My business has been going through a lot of changes lately. Earlier this year, I left a full-time marketing position to pursue freelance video editing full time.
Pretty quickly, I realized things weren't working. In a matter of weeks, I felt utterly disinterested in the work. It felt like the quality was suffering.
So I started hiring some of the creators I know that do great work. They nailed it, but the profit margins still weren't making me enough even to scrape by. I refuse to deliver shoddy quality work, so I'm not going to outsource to the cheapest bidder.
Scalability with freelance is an issue too. The only way to grow a freelance business is to turn into an agency by hiring more people or raise your rates significantly. It's just not a game that seems like it would play out well.
So I've spent the last few weeks trying to separate my past interests with a plan to take advantage of my strengths. Here are some of the insights I've come across.
difference between interests & STRENGTHS
It's essential to notice and get real about the difference between interests and strengths.
I have a ton of interests. Painting, music, video, writing. That doesn't mean those are right career paths for me.
Some experts might disagree, but it's not a closed debate by any means.
Months ago, I saw a video by Improvement Pill about "The Japanese Formula For Happiness" called Ikigai. The idea struck me pretty hard as the reason following passion alone wasn't working out.
The idea is that true fulfillment can come when you're spending your time doing something that you are good at, society needs, you can be paid well for, and you enjoy doing.
The trouble is figuring out what you're good at, what you can be paid well for, and what society needs. The only way to figure out what you enjoy is to try a bunch of things.
At this point, I already know the kinds of work I enjoy (luckily it's a lot of different things). I keep running into the issue of something I can objectively know I'm good at, get paid well for, and society needs.
Discover Strengths Objectively
Humans aren't exactly good at discovering objective truths about ourselves without outside feedback.
There are three main ways that I went about looking to find what were objective strengths in my work so that I could refocus my work in these areas.
The obvious way is to ask your clients.
I sent out a text to a few of my clients that I know are pretty thoughtful people.
You could do this via a long email explaining your thought process. You could send a survey. In my case, I just sent a text asking, "From working with me so far, what do you think my biggest professional strength is?"
There were a few different responses I received. None of them had anything to do with my creative talents or skill.
More or less, they all summed up to Communication, Strategic Thinking, and Creative Problem Solving.
Cool. Now let's see what the people who do work for and with me think.
Think of collaborators broadly. For me, that was a few co-workers from past jobs that I worked with closely AND some creatives I've worked closely with over the years.
The text was the same, but obviously, you can vary that up to reflect the specific circumstances of your working relationships with these people.
Again, not one responded with anything related to creative talent. One did say "You're incredibly talented" but wasn't able to describe what specific talent to which they were referring.
The takeaways were Decisive Problem Solving, Clear Communication, and Idea Generation.
There was still a feeling that there might be some personal biases at play here. You'll never be able to remove those entirely. This last one was about as objective as I could get.
We're all familiar with personality tests by now, but I'm not talking about something like the Meyers-Briggs here. Those can be useful for containing personality traits and learning how to work with others, but I didn't feel that reflected a work-scenario.
Back when I worked at Priority Communications (which is a great place to work by the way), they had some of us take the CliftonStrengths assessment — formerly Clifton StrengthsFinder.
I'm oversimplifying here, but basically, it's a long assessment that will result in a ranking of 34 potential strengths. The ones we want to focus on are the top 5 of those strengths.
My top five were:
You might notice that these don't sound like the strengths of a creative, do they?
No, they don't. These line up pretty perfectly with the responses I got from clients and collaborators.
Hopefully going through this process can lead you to identify the common strengths as well.
Why this matters?
Except for maybe Ideation, these sound like a different person than the professional creative I was trying to portray through my business. That's a problem.
Why is that a problem?
If someone hires you because you "sell" yourself as a particular thing, they expect you to deliver that person. If you turn out to be something entirely different, they're not going to be happy.
You'll probably stumble on some people that didn't know they needed someone like you. That's happened to me a lot-- luckily.
Still, a lot of this explains this constant sense of Imposter Syndrome, I feel when I'm doing paid creative work.
The only time I don't feel like an imposter is when I'm sitting with a client, addressing their business issues, and helping them develop a clear strategy to move forward.
MEDIA CONTACT list for the dubois, pa area
I get asked about press contacts for our area often. Through my work with the Winkler Gallery and Art Education Center, Sunny 106, and Connect FM I've developed a list of local contacts that are worth reaching out to.
Feel free to bookmark this page and come back often to send out your press releases.
Why share this list publicly?
Well, first off, these are all available to find publicly if you look hard enough. I'm not really giving away any private information here. However, I understand how frustrating it is to build a list like this by yourself.
I want to see more publicity about local events. There is SO much going on in our area, but it's hard to get the word out. So here you go:
AN EASY, STEP-BY-STEP OVERVIEW TO MAKE BLOG POSTS THAT GET READ
Blogging has become a huge part of having a successful website. Especially in Business to Business sales, having a good blog can bring sales to your doorstep.
Additionally, blogging can answer those questions you get from customers and clients over and over and over again. In fact, that's how I have come up with my most successful posts.
It turns out there are usually thousands of other people out there looking for answers to that question too.
Follow these steps and track the amount of views your blog posts receive. You won't be disappointed. If you do really well, some of those views should turn into paying customers!
Download the free checklist PDF to help you remember these steps.
1. will the topic add value?
Before you do anything, make sure the topic of your blog post matches your target audience.
It helps to imagine your IDEAL customer.
What are they typing into that search bar?
What blog post would they click on?
What topic would be most valuable to them?
Can you add a unique perspective?
Will this make them trust you more and more likely to buy from you?
There's an obvious "trick" to growing your YouTube views for free that has worked every since I joined in 2007. Now it's 2018 and I'm going to share this Fast, Free way to grow your YouTube audience and reach the people that actually want to see your videos, music, or whatever it is you're creating.
Check out this playlist to grow your social media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugTBu...
I joined YouTube in 2017 and used the platform to develop as a video editor and digital marketer. It’s interesting because some of the trends that used to work to get more views online have come and gone but there is one that has consistently worked.
Do you feel like your Facebook page or website aren't helping your business as much as it used to?
The cost of getting your posts out to your audience have skyrocketed.
Website trends keep moving ahead at light speeds.
eCommerce is a huge beast that takes time commitment to set up and manage.
The system is not rigged against you; the system has just evolved with more competition online. The internet is capitalism in it's truest form.
It has now become a business by itself just to keep up with the rapid changes happening with Facebook, YouTube, Websites, eCommerce, and the ecosystem as a whole. (I know because that is my business.)
You need one of two resources for online marketing: Time or Money.
The year 2016 has been full of changes. This was big for our production company, Sideline Pictures. We released a feature film and have started new initiatives in the last few months to grow our audience.
As an online marketer and content creator myself, I have been watching over our statistics to see what lessons I could learn from this experimentation stage in Sideline Pictures.
In this post, I am going to go through the last three months of the Sideline Pictures website growth and related social media channels. Those are my primary responsibility and what I do for other businesses, so they are of the most interest to me (and probably you).
At the beginning of December, we started posting to the blog a few times a week.
This content was primarily informational and is intended to help our target audience of other filmmakers. The goal here is to increase authority and network reach. Also helping people makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Unique visitors to the site started to spike immediately after new content was being created. Not only did this give visitors more potential pages to land on, it also opened up new opportunities to share pages on social media.