Reinvent Your What, How or Who?

BARGAIN BASEMENT John Morefield is one of thousands of unemployed designers who are reinventing themselves. Last year, he put up a booth at a farmers’ market in Seattle, advertising his skills for a nickel, and ended up earning more than $50,000 in commissions. Recession And recovery

In today’s economic environment many creative freelancers are struggling as the once solid ground they stood on is quickly giving way to the shifting sands of economic change.

Once predictable markets are shrinking, if not disappearing altogether. Things are changing far faster today than ever before. However, there are also many new opportunities surfacing that weren’t available before. While there is much more competition today, there are also many more distribution channels, markets and opportunities that have opened up for your art services or products. Yet many creatives continue to plod along approaching markets and their business the exact same way they have in years past, using old models.

Take off the blinders.

In light of the massive changes happening in our market place, it’s a critical time to reevaluate the reasons for doing what you do, how you do it and possibly most important who you are doing it for.

I challenge you today to break beyond the comfortable models of the past and look at yourself not just as a freelancer or independent contractor, but a creative entrepreneur. Learn to see all the possibilities for your skills, knowledge, experience and passion available to you in this new economy.

So how can you do that?

1- Re-invention: The best tried and true method is to look beyond your own industry and discover how other companies are succeeding. Many times the further you look from your own industry the better. And figure out how you can apply those systems and models into your own business with the appropriate modifications.

2- Challenge industry norms: Stop following what everyone else in your industry is doing. Challenge the things that aren’t working for you. Everything from not being able to sign your work, waiting 30 to 90 days for payment for services rendered to work for hire contracts. Think about who established those rules, why are they in place and do they truly even exist? Learn to challenge your industry norms. Many established industry MO’s are being redefined as we speak.

3- Define your value: As a business, where is the true value in what you deliver? At the end of the day, what do you really DO for your clients? What are the results and benefits, the experience from working with you? What do they walk away with?

Your value in the market place is in direct correlation to the value/ or perceived value you deliver to your clients through your art. It is up to you to define it and make sure they know what that is.

How can you stand apart and create the most value for your time, knowledge and effort?

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