6 Reasons Why You Should Be "Going The Extra Mile"

We usually graduate from school, begin study, graduate from college and if we are happy, we get a good job, work until we grow old and then die.

So, why care about extra effort anyways?
Why care at all if you have a good salary, good credit-card status, a mortgage, a nice car?

Because eventually when you have all the shallow glitter stuff, you crave for something more.

And eventually you find out that more of the same shallow things don't make you happy anymore.

Sad story, I know. But true for almost 80% of all people living in modern civilization.

The cure for that dilemma isn't more work or more friends or more sleep at night; it is about deeper relationships and reconnecting with your true passion.

Many of us start a career by thinking it is our free will.

And later on we find out that we actually want to do something entirely different and that our initial career goals were inceptions planted by our parents.


The thing is that you can't change professions easily like underwear.

You have to do it all day besides your day-job.

But this isn't a bad thing: actually, studies have shown that what we do between 6pm and 1am determines our future.

This is especially true if you consider that you have a labor job with little income and rediscover your passion for music or the arts.

When you are in this situation, you have a first contact with "Going the extra mile" and what it probably means.

It possibly means that you decide that exercise drawing and studying books about drawing is more important than hanging out with your friends. It means that solitude becomes a more reliable friend than any friend in highschool ever was. And it means that if you want to go places you have to keep up "going the extra mile" because you can only hope that current professionals in your niche are going to be lazy and your extra mile can compensate for your lack of time so that you are on par with professionals someday.

I went exactly this route and I had to pay my art school education all by myself and earning back anything I spent on my education now by being a lecturer.

So what does it mean to go the extra mile in a professional environment?

There are many aspects in which "going the extra mile" can pay off later.
First off, I want to declare what I really mean by it:
Going the extra mile means exceeding everyones expectation, including your own, to excel in any given task.

  • Reason #1: Learn to read emails properly.
    No kidding. Assuming the most important thing is written on the top and the least important on the bottom, helps you to find out what is most important to your client. If for example, the delivery date has more priority than the quality, you know already what the client wants and can work toward this goal. If at the end you are one day ahead, you can still give it the extra treatment for quality you are more likely to excel in both; delivery and quality - which ensures that the client comes back.

  • Reason #2: Speaking up when necessaryI had discussions with clients about things they wanted me to do that were utterly ridiculous and I dared to say that I walk away and have better things to do than to associate my name with poor solutions. Now you can imagine what that client did, he came back, apologized and figured out that he obviously hired me because of my expertise and that they will follow. This of course, only works if you lead with a great example of whatever you do. If you are specialized and can show a proof for the success of your solutions, you are actually really better of leaving that client go, if they do not adhere to your professional opinion.

  • Reason #3: Keeping personal works upGoing the extra mile can also mean that you should still keeping up personal works besides freelancing and finding working commitments to do so, such as Patreon or 365 day challenges or doing postcards for every timed challenge there currently is.... These are harsh commitments but they work. And in the end this determines your professional future as well.

  • Reason #4: Presentation is everythingFor independent artists, the gallery showroom or convention booth is their real asset and as such it can bring you much more forward investing in equipment than in the actual product. Because, let's face it, a canvas painting is a canvas painting and you can't do much more than framing to make it better than it is, so why not invest in some better spots or a better name label or some more exclusive business cards? In the end it levels up the value of your brand as a person and helps people to connect you with a high quality product and not a mediocre product. Because what people take with them is a freebie or a cheap version of what they crave, not the original.

  • Reason #5: Pushing your product
    As a digital artist, you can either put your digital output to a million online stores to sell as mugs, shirts or wall posters and swim with million other artists who thinks they can stick out. Or you can build your own brand and business. In terms of prints, my premium product is the canvas print which is signed on front and back, hand-mounted and unique with a wax-seal. A customized perfect version of what I envisioned that comes in a bubble foil if you purchase it on the spot - let's say a convention.
    Of course it takes time to print them manually and mount them and deal with the huge 44" printer and the whole process. These are commitments like any producer and seller has. And yes, I am a part time seller for my own work. And sometimes it feels like a musician who goes in the studio for four weeks and then he goes on tour for 6 months. This cycle repeats 10, 15 or 20 times. And which musician do you think will stick around after 20 years? That one that uploads all his songs to itunes and spotify or those who go out and play live and sell their merchandise on concerts? From experience, I'd always say the latter. Because, if you loved the concert, you are more likely to take something with you. This is called momentum. Wherever momentum happens, people tend to spend more money irrationally. And as a matter of fact, that happens to work less in the online world, for obvious reasons. 

  • Reason #6: Push your value
    Another important aspect is value. As soon as you get paid for doing what you love, that was your hobby before, you get a sense for value. But don't ever believe you could change a $500 client into a $5000 client, because that never happens, and here is why. I actually was there and learned that the hard way and when going the extra miles, it all comes together: Since I earn more money through selling my own work as independent artist, I have a much better time to send prospective clients away and maintain my value. Thinking more about that matter, the saying:" If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got" from Henry Ford becomes more depth.

This is what going the extra mile means for me and even if it sounds like the guy that collect all bonus items in super Mario, he or she is probably the one with the most fun and the best score.

To finalize this article, let's close this with some suggestions that should keep you thinking and pushing. Some initial things you can do right now is to ask yourself the following questions from time to time:

  • Can you shift the focus if you attach the value to you as a person and not to your work?
    If your current clients are $150, tell yourself (and believe) they were $1500 paying. Does this work? How long did it take? What were the results? How did you feel by shifting your internal values?
  • What can you do to push your products, not the websites your work is seen?
    What if you create your own shop via storenvy, shopify, bigcartel or etsy and ship yourself? How can you advertise your work on social media? How does it feel to send every buyer a personal thank you message with every purchase?
  • How does it feel working on your personal work again?
    If you can create further on your own IP, how does this satisfy compared to your paying job? What can you do to invite people to give you more honest feedback on your projects? Can you find more creative likeminded people to collaborate on your project, for example via Artella?

I hope you found this article motivating and helpful. Feel free to share it on your network or re-blog it where possible with the attribution and link back to my website.

Let me know your experiences in a comment as well if you like.

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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook


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