It’s 4:00pm on a Friday.
My call-display indicates that the incoming call is from an ad agency I’ve been really pushing to work with. I strap on my phone’s headset and hit the talk button. I’m happy as hell they are calling and I think I can guess why.
Their question is immediate.
“Hi, we were wondering if you are available over the weekend for a quick turnaround project?”
Of course, as a freelancer, I am available for every project. As the saying goes, “make hay when the sun shines”.
The agency sells me on how “quick and simple” the weekend project is. Once I agree and start finding out the details, I realize that I just sold my entire weekend and any plans I had are now changed or most likely cancelled.
This is typically not a problem. Weekdays, weekends, it’s all the same to me. Unless I have some solid plans, I’ll simply take Monday and Tuesday (once the work is done) to do whatever I was planning to do over the weekend. My days of the week are generally blurred.
What I least enjoy about this side of the business is the fact that I work hard but once the project is turned over to the agency, I no longer have anything to do with it.
I equate this to delivering a beautiful baby and then handing it over to some other parents that will nurture it and watch it grow.
Unless I am getting paid to take the project all the way to final production, the agency will usually see my ideas through to completion and in the end, the work will get promoted as theirs. It’s like I was never there.
After this week, I will have completed several projects for 3 different ad agencies this year (2 as an art director and one as a copywriter) and besides the paychecks (and possibly a future mention on my website’s client list), I will have absolutely nothing in my hands to show for it.
Last week I was contacted by a CD who asked why I haven’t put some new work on my website. I had some explaining to do.
As a freelancer, I sometimes feel like I have a secret identity. Besides my viewable work, I also have the secret portfolio. The one that stays hidden unless its appearance is requested.
So, I continue skipping along the freelance path.
I’ll jump back out there with both feet tomorrow looking for a project that I can hopefully add to my website. And of course, this ghost will eagerly await the next Friday phone call.