The Future of Creative Work: A Hybrid Career

Hybrid working is getting more common and necessary for creative professionals. And no, I don’t mean ‘hybrid’ as in working at the office vs from home. With hybrid working, I mean career models that diversify and extend into different directions & areas. The younger generations seem to refrain from doing just one thing for the rest of their lives. People want to discover and explore a world of endless possibilities. But for the sustainability of a creative professional’s career, working in a hybrid model is vital. 

We can all conclude; the career of a creative professional is most of the time incredibly dynamic. The highs are high and the lows are low. I can definitely contest that. The hustle is real. So how can we help the next generation of creatives to build a sustainable career?  

In recent years, I have been coaching and teaching young artists and creatives to not make the same mistakes that we all seem to make over and over again in the Creative & Cultural Sectors. Throughout this, I found that we need to change the way we work within these sectors; we need to be trained to work more hybrid. So how can a hybrid career model really help one’s career? To answer that question, we must first understand the 4 different versions of a Hybrid Creative Career. 

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Freelance vs Employed

In certain sectors in the Creative & Cultural Industries, 65% work freelance. But these creatives often don’t become a freelancer by choice, stay freelance or freelance full-time. It’s very common for creatives to hustle between different jobs where they aren’t ’employed’ in the same way. 

For example, a creative might freelance and be employed at the same time. There is a certain fluidity in terms of how creatives are employed. It makes the workforce of the CCI’s one of the most dynamic ones but at the same time, it is a recipe for a fragmented market where oversight is tough. 

Personally, I do prefer freelancing as it somehow gives me more of a coherent feeling between the various projects I’m working on. (Or to be fair, used to work on) 

Sector vs Sector 

The Creative and Cultural Industries include many different sectors and sub-sectors. Many of these sectors overlap in terms of work opportunities but also because of the multi-disciplinary approaches that enable collaborations and co-productions of any sort. Creative professionals may step out of their ‘own’ sector to work in other sectors. For example, a dancer may work in theatre and at the same time in film and tv. 

In recent years, multi-disciplinary productions and collaborations have become more important for the continued growth of the Creative and Cultural Industries. But yet, not everyone is able to find opportunities in different sectors. 

To diversify one’s career, a creative professional might use their creative skills in other sectors. 

Not 1 but Multiple Creative Skills 

Creatives are creative. That means that they don’t have one single creative skill to drive income from. Many creatives have at least 3 to 4 different creative skills that they could use to build a career. But we are mainly taught to train in one specific skill, become a master at it, and then build our careers around it. 

Well, in practice, that’s not really the case. Especially if you are a freelancer. Freelancers are hustlers so they understand the need to diversify their skills and income streams. Using not 1 but multiple creative skills will help creatives not only to create a more stable income but will also help them transition easier when they’ve outgrown a skill. 

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Online vs Offline 

The last hybrid career is one that’s enabled by the internet; working offline vs online. The online world is offering new waves of opportunities for creatives to create new income streams; digital ones. Creative professionals are the original content creators and digital content is nothing different. 

By utilizing digital subscription and membership models, creative professionals may find new ways to build their own following or community and generate income from them. The connection to our audiences is closer than ever and that connection has great opportunities hidden. 

How do you start?

There is no point in attacking all these different hybrid careers at once. When it comes to the latter 2 hybrid careers, I’d suggest first mastering what is already within your reach. Don’t use all your skills from the get-go and spread yourself too thin from the start. Focus on what you’ve mastered already but it is wise to start thinking of what else you might be able to do in the future. 

After coaching and teaching all these young artists and creatives, I knew that we needed a new platform that enables these different hybrid careers. My answer to that is Lanced; a self-managed marketplace for creative professionals. After making a profile on Lanced, creatives can find and be matched with opportunities in various sectors with various skills at the same time. 

With Lanced, we are on a mission to empower creativity. And that starts with helping creative professionals to build these hybrid career models because I believe that that is the future of creative work. 

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This article was written by Wouter Vertogen. Wouter Vertogen is the Co-Founder of Lanced and the Founder of Freelancer Talk. Wouter’s mission to empower creativity and help young creatives to build successful creative careers has led him to start both these platforms. While Freelancer Talk focuses on supporting and educating artists and creatives, lanced focuses on connecting them with work opportunities and helping them manage their businesses.

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