BREAKING INTO THE creative INDUSTRY: THE ESSENTIALS

Creative Industry Insights by Israel Sebenzo

In the different aspects of life, we are often gripped by a fear, a fear of failure, when we are about to take a leap into the unknown. Overcoming this fear is usually that crucial step towards the realisation of whatever we will be pursuing. In the creative sector likewise, disregarding this fear and actually taking that first step is exactly what is needed if you are looking at breaking into the industry.

Artwork by Lomedy Mhako

Breaking into the creative industry is a process, however not a standard one as there are many ways one can go about it. Drawing from my personal experiences, these are some of the tips that worked for me and some of my allies in the industry:

  1. MASTER YOUR CRAFT

All the successful creatives we look up to today have spent a great deal of time investing in their craft. Perfecting your work before presenting it to the next person is imperative. If possible, hire a talent coach, study and learn from those that came before you, experiment, get professional feedback and practice, practice, practice!

Trust me; you won’t go wrong with investing in your craft!

  1. MINDSET

Approaching the industry with the correct mindset is crucial. You need to believe in yourself first before anyone else can believe in you. Stay motivated always despite all the turbulence you may encounter along the way. No doubt, it’s a rough industry but what’s worse is not pursuing your passion and giving up your dreams because of fear. Optimism is a survival tool you will definitely need. If you start with undying optimism, you will be more resistant against the neglect you may feel when first starting out.

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay
  1. UNDERSTAND WHAT MATTERS

The creative industry deals and is heavily dependent on intellectual property. With such importance, having a fair knowledge of copyright laws that apply to your region is imperative to avoid cases of your career crashing before it even takes off. Respect other people’s work and the laws are here to make sure your work is protected too.

  1. MARKET YOURSELF

As a creative, you need to be actively involved in the marketing and promotion of your content. Technology has done away with some gatekeepers and made it easier for us to put out our material out there. Despite the downside of technology, a topic for another day, a number of mediums are available at our finger tips and it’s up to us how we use them for our benefit. In promoting yourself, it is extremely important to build networks with fellow creatives, your value lies in your network.

  1. BE WARY WHO YOU TAKE ADVICE FROM

As people, we tend to seek advice from those who have been remarkably successful, a perfectly natural human tendency. What we overlook in this process is that the best advice always comes from those who have failed and are painfully aware of their mistakes. Family and friends are great but they are often too biased to give proper guidance and advice. Professionals on the other hand are your best bet. They give more constructive guidance and can help you set more realistic goals and expectations. 

Remember, these tips are not limited; there is a whole lot more you can do to carve your name in the industry and what worked for me may not necessarily work for you. After all, this is creativity, there is no set out formula or a one size fits all answer!

This article is part of a series on Creative Industry Insights by Israel Sebenzo that we will feature:

Israel Sebenzo


Singer, Songwriter and Artist & Repertoire (A&R) Executive.

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