[Welcome to Beyond The Workweek, an ongoing blog series in which I interview young people doing creative work outside of traditional 9-5. Jordan Clark is an artist that makes her wage through YouTube. She draws out calendars and journal entries, vlogs, and runs an online shop where she sells her art. I managed to borrow some of her time for an interview to ask her what its like to be a professional internet creative.]
CM: Hello hello! How has your Sunday been?
JC: It’s been a bit slow, but I’m enjoying it! Just catching up on things I’ve neglected over the week (like emails as you may have noticed, haha).
CM: Haha e-mails are stressful indeed. I know the struggle. What kind of stuff do you typically find yourself busy with?
JC: It depends on the day, but the main things I work on during the week are my Youtube channel and Etsy shop. And then I also try to keep up with my Instagram and Patreon accounts as well! I feel like I have a million projects going at once so each day changes from the next!
CM: Nice! How would you describe exactly what you do?
JC: I have such a hard time telling people what I do when they ask. I usually just say that I create Youtube videos and run an online shop, since those are my biggest priorities at the moment!
CM: How did this all start?
JC: If you want to go way back, I first started making content on the internet with a blog that I created back in high school. I made a few Youtube videos here and there but didn’t take it that seriously until last year. I had just finished college and was unemployed, living with my parents, with no idea what I wanted to do. I obviously had a ton of free time so I just started making Youtube videos every week, and also decided to open an Etsy shop to sell my art! It was a slow start, but after a few months it took off and I suddenly realized it had turned into my job – I was able to support myself just making videos and selling art on Etsy!
CM: That’s honestly incredible! What do your fans seem to like the most about the stuff you make?
JC: Thanks! It’s still crazy to me that it has all worked out this way! Most of my Youtube videos are art tutorials, and I feel like people have responded really well to them because I try to promote the idea that anyone can be creative. I’m trying to make art more accessible, and inspire people to try things even if they don’t think they have artistic ability. Another theme throughout my videos is the idea that spending more time creating and less time consuming will make you just generally a happier person. So I think people appreciate when my videos inspire them to go do something, instead of staying on Youtube!
CM: Hahah nice! It’s nice that people can use your stuff as kind of a creative springboard. What’s it like having this as, well, your job? Is this your primary source of income?
JC: Yes, I would say Youtube is my primary source of income! But my Etsy shop has been growing a lot lately, so that helps pay the bills too! I absolutely love that I’m able to do this as a job. Throughout school I never knew what I wanted to after graduation and always hated the idea of getting a “real” job – so being where I’m at now constantly amazes me that I somehow created this job for myself!
CM: Yeah that’s amazing! A lot of what I write about is focused on how people like you have managed to get away from having a “real job”. What do you think is the best way for someone to start doing the kind of thing that you do?
JC: Yes, I’ve loved reading your other interviews with people talking about their creative pursuits, it’s so inspiring! My best advice for someone who dreams of working for themselves (whether that’s Youtube, Etsy, or anything else), is first to create whatever it is you want to see in the world that you aren’t seeing right now. And then to just start where you, with whatever you can do in this moment. Even the smallest step towards your goals puts the energy out into the universe that you are ready and willing to work towards your dreams. Things tend to work out when you set the intention that they will, so then you just have to let everything unfold as it is supposed to!
CM: That’s good advice! Last question (and thanks again for spending an hour with me to get through these). What would you say is your biggest challenge in running this business?
JC: My biggest challenge is definitely figuring out how to balance work and rest. I feel like a lot of people who work for themselves feel this way – that it’s hard to schedule downtime for yourself. I always feel like there’s something else I could be doing, so I’m slowly working towards finding that balance!
CM: Ah yeah, Cheyenne struggles with that as well. The internet is a hungry beast AND it’s hard being your own boss.