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Starting a business – it takes courage

Today, September 12th 2019, I registered my business in the Netherlands. I am officially a freelance animator and illustrator. At eighteen years old.

Why would I? Why not just get a job in retail, or as a cashier? Much easier – someone takes care of all the difficult business-stuff. You just do your job and get paid.

Honestly, it took a lot of courage to make the decision. In high school, my parents didn’t want me to work, worried that a job would get in the way of my school results. In my junior year of high school, frankly, I had no idea where I would’ve got the time to work from, either.

So, by the time I finally got the opportunity to work, I was seventeen, and no one wanted to hire me. It took a year of applying to jobs and getting rejected until I got hired – by a company that prefers to hire everyone who applies, see how they work during their probationary period and then toss them out. So, basically a paid rejection.

The manager encouraged me to pursue a career in art; she’d followed the link to my YouTube channel I included on my resume and told me she was very impressed.

How seriously should I follow her advice? My parents would definitely prefer if I got a stable job. They encourage me to follow my dreams, but also not to end up underneath a bridge somewhere, so they’re still somewhat hesitant on the whole freelance-idea.

In high school, NO ONE took me seriously whenever I talked about my plans. Most of my art teacher hated everything I made because of how different my views were from theirs – they probably just tolerated it because they noticed a certain quality in the work. But the many arguments I’ve had with them, I’ll never forget.

I’ll also never forget the three teachers that I had that were actually excited about my work and appreciated it.

Classmates always made me the butt of their jokes. “I bet his ‘YouTube channel’ has twenty subscribers,” I once heard a girl say. By then, I had three hundred. Now, I have five thousand. I’m now learning to shut out those voices, but they were hard to ignore back then.

Out of sheer luck, I managed to make a popular animation on my YouTube, because it was inspired by another famous creator and a popular book/movie series. It was a bad animation, but it got me a million views nonetheless, and made me somewhat visible in a sea of YouTube channels.

Lightning barely ever strikes twice, and I have yet to achieve the same number of views on another video. But this video, as much as I hate it, still got the ball rolling – it got me noticed by a YouTube MCN (Multi-Channel Network) connected to an animation studio in the United States. I like to think that thanks to my connection to that MCN I’ve got my foot in the door when it comes to joining a studio, but I’ve probably only received a door number and still have to knock and hope someone answers it when the time comes.

Then came another huge opportunity; Zomerondernemer 2019. I’ll discuss this rollercoaster ride of a summer in my next blog post.