Sunday, October 30, 2011

Career Pathing, Raketista-Style

You ever get that feeling like no matter how fast you're going, no matter how much you get done in a day --it's like there's still something missing?  I've been getting that lately.  It's like I'm running in top speed without a concrete destination in mind.  Damning feeling really.

It's easier when you're in the corporate world.  Your career path is pretty cookie cutter.  You know where you're taking your party and you work to climb that goddamn corporate ladder like a madman.  (I did that, by the way.  Succeeded.  And yesterday, had to use my old ECD cards to scoop my puppy's poop from the floor.  There's a metaphor there somewhere.)

When you're a freelancer, it's tougher.  You don't get an organizational chart to follow.  You choose one road, see if it works out.  If it doesn't, you shift to another road.  It's spaztic, but linear.  You experience and learn so many things left and right, but you don't really go in an upward motion.

Or so I thought.

After much brain-squeezing, I realize there IS career pathing in freelancing.  All you have to do is take a step back from the mess of projects you've accumulated, and do a fresh start campaign.  Choose your specialty.  Revise your resume.  Sell yourself with a brand new persona.  Not just as a Jack of All Trades, but more focused.

Now this doesn't mean you'll be locking yourself up in a box.  In fact, what I'm doing right now is coming up with several resumes --each with a specific super power.  One highlights my strength as an advertising expert, another as a blogger extraordinaire, the other as a seasoned magazine writer, and so on.  (I exaggerate, of course.  ASC will not approve of such superlatives in real life.  But you get my point.)  

Suddenly, you have a compartamentalized folio!  Organization exists!
It will be easier to peddle this variety of resumes to their specific audiences.  Soon, you'll be getting more focused projects.  More strategically, you can build your career (or careers, you greedy, multitasking dawg!) from there.  This time, however, you're not aiming for a company position. You're aiming for accomplishments like being the Most Sought-After Freelance Creative, being the Most Awarded Asia-Pacific Blogger, the Most Talked About Magazine Columnist.  The climb may be a little slow at first but if that isn't an upward motion goal, I don't know what is!

I still plan to keep my 'omnibus' resume on hand for my usual strike-anywhere clientele.  But that's simply for survival purposes.  If you want to reach a goal, if you want a real clear-cut destination... as always, all you need is focus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

That Frienemy Phenomenon

Oh look!  I just used a cutesy term!  That sends chills down my spine but 'frienemy' is the best way to encapsulate 'friend who ding-dong-ditches you in the name of money and freelancing and gets away with it because you're so idiotically trusting!'
I hate long headlines.

This kind of friend is the one who gives you a project in the guise of 'helping you out'.  Then, while you're whistling happily, your trust in full throttle, your friend yanks the rug from under you, stabs you in the back, and leaves you for dead.  Overdramatically speaking.

She's a user, abuser, and you never saw that side of her coming.  Because... she's a friend.  In fact, you gave her all the wiggle room you wouldn't normally give your other clients:  rushing you to the point of murder, going beyond 3 revisions without extra charge, doing redirections without renegotiations, no downpayment upon initial submission. 
When she's finally milked you dry, she disappears into the night at the very minute you send your billing statement.  She's not returning calls, replying to emails, texting back, no nothing --for almost 2 years!  Until yesterday, when one of her peons called to inform you --with a load of BS to boot-- that you're not getting paid at all.
Hah!  There is is -- massive friendship FAIL!

Is there a Band-aid solution to this.  Nothing.  It goes into a folder in a musty file cabinet labeled 'Lesson Learned'.  Deleting her from your phone's contacts, FB, Twitter --maybe from your whole life!-- may help.  A little.

Is there a way to avoid the Frienemy Phenomenon?  Yes.  When a friend comes to you as a client, treat her LIKE a client.  With all the paperwork, with all your freelancing terms and conditions, with all the professionalism.  You can still be friendly, of course.  But give leeway you can live with.  Keep this in mind:  You can only be abused when you allow it.
She may laugh at you for being so by-the-book, but just laugh with her.  Business IS business.

Lastly, do be skeptic.  Most friends are true, but some can prove to be shady when it comes to money matters.  The root of evil has always been the true test of friendship, and all is fair in love and rakets.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Express: Work it like you mean it!

This post is brought to you by Express. All opinions are 100% mine.

Remember the time when you wore tattered jeans, a faded shirt, and Docs to meetings because it was your God-given Creative right to look downright badass?  Well, when you hit Freelancing, it’s time to rethink that.  Not rethink being badass.  Just …upgrade your badass.  You’re not just attending meetings to be the ‘creative representative’ anymore. You’re THE Creative Professional.  You’re there to hunt for business.  It’s time to look the part.  Oh, reality check:  credibility isn’t coming out of the holes of your pants.

As a Freelancing Creative Professional, you are your own Suit now –and boy, have I got the suit for you!  Check it --Work It! Express Business Suits.
Now, before you run for the hills, let me assure you that you’re not wearing your ex-boss’ suits with Express.  You’re not wearing your cranky ex-Client Service Director’s duds either.  Express outfits the Creative Professional with suits that match the mind’s creativity.  Yup, finally, there IS such a thing as a badass suit.

I’ll go right ahead and focus on their women's suits.  For me, each stylish ensemble guarantees an interesting cut and an intelligent fit that gives off irrefutable confidence. The way people see me in an Express?  Sharp brain, sharp suit --total package.  A.k.a., Project Magnet.


And because Express is formal, fun and fashionable at the same time, it’s work-worthy and party-ready.  No more bothersome changing in between –which, as you know, us Creative people can’t be bothered with.  Lol!

Speaking of parties, here’s one served on a silver platter –the Express sweepstakes!  It’s the Work It! Express Facebook Fan Exclusive that gives you the chance to win a $500 suiting makeover.  All you have to do is enter.  How sweet is that!

So, Miss Creative Professional, if you’re looking for the best way to express your go-getter self, suit up.  With Express Business Suits.  Oh you’ll do more than walk the talk.  You’ll WORK IT!

Check out the Express site now and tell me which suits you’ve fallen in love with and where you plan to wear them!   I love a good suit story sharing.

Visit Sponsor's Site 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nice Meeting You

Interesting.  In a span of 2 months, I've had 3 bogus client meetings.  It can only mean I'm officially gullible to the core, huh?

These meetings were set by people whom I don't know with the promise of exciting projects.  These are different people, in different venues, at different times --and yet, one MO.
On all 3 occasions, as soon as we've sat ourselves down, each client went, "So... you're a blogger.  You know what, I blog, too.  Maybe you can help me out."

I repeat, I don't know these people.  I'm only there because I'm looking for business.  And then these guys turn the prospect into chat time.  But ok, ok... I'm not rude.  This could simply be the icebreaker before we get into the nitty-gritty of serious advertising stuff.  Yeah, that's right!
So, nicely, I answer all their questions about blog length, how to attach pictures, how to choose your blog niche, how to earn from all of it.  When I'm pretty sure they've gotten everything they wanted --as evident in their faces which eventually lit up in satisfaction after 2 to 3 hours-- I carefully steer the conversation back to the projects they promised me.  Even asked if the reason why we went into lengthy blog discussions was because they were considering blogging as one of their advertising tools to sell their products.

The reply to that was pretty text book, too:  "Oh, that.  Wait.  I'll email you."

Look, everyone blogs. I didn't have to waste some hardworking, hungry person's time to get started.  If you blog, then you must have a computer and internet access.  Try surfing for information!  I learned all I know FROM the net.  Most of which from mistakes I've DONE on the net.  But that's how you learn.  Research, and then dive in.  If you make a mess, clean it up and don't do the same thing over, ever.
More importantly, I didn't have to tell a big fat lie in order to lure a blogger out for tips!

Not surprisingly, none of these 3 so-called clients contacted me again.

3 meetings.  And all I got from them was coffee.

Should've ordered pasrty, too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The RH Bill at its Best

It's a typical sad kitchen table top scenario with a dirty, broken plate bearing a tiny scoop of rice, with a team of equally dirty, broken spoons made to face the plate in some weird adulation.

Ok, after a squint, pull back.

It's an egg.  With sperm cells.  On a mad dash towards self-preservation.  

Now you say, "Heeey, nothing new there!  Every Tom, Dick, and Wanna-Be in advertising has used this reproduction scene for any health/sex campaign known to man!  Even clinics and libraries have that!"
Well, Mr. Genius, that's not the point.
The point is this:  In advertising, there are no new ideas.  Only old ideas better told.  It's how you walk the talk that makes all the difference, that lends your stuff all the uniqueness, that slaps everyone silly with a wake-up call.  That's why what you should strive for is hunting for that all too real insight --and build the creativity from there.
I think this ad is brilliant in selling the concept of the RH Bill. It presents two realities for the price of one.  I don't even need the headline to tell this full story.  The image alone floors, and rings loud and true. 

Congratulations, Mr. Jovert O. Bantilan of Workshop One Inc. for severely bagging the Best Ad glory at the Creative Guild's RAW School --and, in my book for the year.

And to you, Mr. Genius, back to your futile attempts at reinventing the wheel.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Support System

I'm not usually mushy.  But a bitchslap from reality just woke me up to the importance of something I may have overlooked since venturing madly into solo flight.  There it is.  It's NOT solo flight.  Even as it feels like you're all alone in freelancing, it shouldn't be.  You shouldn't wallow in self pity when you lose a pitch.  You shouldn't drown in alcohol when a client refuses to pay you.  You shouldn't stay up late all by your lonesome to finish a rush project.
No matter how strong you are, what you should have is a support system.  Husband.  Wife.  Lover.  Friend.  Brother.  Sister.  Dad.  Mom.  Kids.  Pets.  People (and animals) whom you know care about you and are willing to lend you an ear. 

You may not always enjoy the physical support of a partner or a team, but emotional support should always be there.  Someone --not something-- you can run to when things in your world start spiraling out of control.  Someone open for a random chat, a pep talk, or even to bounce off ideas to.

Stupidly, I've always said that the best way to help me is to get the hell out of my way.  Good thing my husband never listened to THAT bullshit.  Lol! 
And so, a deal.

On days when we can't fight together...

One should be there when the other one falls.

Support system.   It's not your computer.   Find one.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

This must be the 1000th blog you're going to read about the passing of the great Steve Jobs.  But give me a minute.  I promise to be brief.

Do you know how I grew the balls to go full time raketista?  It was because I have a macbook.  It's old, but I take care of it.  Even named it.  My husband has an even older iMac.  Lacking generations of upgrades.  But it has served him well before, and in its own little way, continues to do so.  Day by day, our Apple machines help us through one project to another.  It was like clockwork.  Almost taken for granted.

But when you think about it, the technology Steve Jobs has given the advertising industry (those within and those twiddling around its outskirts) is insurmountable.  It changed how the game was played.  Advertising became faster-paced as well as better-crafted.
As a freelancer, I am given the opportunity to join the mad fray.  As long as you're wired, you're a competitor.  And as long as you're inspired, you're unstoppable.

Steve Jobs didn't just arm me to fight.  With a few words, he also stirred me to make a difference.

Stay hungry.  Because that's how you survive.
Stay foolish.  Because that's how you have fun through it all.
Freelancing in advertising maybe cutthroat, but with the right mindset, you can give yourself the time to enjoy the ride.

To everyone whose lives depend not just on their talent but their hardware, remember not to bonk your mac when it lags, or curse your iPhone when it hangs.  Take a moment to give it some love and respect.

Keep in mind that an old genius worked hard to make your crazy-tough/crazy-fun career happen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Battle Armor Raketeer

A thing I've developed in the past 2 years of freelancing --a thick skin.  No, more like an impenetrable outer shell of smooth metal alloy with shiny industrial rivets and an automatic booster pack with a silent hum to it.

It comes in handy for a Consultant.  Frustration bounces off it.  Impatience slides off it.  It empowers me with the unnerving gall to sell ideas ...and grovel for more projects.

It's handy for a Contestant, too.
You see, when work gets me down, when writer's block attacks, or when I find myself in the middle of a very alarming raket void --I join contests.  To think I used to poke fun at my mom for sending milk can wrappers to an anonymous P.O. Box for a chance to win a family holiday. *kicks self on shin*

You can strike just about anywhere with this (which is the full essence of rakethood).  Join writing contests, photography tourneys, illustration exhibits, fashion events, song composition challenges... heck, even Cosplays!  Go for the whole creative package.  Shed your 'Oh, I'm so not joining any cheap contest' mentality and put all your talents on the line.  It's fun.  It's exciting.  Its a welcome break that comes with a prize.

And when you're used to gargantuan industry-organized creative competitions, pocket battles make a cool change.  I duke it out on my own this time --which adds to the ridiculous thrill.  Obviously, this, too is no time to be timid and touchy!

Being a raketeer.  It requires balls and a battle armor.  Each sold separately.