Hi, I’m Craig Westwood.
I’m a creative person. I’ve been an artist, painter (of pictures), photography tutor, illustrator, training instructor in printing, 3D animator, graphic designer, and website builder. As well as that, I’m also a husband, father of two, musician, guitarist and singer/songwriter, and more recently, hot-air balloon pilot. More of this later.
In the past, life as a creative has often meant working for little monetary reward, low wages, or long hours to achieve a sensible living.
Often, as a creative, you give up the expectation of material desires, because of the urge to create things, whatever that might be: a drawing, painting, or sculpture, a book, or song, or play you are writing, is more important than some of the other material things in life. You might say some of us are born to create, but I believe there’s some of that in all of us…
And here’s where ‘life’ clashes head on…
However, you still need money to buy the materials and equipment to create, to eat, to have somewhere to live, and often people give up their dream or that urge to create, because to survive it’s easier to find a conventional job. Then, the overwhelming demands of job, family commitments and just living life in the 9 to 5 eventually, over time, erodes that dream, or it gets shelved.
I was luckier in my 9 to 5 career than some, i didn’t stray too far from creativity, though many of my peers often found themselves in uncreative jobs after leaving school or college.
My first job after graduating was working with a community based project making videos, creating music using computers, and teaching darkroom photography. The most varied and enjoyable job of all, but sadly the worst paid. The contract was part-time, temporary, for one year, but I managed to stick around there for two, content often to work for just expenses in order to do the things I loved doing. I was prolific. I composed, wrote and recorded songs, painted and had exhibitions, took photographs and made videos.
I then had a short six month stint with local Museums doing preservation work with old photographs; after this I became an instructor in printing and graphics, as early PCs began to be used in the industry. I took to this wholeheartedly.
Given the chance, I might have remained as an instructor, but after six years the post was made redundant. The great thing was, I found my computer skills made me very employable, and I soon found work in a studio as a graphic designer for an IT training company. Here I worked on many interesting projects, and learned to do computer-based 2D and 3D animation, offline video editing, as well as working with conventional design and print.
After seven years there, as IT training began to wane, I moved into website design, just as the ‘dotcom’ boom was taking off.
My next job was with an online pharmacy. A new concept in the UK, my job was to develop and build the visual brand of the company, and provide supporting graphics for their website. It was exciting to be there when the company was new, and full of ideas, but as the company evolved, for me, the work became more restrained and automated, even the graphics demanded of me. I took redundancy in late 2005 with a small payout, and started my own freelance graphics business with it, and I vowed then that I would never go back to the 9 to 5.
A little freedom…
Having my own business brought some freedom, but that freedom also had its consequences. It did allow me to train and qualify as a hot air balloon pilot in 2011, something that my wife and I both have a passion for. We now go to select events and festivals around the UK and parts of Europe. But, with a small business, when I took time off, or if I fell ill, I earned nothing. There’s only so many days you can take time out before it starts to affect your ability to pay the bills. It’s no longer 9 to 5, but at times it certainly felt like it…
After a health scare in early 2016, I realised there were things in my life left unfulfilled. All the songs and music I’d composed over the years in my spare time literally sat unheard by all but a few. Those close friends and family who had heard my music had been saying: “These are good Craig… do something with them!” and I would just shrug my shoulders and say “Yeah, maybe one day…” Not really knowing what to do about it, to be honest.
Now what’s REALLY important…
There’s one thing a serious health blip is actually good for: and that’s to make you focus on what’s REALLY important in your life…
So – I’m currently working towards recording my first album of songs, with an Artist Development company who are helping me to achieve this. I also have some illustrated book projects waiting to progress when I can find the time to finish them. But there’s only so many hours in the day, and so many roads to follow…
It’s here that I discovered the SFM, as their philosophy is to leverage the internet in order to earn an income while creating the lifestyle that you want. Because the business model is product based, it doesn’t rely solely on your time to achieve results.
You still have to put some effort into this, to learn and follow the training, but once it’s set up, it goes to work for you, and you work on it, improve it, test it, run It, and build your own freedom around it. And what’s more, it will continue to run and earn, so long as you maintain it. It’s not for everyone though, and its success is always dependent upon the effort you put in (see the earnings disclaimer link below).
There’s a terrific private community of dedicated entrepreneurs, friendly individuals, just like you and me, who are there to help you succeed, who have already done this and made it work, and all you have to do is ask.
For me then, joining SFM means the freedom to do all those creative projects I shelved, because 9 to 5 got in the way.
What will that freedom bring you?
Unleash the inner you, and create the lifestyle you always dreamed about.
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