Monday, September 08, 2008

Opening week.

Happy new year.
My last post was the first week of December and I’m starting off 2008 with a quick recap.
My first year as a freelancer working strictly from my home-office was a successful one.
I had a variety of companies and agencies sending me constant work however, once the Halloween decorations came down, the workflow seemed to slow down (to a mere drip) for the year.
My biggest client finally hired somebody in-house so my services weren’t really needed anymore (except on a few rush jobs) and a marketing agency that was feeding me projects finished all their print work and started concentrating on the radio portion (which didn't involve me).

This simply goes along with the territory.

This can be seen as a negative or a positive depending on how you look at it.
November came along and I had the metaphoric angel and devil on each of my shoulders. The angel pat me on the back while claiming that the benefit of working on my own is 3 months of vacation time each year (so I should relax and enjoy it), while the other yelled at me that the next paycheque is a while away and I should be working my tail off to get the ball rolling for 2008.
I listened to both of them but the devil seemed to win the majority of the time.

People didn’t really want to talk business over the holidays. Most of my phonecalls were met with a “call me in the new year”.
Interesting enough, I had 2 calls from agencies and 1 from a headhunter each wondering if I was interested in a creative director position. I met with two of them (I always go to hear what they have to offer) but the holidays quickly took priority and one of the positions involved moving to another city so that was out of the question.

On the same note, I also know of an art director’s position to work for an ad agency in Bermuda.
Now, if I was young and had no roots in this city THIS would intrigue me.
Drop me a PM if you are in Toronto and interested (and have over 5 years of agency experience) and I’ll forward you the info.

Back to ME (after all, it’s my blog).
I started doing all the nitty-gritty details involved with running a business…

Making phonecalls.
Getting my tax information organized.
Creating a new website (which should be hopefully launching this week).
Making sure all my marketing materials were up to date.
Creating a PDF portfolio of the work I did in 2007 and sending it out to potential leads.
Entering some pieces into award shows.
Writing an article (which is hopefully going to appear in the next issue of a major industry magazine).
And finally, networking.

Networking is the absolute best way to promote yourself. No matter what business or industry you are in. Full time, freelance, it doesn’t matter.
I used to buy tickets to the industry award shows just so I could walk up (with a drink in my hand) and schmooze with creative directors. I even got hired full-time at an agency once because of this. If they like your personality in a social setting then you already have one foot in the door.

I went to 3 of these events. One took place in a nightclub and to my delight, it had a poker table (my favourite hobby).
So I sat at the table and rubbed shoulders with Presidents and CEOs of companies while we played and exchanged business cards. I sometimes even lost purposely just to put a big smile on their face. I guess you could say I played the game AND played the game.
As an extrovert I find these events very enjoyable.
It's like speed dating but for business.
Now I’ll have to wait and see if any of it pays off.

6 weeks of solid legwork with no immediate results.
I really, really have a new appreciation for account people.

As I type this I have been cold calling all day, following up with all the business cards I collected. Thanks to voice mail, I think I spoke in total to 2 human beings.

That’s the only problem with having a good year. You have to follow it up with a better one.
And the ugly word "recession" is starting to get thrown around again.
I have my work cut out for me.
As they say in the business world...“feast or famine”.

If anyone knows of an agency in need of a freelancer, you could always save me some time.

Here’s to 2008.
Hope it’s a happy, healthy and prosperous one for all.

Until next time. Keep dreaming.

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