5 ways to kick-start your creative career

Podcast guru and social media expert Alex Manzi shares his top tips.

Alex Manzi is the host of the Dreamer’s Disease podcast, a budding lifestyle entrepreneur, and a social media expert who helps to run 1Xtra’s accounts. He’ll be chairing NME’s How To Effect Positive Change panel at our #Lifehacks event on November 23. Ahead of the big day, we gave him a call to find out his top tips for building a creative career.

1. Don’t be afraid to be different.

“Don’t think you have to act or dress the same as everyone else. It’s better to be authentic to yourself than trying to strive for some unachievable idea of perfection.”

2. Acquire new skills – but don’t lose focus.

“It’s good to build your skill set so you’re good at a lot of things, but you need to be very good at one thing, because that’s the thing that will help you stand out.”

3. It’s not all about the money.

“Don’t think ‘I wanna be a TV presenter because TV presenters are famous and make loads of money’. Because for the first few years working in TV, you’re probably going to be working as a runner and not amazing earning money. But if you’re really passionate about it, you’ll really enjoy being in that environment every day regardless of whether you’re doing the photocopying or making endless cups of tea.”

4. Find mentors you can learn from.

“I’ve got a few mentors in my life that I turn to when I can. They really help me along the way. They’ll pick holes in things I do, they’ll give me advice, they’ll shut me down on some things and question every last detail of what I’m trying to do. They help me get a clear vision in my head of what it is that I’m trying to achieve.”

5. Fear is the enemy

“Don’t be scared to chase whatever it is what you want to do. Find your passion – the thing you’re really excited about – and go ahead and take that first step.”

Next month, Alex will be chairing a NME #Lifehacks panel of leading activists and campaigners discussing How To Effect Positive Change.

The panel forms part of a full afternoon of talks and activities designed to help you kick-start your career in the creative industries. NME has teamed up with University of Salford and youth initiative Create Jobs to lay on the #Lifehacks event at London’s Electrowerkz on November 23.

Speaking on the How To Effect Positive Change panel will be Josie Naughton from aid organisation Help Refugees and Paula Akpan, co-founder of the I’m Tired Project, which aims to highlight the lasting impact of everyday micro-aggressions, assumptions and stereotypes. Further panellists and a full programme of talks and activities will be announced at a later date.

One the day, you’ll also be able to connect with the NME team and our partners at the dedicated Hack-Space. Plus, there will be free food and drink, and the event will culminate in an exclusive secret evening gig. At last year’s #Lifehacks launch event, Tinie Tempah wowed the crowds.

You can buy tickets to our first #LifeHacks event (including exclusive secret gig) with University of Salford here.