It’s been a few months since I launched my ‘How to Get Illustration Clients‘ course after working with various ‘guinea pig’ clients, not to mention learning from my own experiences as an illustrator over the last nine years.
I got in touch with some of those who have worked with my strategies from the course so that you could get a sense of whether what I taught them, either through the online course or coaching, has been helpful.
They each described their previous situation, their businesses and what they got out of the course and coaching. I hope you find it useful and perhaps some encouragement to try out the course yourself.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Molly is an illustrator and public artist with a passion for designing spaces and experiences that inspire creativity and connection. I worked closely with her for several weeks at the beginning of 2015 and it was a pleasure to see her transformation through the process.
I’ve been an illustrator for over 10 years. I have an art studio in the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. I create large scale illustrations, hand painted murals, collaborative art making experiences and live painting performances.
In the past I focused on digital illustration for the advertising and licensing markets.
The last five years have been an intense struggle financially, I haven’t been getting the work or the fees I used to get, I was losing interest in those industries and I was losing confidence in my creative skills and my ability to run a business that provided stability.
Many people told me to quit and get a job, but I knew I wanted to make things work as a creative entrepreneur.
I knew other illustrators were experiencing success, but I couldn’t figure out how they were surviving. I realized that I had to admit to myself that I had reached my own capacity and the ship I was steering was sinking.
I needed a new direction and perspective. I had to change something. I started looking into mentors and coaches for the creative industry to see if my issues were really about me or if they were typical business issues that could be changed and I could arrive at new results.
I had read a lot of books, but I needed encouragement to keep going and I needed coaching and accountability to turn things around.
I found Alex’s blog online and began absorbing all of his materials since they were geared toward illustrators and eventually worked with him as a coach.
After the first few calls with Alex, I realized that I was going to have to push past “my own doubt and resistance” – that voice that says “I don’t get it, or it’s too hard, or I tried that, or I don’t believe that will change anything” whenever I seek outside help with something, that voice comes along side the hope that I can change and grow.
For me, I was at a point in my life and career where I was willing to submit to someone else’s plan – mine was clearly not working.
I felt more trapped in the world I had created and was ready and willing to surrender to another’s strategy. I still struggled, but I wanted to see if Alex’s process really worked.
Alex’s plan is actually quite simple, but I really needed the coaching to work through the weekly struggles I was having with reconnecting with people in person and online.
I assumed clients were not interested in hiring me after one interaction. Alex had me connecting with people monthly, regardless of their response, after 4-5 months of connecting consistently, I was getting calls from new clients as well as working regularly with past clients.
People were trying to find ways to work with me.
I struggle most with connecting “online.” I prefer in person people connection.
Alex helped me craft emails that were less “pitch” focused and more “connection” focused. This was really helpful and now I can reach out to others with less anxiety. Through this process I also realized that I like meeting with people in person, I set up meetings regularly, started attending more conferences and networking events. I have been able to lean into my “connecting-strengths.”
After I finished a project, I would literally begin to panic about the money running out and where was the next project. I was operating in a constant state of fear.
Alex’s plan has now given me a lot of mental stability. I understand how to depend on and trust the process, the money does come in if you are obedient to the process.
This alone has refreshed my energy to pursue interesting work with amazing people, instead of freaking out about finances.
In terms of very practical results, I started coaching with Alex in January. It is now August and I had doubled my income (from last year) by the end of the second quarter.
This month I completed a mural at a museum with an architect I connected with on LinkedIn in March.
My favorite design firm is relying on me monthly for creative overflow and one of my clients is now hiring me to do a monthly art installation at their offices in downtown Chicago.
There have been several big juicy projects as well as “repeat” projects, which I haven’t had in years. I don’t work the system perfectly, but I understand that when you really connect with people, they become your advocates and will find ways to work with you and use your artwork.
I highly recommend the course and Alex as a coach. He has a great blend of personal integrity, relationship wisdom, and creative business knowledge. His ideas are simple and effective if you commit to the process. He will move you out of your comfort zone and into a growing, thriving creative business.
Tom is an illustrator working in Bristol, UK, who creates digital artwork for editorial, animation and the web. He worked with me on the concepts in the course earlier this year as one of my ‘guinea pigs’ and he helped me flesh out the course even more to great success.
I am a freelance illustrator working from home. I do illustration work for a wide variety of clients and media, from editorial to animation and the web.
I don’t use anything more elaborate than pencils and paper, a printer/scanner, an iMac and an old Wacom Intuos tablet for producing my work.
A year ago, I had worked for some great clients, but I was still really struggling to define my path forward. I wasn’t bringing in enough work to feel I could truly call myself a professional illustrator, and I knew that this had a lot to do with my own marketing and promotion.
I had always taken a pretty scatter gun approach to self promotion.
Just trying a bit of this and a bit of that, and never really getting my teeth into anything.
One of the main factors behind this, I have since realised, was a lack of focus and direction. I was being overwhelmed by the potential possibilities, and was becoming frozen by them.
I really needed some clarity, and Alex’s methods have really started to give me that.
My biggest reservation was just in reaching out to contact people who didn’t know me, and worrying about being seen as some sort of “pest”.
The main benefit from Alex’s course for me was organisation.
I have learnt to take a very methodical approach to my marketing strategy, and that has really opened my eyes to how powerful a good system can be. I now have a great way of organising my contacts and my growing network in a manageable way.
I have also seen great benefits from creating daily and weekly goals, and to sticking to them, no matter what!
I’ve now made some great contacts and am steadily growing my network in a manageable and organic way.
I think we all need to understand that we are running a business. If we just focus on the “nice” parts of our jobs we will inevitably neglect a lot of the other necessary aspects that are required by a growing business of any kind.
We have to inhabit every aspect of that business and learn to be great at many things we didn’t necessarily expect to have to do.
However, with careful organisation and time management, we can learn to be effective in ways we never thought possible before. And the more you start to see results, the more inspired you will be to push yourself even harder to reach the goals you have set for yourself.
Esther has been a professional illustrator and freelancer for 9 years, creating hand lettering and graphics for children’s books and a range of other clients. She bought the course a few months ago and has already found plenty of positive results using it:
I’ve always struggled with being consistent about marketing. I’ve read many illustration books hoping that I would find some practical advice on business from an illustrator’s perspective.
Most of the books I’ve read have great insight into the field of illustration but barely touch on the ever changing world of marketing. When I found Alex’s course I was very excited. I knew I had found exactly what I needed.
Alex gives simple, easy to accomplish steps for illustrators to do every day in order to set themselves up for success. I immediately started implementing Alex’s advice into my workflow and have seen powerful results.
Some are things that you know you should be doing but are intimidating, and it helps when someone who is in the industry can encourage you and give you a clear direction.
Some of the best things about this book are the spreadsheets for organizing clients and the calendar to plan your day. I also love that he gives you practical suggestions for what to say in emails to potential contacts.
Finding new ways to reach out to potential clients and past clients has always been hard for me so his tips were extremely helpful.
If you are a professional illustrator or want to be, this is a must-read. I also teach illustration so I will be passing this along to my students!
If you are a creative freelancer of any kind looking for help landing clients, and you want to try the course, go here.
If you want to work one-to-one with Alex, contact him directly. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter for more posts like this and more notifications of similar courses.