These Resources Really Help: 2022 Round-Up For Freelance and Creative Professionals
Don't stay stuck. I have compiled my personal recommendations for books, content, and apps that have helped me on my creative journey since 2020 when the goin' got tough from the get-go.
If you happen to make a purchase from one of the links below, I may earn a small percentage of the sale. Thank you for helping me fund my many digital projects!
About Me: My name is Luca. I have been designing digitally since the days of dial-up. I am currently documenting the last year of my 30s. I moved back to my home state of Florida to be closer to my grandparents after serving the arts and cultural community in Jersey City for over 13 years. This is just one of my websites.
Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication
Author: Vanessa Van Edwards
Year: 2022 Jist: The tiny signals we send to others 24/7 with our body language, facial expressions, word choices, and vocal inflection have a massive impact on how we, and our ideas, come across both online and off. Vanessa Van Edwards creates approachable solutions with exact ways how to convey power, trust, leadership, likability, and charisma in every interaction.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
Author: Ryan Holiday
Year: 2014 Jist: "If you’re feeling frustrated, demoralized, or stuck in a rut, this book can help you turn your problems into your biggest advantages. And along the way it will inspire you with dozens of true stories of the greats from every age and era."
Fearless Creating: A Step-by-Step Guide To Starting and Completing Your Work of Art
Author: Eric Maisel
Year: 1995 Jist: The book discusses each stage of creation: Creation-wishing, choosing, starting, working, completing, and selling while exploring how to navigate the anxieties attached to each phase. The author guides the reader through exercises that explore how these inhibiting tensions can be turned into artistic advantages. Creatives will learn how truth and beauty arrive in the work of art precisely because, and only when, anxiety has been understood, embraced, and resolved.
Codependency No More: How to Cure Codependency, Start to Love Yourself and Fight for No More Codependent Relationship Ever
Author: Elisabeth Cloud
Year: 2019 Jist: Hands down the scariest book I have ever read. The accuracy with which the author captured my childhood, past relationships, and worst professional experiences were startling but the actionable ways to identify patterns and forge new paths were therapeutic. I consumed this book with horrified fascination and am likely going to go back in for a third read (book club, anyone?). A licensed mental health professional recommended this to me, and I have since gifted it to my closest friends. You may find it helpful to grab the audiobook and work it into your routine as I did.
Professional Development Opportunities
I found it helpful and actionable to sharpen up my skill set after experiencing a rough shake. I recommend the following:
New York Foundation For The Arts NYFA’s Professional Development programming provides "artists, creators, students, and arts administrators with tools, strategies, and advice for building sustainable careers. We collaborate with organizations, academic institutions, and cultural partners to bring our programs to a broad range of national and international creative communities".
Luca Says: I attended the “Making the Best of Your Work Life” e-course in February/March of 2022. It was encouraging to learn from other professionals in the arts and cultural programming space that have overcome issues I have encountered in my own creative career. This particular program offered actionable ideas on conflict resolution, self-preservation and restoration techniques, and boundary-setting tips. If you are feeling discouraged as a creative leader navigating uncertain times, I would recommend exploring NYFA's available programs. - Luca Cusolito, Creative Enabler and GOOD THINGS LOUDER
Has a project gone off the rails lately?
I found the Google Project Management Certificate to be a fantastic refresher after experiencing a series of projects that were less than gratifying. Who was the common denominator in all of these situations? Me! So back to the proverbial drawing board I went. This Project Management program is great even if you are a seasoned professional. Coursera offers this program for free and there is a community component if you wish to connect with other students. It is 100% online remote, and no previous experience is required to learn how to set achievable goals with your projects, create accountability, and build systems to keep the project and your team moving forward. I can't vouch as to if this certificate will increase your bottom line, but I found it gave me more confidence in planning future projects that required collaboration with the additional resources and strategies that I gleaned from my time in this certificate program.
These Professionals Make Sense To Me
Ali is a former doctor that has since documented his experience of becoming an entrepreneur, monetizing various things online, increasing productivity, and even how to fall in love using evidenced-base strategies and techniques.
The Money Guy Show
This multi-generational approach to personal finances is designed for folks at ALL stages of their savings game and investment planning. I started listening to this while I worked somewhere around 2021. I like how they present timely financial planning information in an approachable way.
Olivia Vizachero: The Less Stressed Lawyer
I was absolutely thrilled with this free workshop that I stumbled across. Olivia imparts that good, healthy stuff that overly-giving folks need to hear when they are sharing creative energy with others:
Dan O'Connor: Communication Skills Training
I discovered Dan O'Connor through the majesty of YouTube. The channel provides immediately actionable ideas that you can use with nasty clients, unreasonable employers, and pushy family members. Lessons are designed to help you communicate in a more powerful, authentic, and compassionate way to get results while creating lasting change in your workplace and in the world.
RescueTime Don't think that you work as much as you do?
Do you know from the bottom of your heart that you are not billing your clients enough but don't know how to quantify your time so that you can price correctly? Welcome to the illuminating world of RescueTime, an app you can pop right into your browser and download on mobile. Watch your minutes, hours, days, weeks, and YEARS unfold in visual graphs. No, but seriously, you will have a new respect for your time and efforts when you see it splayed out visually.
How I Am Using This Information
I am currently focused on pivoting my creative business of 10+ years, building brands to sell, and launching a creative collaboration community in 2023. I am also documenting the last year of my 30s and hitting my fun work hard. Making small, mindful choices daily on what I consume and how I create has helped me get out of more than one slump since I started my freelance/remote work journey over 15 years ago. Resilience is everything these days, and those that choose to forge independent paths must be sure to fortify with good content that promotes great growth.
Money is not the only KPI. Take care of yourself out there.
I hope that even just one of these recommendations will resonate and point you on a path toward a more creatively fulfilling and personally empowering experience on your professional path. If you would like to watch my adventures, do consider following me on my quasi-personal Instagram @lucacusolito or any of my bright, shiny, artsy channels for Lucalito.