Freelancing Stories: 'How Instagram Started My Business' with Lucia De Marco

7 November 2017

When I invited talented italian illustrator Lucia De Marco to join me in this month's episode of Freelancing Stories, I wasn't expecting her to talk about 'how Instagram started my business'. I was curious to hear about her experience with the publishing world of children books, actually. But once we started talking, she revealed that her incredibly beautiful and successful Instagram profile was what actually pushed her to start a business of her own. And this was something I was definitely not expecting to hear!

This interview is about all that, about how sometimes phases mix up and instead of growing a profile to support your business you're finding yourself inspired to go freelance thanks to social media success. But also about publishers and letting dreams come and go, and so much more...

Freelancing Stories: 'How Instagram Started My Business' with illustrator Lucia De Marco
What do you do?

I’m an all-round illustrator, the soul behind Lucia De Marco Illustration, working with both private clients and businesses in the editorial world.

How did it all begin? When did you decide to go for it?

My passion for drawing has always been there. I can remember so neatly me as a child playing with coloured pencils and paper for hours. I’ve always loved art in general, and actually art is what I’m currently studying and aiming to get a degree in.

I started to illustrate when discovering the charm of illustrated children books. It was love at first sight! I haven’t chosen to do of my illustrations a business, not initially. My initial dream was to work thanks for my art degree. But then I started an Instagram profile, and it was thanks to the unexpected success I had on there that I finally decided to make a living out of my illustrations. I can definitely say that Instagram started my business!

What was your biggest goal or dream when you started?

The intial goal was to illustrated for children books. But dipping my toes into that world, I immediately felt like it was too rigid and severe for young emergent illustrators. Big publishers were unreachable. You had to compare to big talented world-wide illustrators, there was no game for a smaller illustrator who was just starting. Smaller local publishers then, if not for a few exceptions, never offered fair contracts.

I knew I had to move on and leave my dream behind, dedicating myself to another kind of illustrations and understanding my work in the publishing world would only have a marginal role in my business.

How was it, when you took the risk? Anything you didn’t expect?

It was all completely unexpected. I started an Instagram profile for simple leisure and now I’m finding myself with a following of over 14k souls on my hands. It made me realize of the importance of what I was doing and building. I understood that Instagram started my business at that point, and I needed to treat my profile as a professional space where to grow it. I studied Instagram and its algorithm, I chose a target audience to speak to and built a small business out of it all. A business that finally completely reflected my own identity as an illustrator.

Did/do you have to face adversity?

The biggest difficulties at the moment are about conciliating work and studying. My necessity of completing my studies is so deeply linked to the uncertainity of freelance work, especially since it’s based on social media. And we all know how fast things come and go in the internet world! A degree right now looks like the only firm ground to aim to.

What’s your biggest goal for your freelance career at the moment?

My dream is, once completed my studies, to live out of my illustrations and work as a freelancer full-time. I dream of opening my own studio where to have a creative space to fill with books, journals, flowers and colours. Of creating my own world.

Tell us your secret! Your best tip about freelancing?

My only advice is to create a strong identity, a personal style that fully reflects you individually. Start by studying and getting inspired by others, trying to understand what you like and who you want to be, what you deeply urge to communicate. There’s no magic formula to success, or better, to happiness. You need to find your own. Because that’s what actually matters: what you are and what makes you truly happy.

Want to be featured in the next episode of Freelancing Stories? I'd love to hear from you! If you run a freelance business (of any kind) and would like to share your inspiring story, please feel free to get in touch!

Giada Correale brand e web designer donna per business al femminile
Bonjour, hello!

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In this article:
Giada Correale brand e web designer donna per business al femminile
Bonjour, hello!

I'm Giada Correale, brand and web designer of Miel Cafè Design graphic studio. I design intentional and editorial brand identities and web designs for heartfelt women-owned businesses. 

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A creative atelier curating brand and web designs for women-owned businesses.
I design and curate intentional brand designs and websites to cultivate your idea and bring your value out there.