Creating Opportunity During the Pandemic and Changing the Way I Think About Day Jobs 

sunset photo
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

That’s quite the title, isn’t it? But bear with me – I’ve learned a lot during this pandemic. Before the pandemic started, I was looking for a job. It was during the crisis, however, that I finally found one. Or should I say created one?

Last March, I started offering custom portraits on Instagram. To my surprise, it was a success! At first, I did it to keep myself busy during Corona time and to make some extra cash. But then it became a lifestyle. For some people, the pandemic meant loss or disadvantage; for others, like me, it represented opportunity. I consider myself very lucky that by the time I started offering custom portraits, I had landed several art commissions.

Not only did I find a job, but I also found a niche. If you’ve been following my creative journey, you have probably seen my art style evolve. I’ve come to realize that I love painting people. It helps me connect with my fellow humans and look at their souls in a way I feel I would otherwise be unable to. These are some of the beautiful people I’ve painted in the past six months:

family portrait commissions

Thankfully, I have so much work on my plate right now, that I don’t even have time to look for/have a regular 9-5 job. It would be silly if I stopped doing what I love, to go chase a paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of having a steady monthly income is attractive, but I don’t want to spend my days doing something I’m not completely sold on. I did that a lot in the past. I had different 9-5’s that paid little, and I told myself I would work on my passion projects in the evenings or weekends. But I was always too tired at the end of the day.

Now, my work as an illustrator is my day job. I know my income will fluctuate, and that client work will come and go, but I’m ready to embrace the freelance life 100%. I also know that the journey to becoming an established illustrator is not going to be easy, but I’m committed to it.

I don’t only see my illustration work as a way to pay my bills, I see it as my dream job. I never thought I would spend my days making art. At this point in my life, I feel like I have lived many lifetimes. I was an English teacher for a while, and that was such a beautiful time in my life. Then, when I moved abroad and I couldn’t find work as a teacher, I became a cleaning lady, which helped me be more resilient. I have also been a dishwasher, babysitter, dog walker, shop owner, and more. And now, in my 30s, I’m starting a career as an artist and illustrator, and I couldn’t be happier.

artist and illustrator business card
My new business cards!

I have said this in the past, but I will say it again: Life allows us to be more than one thing. You can be whatever/whoever you want to be right here, right now. We are so lucky to live in an era where information is at our fingertips. You can take online classes by world-class teachers from the comfort of your home!

To me, the best part of being an artist is being in a state of flow. It brings me so much happiness and I dare to say that it has also helped me heal. In the past, I experienced chronic pain and anxiety when I had to go to a job that drained me. Since I started drawing/painting full time, I barely feel pain. Maybe it’s because being in the creative flow relaxes me. I switched from being in survival mode (going to work to pay bills) to thriving mode. Now, I’m doing something I’m great at and that I love, and I have that natural cash flow that only comes when you dedicate 100% of your time and heart to your craft.

What I’m trying to say is that you can earn money doing something you love, if you only dare to ask! Some people believe that just because you do something you love, you earn less. The way I changed my perspective about day jobs is this: The more I do something I love, the more abundant I become. I could be cleaning ten houses, or I could be making 10 portraits and earning the same or double the amount of money.

The more I do something I love, the more abundant I become. Click To Tweet

Of course, if you need to feed an entire family, pay rent, and settle debts, maybe my story won’t resonate with you. Maybe you don’t have time to sit and figure it out. Maybe you need money right now and have to work a temporary job and that’s okay. Having a day job (that you don’t love that much) doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your dreams. On the contrary, the universe will have your back because you’re looking after yourself and putting yourself out there to bring food to the table. If you’d like to read more on this, check out this blog post.

I recognize my privilege in that I have a partner who supports me financially. I don’t have debts, major expenses, or kids. But even if I were in a different situation, I would still pursue a day job that satisfies me.

I hope this post encourages you to take a leap of faith and go down a new path if you’re feeling called to do so. I’ll be rooting for you and sending you good vibes from my art corner. And if you, like me, saw the light of a new career or opportunity during this crazy time, share your experience in the comments.

Lastly, If you would like to have a custom pet/family portrait for you or someone you love, you can order it through my commissions’ page. ⁣☺️  They make great gifts!

 

 

live your dream life in 2020

Author: Jessica Araus

My name is Jessica. I’m a writer and illustrator living in the Netherlands. I write stories based on my life experiences and I also create colorful illustrations that entertain and inspire many. It’s my hope that this blog serves you as a simple reminder of the power you have to choose, create, and live a life that you love.

8 Replies to “Creating Opportunity During the Pandemic and Changing the Way I Think About Day Jobs 

  1. I love your story and have really enjoyed your journey as an artist over the last several months. I’ve also found the pandemic to be a time of opportunity and growth – it allowed me to take a step back from my coaching and writing, which wasn’t very focused, and take the time to really think through who I wanted to help, and how I could best do that. Interestingly, I’m re-inventing myself as a career coach, because I love to help people discover the work that will light them up and strategize a path to get them there. Like you’ve done 🙂 I’ll be getting back to writing soon too! Thank you for sharing your story 🙂

    1. Thank you Susan for following my artistic journey over the past months. I’m happy to hear you too found opportunity during this pandemic and that you got clear on the path you want to follow. A career coach is of highly help, especially these days when there’s so much noise, it can be hard to figure out what one really wants. I’m sure you’ll be able to help a lot of people. Looking forward to reading your work soon and thanks for reading! 🙂

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