Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who wants a job?

In my last blog post, I announced that it is time to Abandon Ship.

This did not mean that we should flee the industry, it meant that we need to abandon what we have done in the past and move forward in a new direction.

The design/ad freelance world as we knew it has changed. It is no longer about designing a logo and a fancy business card or producing an ad for your client. It is about offering them the best solution for their business, whatever it may be. A direct mail piece combined with social media or an outdoor billboard with a mobile promotional code, the freelance creative moving forward, needs to think and produce on a much larger scale. The way companies attract clients in the technological world of today has quickly changed.

With this in mind, I am no longer labeling myself as just a creative “freelancer”. I am a creative “brand builder”. In today’s world, if you want to work small and on your own, you need to get over the idea that you alone can offer your client everything they need to grow their business, and you sometimes need to outsource.

Growing up, I watched the older generation (in my life) do multi-million dollar deals on the golf course. They were strictly middle-men. They brought this guy together with that guy and got a piece of the action. I believe that in order to continue working as a freelance creative, we have to follow this route.

If my client needs SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I know somebody who I can bring on board to provide this service. If they need a TV or Radio commercial, I have people in place for that too. And I’m going to make sure that every one of these contacts will give me a piece of the pie for making the connection and bringing them the business.

Going forward, I will continue to do what I love best. Designing logos and creating ads, but I offer my clients more than that. This is what separates me from many “professional” creatives out there. When I am hired, I offer my clients consultation on what they should do (moving forward) to grow their brand. They hire me for my knowledge of the industry and the solutions that are available to them.

Using the same principle I have just described, I have a job offer for anybody that is interested.

Do whatever you like to do every day. Look for a job, paint your house, or spend more time with your kids. I’m offering each and every one out there a chance to make some money. And the best part, you don’t have to do much.

Bring me a client that wants to creatively brand their business and I will give you 15% of whatever profit I bring in. They need a logo? 15%. They need a magazine print ad? 15%. The bigger the project, the more money you will make.

Now here’s the best part…you make the connection, go off and do whatever you want (or even better, go find the next client), and if that client continues to use my creative services, I will continue paying you 15% of all future profit. Find me 3 large clients that are tired of paying over-inflated agency fees, and you may not even have to work this year. I have a rolodex full of freelance professionals in different areas of the industry that can be brought in (as needed) and the sky is the limit as to what we can offer.

I am offering you the position of a commission-based “virtual account executive”.

And everybody and their grandmother can do this job.

Go to a cocktail party and find out that the person you just met needs a new identity for their start-up company?


Go on vacation and find out that the resort changed owners and is looking to advertise?


My strategy is this. Why be a creative person who’s always busy looking for the next project when I can focus on working creatively and have thousands of people out there looking for my next project?

While you are out there looking, I’ll be doing the same. Sending clients that I can’t service on my own to others with which I have partnerships.

Everybody in the circle moving together as one large machine.

This is the future of freelancing.

Brand building.

Who’s on board?


Robert Sokol said...

We're on the jogging on the same track, Ronnie. I've been delivering referrals to printers, photographers, tchotcke manufacturers and more for years now and, for the most part, I have not been feeling the love.

I'll confess I am not fond of approaching every potential business connection with the "What's in it for me?" mentality, but the times are changing. They're getting harder and harder.

What you're describing is a spicier flavor of more traditional networking models. I belong to something called BNI, where the routine is the lawyer in the group refers his contacts to me for design work and I return the favor with contacts who need legal counsel. No overt commissions involved.

Last year I also tried fielding a collective of creative services people - designers, videographers, event planners, etc. - who offered complementary services. After nine months we pronounced it still-born because we all either overlapped or came to the table with some (if not all) of each member's tertiary services in place already. So the referrals never happened.

Real estate agents have operated this way for years. You give me a name that leads to a sold house and I give you a referral fee (though I think you had to be another real estate agent to get it).

I'm ready to play, though I'm mentally positioning it as "major league" rather than "hardball." My other dilemma is balancing the time between networking to get business and doing the actual business.

Following you on Twitter. You can find me here:

Michael said...

I am with you, Ronnie. I enjoyed that article you wrote years ago about rubber cement. I am on-board with steering clients your way. If clients need fine art commissioned, I am offering my services.

It is time we change our attitude toward this paradigm shift.

Michael said...

I am with you, Ronnie. I enjoyed that article you wrote years ago about rubber cement. I am on-board with steering clients your way. If clients need fine art commissioned, I am offering my services.

It is time we change our attitude toward this paradigm shift.