As someone who's on my second iteration of a creative company, I've done it the wrong way and the right way. Seeing, and admitting to, our blind spots is hard, but it's a critical skills for business owners. We all start out with idealistic notions of what running a creative firm is. Those notions are far from reality, and the longer we maintain their accuracy for the sake of "our dream" – the longer it will take us to see our dreams take shape. Meeting with a mentor – whether for a one-off conversation, or regular check-ups– will help to keep you honest with yourself. Some are fortunate to have trusted, established mentors. For those who aren't so lucky, I'm here to help.
My specific focus is on boutique-size studios, limited in capital and manpower; "one-wo/man bands" trying to position as legitimate companies; freelancers with an eye towards business – and those who are drawn to out-of-the-box ideas on running a successful 21st century company.*
Freelance creatives face their own set of challenge. There's personal brand positioning (Am I "a company" or an artist for hire?) and dealing with the logistics of working for yourself. There's the inevitable financial dilemmas (Am I charging enough and how do I get them to pay me faster?) and the challenges of getting and maintaining good relationships with studios. I've been a freelancer, I've working with freelancers, I've hired freelancers for companies I've worked for, as well as my own. Most important – I've fired plenty of freelancers, while establishing years long relationships with others.
Whether you're thinking about going freelance, or are a freelancer thinking about transitioning to entrepreneurship, I can review and refine your plan – or help you build one.
No matter what part of the creative industry you call "home" – it's changing, and it's changing quickly. The big question for a mid-career creative used to be "Where do I want to be in five years?" Instead, the more accurate question today is: "Where will my industry be in five years and how will I fit in it?"
As an active creative entrepreneur, I too must adapt to remain relevant and shift the direction of my company when the playing field demands it. As a professional artist since 1998, I have seen many careers around me rise, sink or dramatically alter course.
With this combination of personal experience and knowledge, my mentoring of mid-career professionals centers on longevity – whether in their current roles or in ones we dream up together. My specialty of course, is helping those who want to strike out on their own, but aren't sure how.
I still recall my post-graduation excitement – as well as my confusion over what to do next. Months of looking brought little more than frustration, as I faced the Catch-22 of being a new grad with "not enough experience." Until, finally, on yet another followup call with an HR manager, I snapped: "How am I supposed to get experience if no one wants to hire me?!" Although my outburst didn't land me an interview, she was kind enough to listen and give me advice.
I've been paying it forward ever since. If you have a degree in a creative discipline from a four-year undergraduate program, and are within a year of graduation I have a limited number of 30 minute spots each month that I devote to free mentorships for recent grads.
To be considered, please provide the following via email: your LinkedIn profile, your resume, your website and/or relevant links to your portfolio, your school, degree and date of graduation and one question/topic you wish to discuss on our call.