The #1 mistake most creative freelancers make

The #1 mistake most creative freelancers make

If you think freelancing is just about hard work and dedication, you are sadly mistaken, my friend. It’s a mistake most creative freelancers make.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of skills you do need like a good work ethic, being super organized and all of those other “blah, blah, blah” things you’ve already read about in every other article.

But those traits alone don’t make you a successful freelancer.

1. Making connections

Being a successful freelancer means you’re creating relationships and fostering them like little new born babies. (Without all of the disgusting bodily functions involved.)

You’ve heard this lame cliché before, and you’re about to hear it again: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

plastic egg paintingWith one little addition of my own… “And how you continue to know them.”

And the “who” part is where freelance creatives make the #1 biggest mistake: They suck up to the wrong people.

Like the creative director for example.

Sucking up to the creative director is a waste of time. They don’t know your name and they never will (even if you shit gold) as long as you’re still a freelancer. In order to impress a creative director, you need time. And as a freelancer, that’s the one thing you don’t have.

Unless, of course, you were smart and sucked up to the right people. And so, for the sake of SEO, avoided the mistake most freelancers make…

2. Making the right connections

Okay, you ask, so who are the right people?

The creative manager. (And/or in-house recruiter.)

These are the glorious people who bring you in and assign you work.

Let’s take a moment and think about what they do on a daily basis. They sift through creatives’ books all day (and sometimes night) to find the right fit for assignment at a moment’s notice. They deal with our schedules, rate demands and our oh-so-delightful personalities. They deserve a lot of credit. But for some crazy reason, they are the least appreciated by freelance creatives. (Huge mistake.)

The better you treat them, the more likely they’ll bring you back for assignments or give you better ones. No. Seriously.

You want them on your side. Like whoa.

3. How to make creative managers remember you

So let’s look at a few ways to show creative managers some love to get them to like you:

Make friends with them. Ask them to coffee. Hell, bring them a coffee without them asking.

cupcake with strawberries

• Hand-write thank you notes to show your appreciation and willingness to get a hand-cramp for them.

Be flexible with your time AND assignments.

• Be on time and reliable

• Occasionally bring them baked goods and other delicious treats.

• Go out of your way to check in and say hello.

• Most importantly, be genuine for Christ’s sake. They can smell b.s. from a mile away. It is their job after all.

And if for some reason you find yourself scoffing at this article or creative managers/recruiters, remember, they control the freelance gate and can blacklist your ass faster than you can say “cotton headed ninny muggings.” Just sayin’.

Treat creative managers like royalty and you’ll be rewarded. Because when they need someone, or their recruiter friend needs someone, you’ll be at the top of the list. Oh, you’re welcome.

4 replies
  1. Freelance Copywriter
    Freelance Copywriter says:

    Great post! I believe it is easy to get so wrapped up that you can’t find time for personal growth. But it is so essential to keep in the game. If freelancing requires so much of the time that you simply cannot also work a full-time task then you’re performing something wrong.

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