my brain is just starting to wind down and parse the creative freelancer conference i attended last week, august 26-28, 2009 [produced by HOW magazine & marketing mentor]. in a nutshell, it was an incredibly motivating, inspiring, and highly connective conference that got all us indie professionals in an awesome hotel setting and let us loose on a varied intensive of marketing, business and management education.
i was particularly curious about the opening night presentation by petrula vrontikis, what will your freelance business be when it grows up? this session addressed growing your business in a sustainable way so that it is always balanced and relevant to your markets, clients, and the ways you work over the course of your career. vrontikis outlined many of the common motives, pros & cons of working on your own, and main points to revisit over the course of your career to stay on track. below is a list of some of the key takeaways i liked:
– keep your skills fresh & ahead of the curve; add relevant skills as the market demands.
– happiness is sustainable: some will be happier hiring employees while others will prefer working solo.
– diversify your work across a few industries and clients for variety and security.
– be voraciously involved in your target markets so you can stay ahead & change with them.
– balance your billable work with good management, relationship & professional practices.
– it’s easy to let life changes compromise your career—stay involved and commit to your practice.
– never become complacent about personal creative growth—it’s a necessity, not a luxury.
– work directly with the visionary of any project, for the sake of the quality of your work.
– be honest with clients when they have not allocated enough time or money to a proposed project. the quality of your work depends on having proportionate time and money to the task at hand.
my favorite piece of advice was “you should be working differently at 40 than at 30. and differently at 50 than at 40, and so on…” a healthy trajectory is one that moves off an emphasis on the daily grind and toward writing, speaking, mentoring and generally giving back some of your experience to the industry at large. timely advice as i’ve recently been in touch with LA area chamber‘s pillar program about speaking to high school kids about graphic design.
more about the other topics of this fantastic conference will follow throughout the week. i wanted to recap it all in one post, and realized i had way too much to say!