Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Make Money as a Freelancer

I've been busy lately.

I'm happy I've been busy lately.

Nothing pleases me more than delivering on a freelance assignment and having the Creative Resource Manager ask if I can be extended or if I'm available for another assignment or would I mind working on the weekend.

Yes, yes, and no.

I've also been busy answering emails. From other freelancers. Or newly-minted freelancers who have escaped the galley ships, the cold Pad Thai Noodles and the incessant house music blasted by other "creatives" seated at the long table of mediocrity. If I've had one of these inquiries, I have had a hundred.

"Rich, what do I do? How do I get jobs? I have a family to feed and the only skills I have are writing manifestos or laying out 700 X 98 banner ads. I think I'm gonna buy a gun."

You might want to believe I'm exaggerating.
I am not.

Compound that anxiety with the new fascist regime that is itching to drop a light tactical nuke on the first country that slights Precedent Shitgibbon and you can tell the fear is real.

No more so than right here in Southern California where my alma mater, Chiat/Day just lost the Nissan account to the NY office.

It is not easy watching the sad slow decline of what was once the juggernaut of Southern California advertising. It's enough to make you want to break out the cracked ice and Tanqueray and stir up a stiff Tom Collins.

The truth is, I don't have the answers. There is no secret formula. And if there is I certainly don't have it. Look, I'm 44 years old, there's no way my phone is going to continue to ring. I know that.

So how have I put food on my table and partially shepherd two daughters through two outrageously expensive state universities?


There's no other way to put it. When fellow freelancers are golfing or taking ski trips to Mammoth Lakes, I'm making phone calls, I'm writing emails, I'm bugging the shit out of people on social media.

And not just people I know. Hell, I'll write inquiry letters to CCOs, CMOs, CEOs, anyone with a dime in their pocket looking to make an impact in the market.

Months ago, I read that Brad Jakeman from Pepsi wasn't happy with the standard operating procedures in the ad agency world. As soon as I had finished reading the article, I hunted down his address in Purchase, NY and fired off a two page letter telling him why it would be smart to farm out a pet project to a seasoned freelance veteran.

He hasn't written back yet.
But I'm confident he will.
Hopefully soon.

Because when he does, as I tell my wife, the bathroom remodeling can begin.

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