If you work in the creative services industry (designer, developer, marketer, copywriter, etc) — how would your clients describe you?
Vendor? Crazy Artist? Web guy? Ad writer? Or simply, a “creative”?
If you carry one of these labels, you are doing something wrong.
You have been hired to do something your client (or boss) is not good at. YOU provide value. You ARE valuable.
I have always cringed at the label “artist”. No offense directed at the myriad of “artists” out there, but I am NOT one. I hate artists.
I am a designer. There is a difference.
My work helps to solve a client’s problem. Through a creative process of thinking and understanding, we—designers, developers, marketers, copywriters—uncover methods and functions that help solve problems.
In other words, we help people complete tasks and help businesses make money. We uncover elements and processes that others don’t see and/or understand.
Getting Better At What You Do
The creative services industry is a temporary industry. The learning is never-ending.
Changes happen daily, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute: HTML5, CSS3, Responsive Design, iOS development … the list goes on.
The constant struggle to stay on top of the current trend is exhausting.
Your clients, your boss and your peers don’t care about this upward battle. It’s your own battle—and success up to you. In fact, the more you know, the better your work will be.
But, getting good at what you do doesn’t come without costs.
Part of your on-going education includes learning how to communicate, present and sell your work to clients, bosses and co-workers.
No matter how good you are—and how good the work is—if you can’t convince others, you haven’t succeeded.
By the way, this job can’t be done by someone else… your boss, or account executive. It needs to be done by you.
Rising Above the Fray
At my first design job out of college, I had a douche-bag marketing director who would present my work to executives and stakeholders.
The worst part: He took credit for everything I did.
It took me three years to get a raise. And, the raise only happened after I decided I’d had enough and started to personally sell and present my work to senior executives.
This allowed me the opportunity to explain what I did, why I did it, and why it helps to solve the problem.
I quickly moved up the ranks.
Sell Your Own Work
Selling the work is an important job for any creative services professional… and by “selling the work”, I mean presenting and explaining the work yourself, not handing it off to an account executive or some other person.
When you take the time to present your work, you get the opportunity to explain the work—letting people know why you did what you did.
What’s more, you can receive first-hand criticism enabling you to produce a better Version Two (if that’s the case).
Remember, you have more power than you think. Use it.
Do You Like the Labels?
If the work you produce equates to little more than providing a technical service for the person (or company) employing you, then—let’s face it—you deserve the label of Vendor, Crazy Artist, Web guy or Ad Writer.
What accompanies these labels, is lower fees and lower-quality work put on your desk. If you are employed, you will enjoy a lower salary.
So, stand-up for what you believe in. Stand-up for your work.
You are smarter than you think. Show it.