Friday, December 30, 2011

De-Comfort Zoning

At one point, you find what could be called a comfort zone.  It's not much, but it's something that makes you feel somewhat secure in the typically uncertain world of freelancing.
My comfort zone is a couple of creative consultancy jobs.  I earn regular pay (albeit small) and I have more time for mini projects in between.  Pretty comfortable, eh?

Now, be warned.  A comfort zone in Raketsville is like an oasis in the middle of a barren desert.  It's there one minute, it can vanish the next.
One, because by some unforeseen turn of events, your contract can be put to an end leaving you with a month's notice and without separation pay.  That depends on your negotiation on the get-go, but usually, freelancers don't get the regular employee farewell perks.
Two, because you know there will always be a better deal out there.  Being freelance gives you an insatiable kind of hunger, a craving.  You could be in a cozy world right now, but what else is there? Are you being smart or did you just sell-out?

So even as you are given the time to enjoy what feels like a stable scenario, don't be fooled.  Don't rest on your laurels.  Never close your windows (yes, that's plural) of opportunities and never stop hunting.  Always keep that horizon broad and wide just in case the ax falls unexpectedly or just in case your feet get that sudden, uncontrollable case of wanderlust.

Sorry to rain on your little parade.  Believe me, it's for your own good.
Comfort zones are cool, but cynicism is cooler.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cheers, Raketeers!

Whoa!  Has it really been 15 days since I last blogged???  That is sooo irresponsible of me!  I made a vow to master the fine art of multitasking and this is what I have to show for it?  Tsk, tsk, tsk...

I have a good excuse though.

The nice thing about the holidays is that people go on vacation.  Good, holiday-spirited people.  That leaves Scrooges like me to catch all the denied, falling-out-of-the-sky projects.  That leaves me earning money by the time everyone else is still groggy to get his ass back to work.
It pays to be an opportunistic bastard sometimes.  Hee...

This is tricky though.  You can't be a full blown Scrooge.  That's just... nasty.  So again, time management is key.  You have to make time to work on that extra load you snagged (without rushing it to mediocrity!), make time to shop for Christmas gifts (without rushing it to mediocrity), and make time to party.  Partying is just as important as freelancing.  It not only releases tension and makes you feel like the cool social butterfly you totally aren't, it also opens you up to future contacts, future projects, future moolah.  There is no rest for the opportunistic bastard.

Of course, with that kind of hectic madness, something will just have to be sacrificed.  For me, it was blogging.  And a week's worth of laundry.

So, with everything done, let me take this opportunity to greet you all an almost stress-free Christmas!  And, give you a well-meaning man-slap on the butt for a job well done in cutting it close again this year.

Cheers, Raketeers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NO!

Freelancing isn't synonymous to Desperation.  Nor is it in any way equivalent to Suicidal.
Alright, maybe sometimes it does.  But that really depends on the freelancer.  There is no book that legitimately defines a freelancer as such.  So it is with absolute pissery that I scowl at clients who assume that.
Be reminded, a Raketista can shoot down a client, too.  A Raketista can say no.

Douche vs. Dough
Working on an awesome project becomes a 9 to 5 in hell when you have to work with a total jerkface client.  You're not in an ad agency anymore.  You can actually decline a job.  Even if Miss Arrogance slaps you with a great deal of money, would that be worth your ego being stomped on?  Ok, maybe.  Weigh the client's douche level versus this project's dough level and see how it works out with your patience level.

Priority Meter
You have a choice.  You're not getting your load from a single source anymore.  So when work comes in a pile, you don't have to take them all and do overtime over your overtime.  This time, you have that all-powerful privilege to sift through the onslaught and choose the ones with better pay and portfolio factor.  The ones you want and can really handle.  This time, when your plate is full, you can say no to seconds.

Me Time
Remember that time when you had to cancel your vacations because your agency had to agree with client's demands and deadlines?  That doesn't have to happen now.  Of course, you have to work harder --swimming solo isn't easy.  But that doesn't mean you have to work yourself to the ground.  After a bout of pitch mania, you do deserve some R&R.  You can say no to a client who wants to trample on your serious beach time.

Now this isn't saying you have to be a complete snob.  THAT'S suicide.  What you do is simply realize pride in your craft and respect for yourself.  Decline death-defying acts when you have to.  Because with your kind of agency-honed drive, there will be more where that came from, I assure you.

Once in a while, all you have to do is say no.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Last Planner You'll Ever Have!

Of course, you have a planner.  How else will you be able to keep track of all your raket meetings, your deadlines, your billables, your nth follow-ups, and your ever-growing hit list?  As of now, you must be making great time --and impressive palpitations-- for the Starbucks planner.  Can't blame you.  Starbucks' is the coolest planner on the planet!

That is, until The Last Planner You'll Ever Have!

Inspired by the Mayans' and Nostradamus' --and recently, Hollywood's-- prediction of the world coming to the end in the year 2012, this planner has craftily created your personal Doom's Day Diary. 

Complete with a Countdown Calendar.

Monthly scenarios of possible global catastrophes leading to Judgment Day.

Your own Prepped-for-Death sheet.  How many planners give you that, huh?

And, my personal favorite, devil-may-care farewell notes.  For when you want to send your very last.

All this, all in good humor, of course.  So if you're a prude with a joke level as shallow as a ditch, I suggest you get your planner from your insurance company.  No offense.  I think.

Oh, and just so you know the Revelations isn't half that bad, this planner also comes with a promo. Yesss!

Raketista, THIS is your planner.  Don't you work on every project as if it were your last?  Aah... then this is such a match made in heaven (or hell... depends.).  Get this once-in-a-lifetime offer for a very affordable Php325 if you place your order at The Last Planner 2012 Multiply site before December 19, 2011.  You may want to visit its Facebook page, too, before it's too late.

The Last Planner You'll Ever Have.  Wit and morbidity has never worked in perfect harmony like this before.
And... they probably never will.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Latag for Dummies

This is the most productive piece of table napkin you can ever hope to find in the free world.

Had coffee with a couple of kids whom I thought I'd share my age-old wisdom in basic Latag-ness with.  Latag, as you know --if you've been in the business long enough-- is the pre-mumble before you expose your creative big guns.  This is your one-page contribution to your AE's 39-pager Powerpoint presentation.  This page summarizes the 'thinking behind', your 'thought process', your 'I'm not just bullshitting you with pretty pictures, Mr. Client.  There's a science to this glorious creative output!'. 

Presenting... a walkthrough.

Go back to your AE's JO.  From all the research she's jammed in that sheet of paper, all you really need to focus on is the Key Message, aka, The Single-Minded Message, aka, USP (Unique Selling Proposition).  If there isn't any... well, that deserves another blog post altogether.

From there, it's time for a little immersion.  Time to go out for a face-to-face with your target market.  Time to harvest... insights!  Probably the most important part of your latag, the Insight details exactly what the target market wants and needs out of your product.  Simple logic:  you can never sell anything to a target market without knowing what he wants to buy.  Get into his mind and heart first.  You should get many insights that can lead to many concepts.

The Concept is The Big Idea you get from the Key Message.  It's called The Big Idea because it's your product's masterplan to answer your target market's need.  There should be a seamless 'tuhog' from the Insight to the Big Idea.  Problem-Solution, as simple as that.  That's why it's crucial that your product's facts do fulfill a promise.  The Big Idea is the most powerful part of your latag, by the way --specially for your Client.  Whatever you say here, make sure it counts.

So how do you say the product's plan in an interesting manner?  Yes!  The moment to be creative has come!  The Execution part of your latag is your oh-happy-day playground where you can create to your heart's desire.  But, make sure you do it with the client's objective and your target market's insight in mind.  Yeah, yeah... even in absolute joy, we do have to be responsible.  Out of the box doesn't have to mean out of line.  That doesn't suck, believe me.

With a solid latag, you'll come off as creatively strategic, or strategically creative... hmm...
Either way, you'll come off like you know what you're talking about --because you do!  THAT'S how you get things sold. 
Now, if you're cocking your eyebrow now and thinking, "I'm too creative for that kind of paperwork!" --think again, dummy.