A purse full of principles and purpose
My first three months of working independently with clients has been a great experience and i'm really enjoying the transition of agency life and self sufficiency. I've learnt a lot in just three months of this early journey. I'm no new-be at this, I have over the years dabbled with the freedom of freelance and laying my creative hat at many creative desks, appointed to match the dots and fill the gaps.. but this time it's a more committed transition of building relationships with my own clients to be able to offer my creativity with a consortium of experts and be integral to the whole journey not just the 'dressing of the shop window' which is what has lead me to this path in my career.
What I have found really interesting, is the approach to the individual creative. It seems like it's deemed a right to immediately ask for a discount, a reduced rate card, 'This will be a great portfolio piece for you' and 'This is great exposure' as a carrot to fulfil on the creative. Of course this goes on in bigger agencies too but for the small individual there is a limited financial cushion for such an offering of compromise before a relationship has even had time to mature.
What I have learnt in abundance is fulfilling on the creative is the easy part. Project management (making sure the client sticks to the proposed project timeline) and getting paid are the two most time robbing phases of any project scope (even when you have agreed to half the fee).
The main things I have learnt is: Don't feel it's your duty to compromise because you are small. Know your principles and lead with them. Being small may well mean you don't have a printed set of guidelines with your ethos, values and behaviours but don't lose sight of what it is that drove you to become a smaller version of what you believe best practice should look like.
In just three months I've worked with great new clients; NHS Dorset CCG (Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group), The Eve Appeal and London Cycling Campaign. I've collaborated with Meadows Communications to deliver a health engagement publication for Public Health England (launching end of Sept 2015) along with delivering Alzheimer's Society Annual Report and Accounts (also launching end of September) so it's been a busy but exciting start. Look out for these in the next coming weeks.