It starts off innocently enough. Friends-of-a-friend ask you to make a website for their new business, a flyer for their upcoming show, to take pictures at their party, or head-shots for their future acting career. Sure, why not? The question about money never comes up or if it does, you awkwardly say, “Just get me a drink the next time we’re out.”
Then, networking happens.
Your friends tell a friend. Who tells two friends. And you start getting the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend’s friend hitting you up. This time when the issue of money comes up, you fall into the “try before you buy” pitfall that all young/eager freelancers do. If you’re lucky, they have a budget (i.e. someone else’s money) and they insist on paying. If not, it’s rinse, lather, repeat. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200.
As a busy student, I fell into this cycle doing event photography. “Sure, why not?” was my go to phrase. I’d occasionally mix in some graphic design work. All to, “build my book.” All for Freelance.
But then I got paid.
And everyone likes getting paid.
But getting paid did more than put some extra money in my barren pockets, it showed me my own worth. The fear of “not doing a good enough job to get paid” suddenly subsided. The once annoying feedback from teachers about presentation and professionalism, suddenly made sense. It also validated my feelings that I should put those jobs on my resume. Hell, if one person felt I was worth $100 an hour, others will too.
And once you start getting paid, start keeping all your receipts. But that’s a topic for another post (“Creative Accounting 101” – hint: under $600)
It’s a fresh new year (academically). We have fresh new (to us) digs. New fresh faces. And (hopefully) fresh new talent.
While the elevator at 410 Bush may have an old soul (I swear there is a ghost that keeps those doors from closing properly the first time), now is the perfect time to make new friends. As our esteemed Copywriting Director, Mark Edwards, put it this morning – 410 Bush puts our talents within walking distance to some major advertising agencies: Goodby, Venables, Ogilvy One, 215Mccan, and so many others.
What does this mean for us? Even more of an excuse to pull a “Don Draper” and hit up some bars. I mean “network with potential employers.”
No one will probably take this advice, but smart ladder climbers should cruise the “About Us” sections of their favorite SF agencies. You never know, that dude who just rudely cut in front of you at the coffee shop might just be Jeff Goodby or Rich Silverstein. Instead of slipping him the finger, slip him your book.
Suggested (Only minorly awkward) Opening Lines:
- “Got Milk?”
- “Nice Ponytail” http://twitpic.com/5nvrob
- “Don’t you work at Wieden & Kennedy?”