we should have children, whether to take a job offer across the country, etc.  The list goes on.  My latest crossroad was deciding if I should continue working for the same company OR take on the daunting, but exhilarating challenges of starting my own Art Production consulting business.

Both shared the same recipe for success; hard work, rubbing elbows, and overcoming unforeseen challenges.  The biggest difference though is that on my own I would be in control.  I would be working for myself.

The support I received from family and friends was unanimous.  I heard lots of “Good for you!” “Congrats!”  It felt great knowing that so many people were rooting for me.

Of course, along with the feeling of self-satisfaction was my lingering uncertainty and a very long to do list.  I wish it had been as easy as “hanging out the old shingle” as my father put it.  But along with setting up the home office, building a website, updating the Linked-in profile, and networking like it’s a contest, I found my passion again.  My love of photography and illustration, my enjoyment of researching new talent, and the challenge of taking on comprehensive projects all appeared in a renewed light.

It’s easy to become complacent as we fall into familiar patterns and practices of the day to day.  Taking a step back to figure out what inspired me professionally was more complex, but in the end it lead me in the right direction.

Hard work, rubbing elbows, and overcoming unforeseen challenges on my own terms; this could be the motto on my metaphorical shingle.

3 thoughts on “Diary of a Freelance Art Buyer: Going for it!

  1. I love laughing in the first two lines of a story. Thank you for posting your beginnings and sharing your contemplations. It makes those that have had similar experiences exhale, relax and realize we are not alone and most importantly encourages us to push forward. Keep posting…

  2. Thank you for sharing this Julia- it is interesting to hear about the risks that need to be taken to keep passionate about what you do- and in the end how rewarding it is!

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