are you truly a self-employed creative?

August 15, 2013

by william choukeir

‘many people believe that great designers get great clients. It’s not true. it’s the other way around.’
—Seth Godin, 14 times best-selling author.

even if you’re self-employed, you’re still ’employed’. you have clients (think: bosses), and being creative and innovative is risky for them. the hospitality industry hates high-risk scenarios. this kills your creative freedom. but there’s a sure way around this.

Seth Godin presents a deceptively simple workaround. yet, what’s more important is understanding why this workaround works. Seth invites you to imagine telling a client: ‘i want to do something cool […], and if it works i’ll get the credit, but if it doesn’t, you’ll get the blame cause you said that it was ok.’ who takes that deal?

instead, what if you flip that around, Seth suggests. if you take responsibility for your creative endeavours, you’ll be given responsibility. if something goes wrong, take the blame. but if your creativity becomes remarkable, give the client the credit. do that a few times, and they’ll come back to you for more. that’s because they have a choice about who to work with. and they’ll always choose the one who makes them look good.

absorb the added risk that comes with creativity and reflect the credit because you get that rare creative-freedom that few design professionals have. arm yourself with this unfair advantage and you get to do ‘your’ work.

you could either have your work speak for itself, or you could take the credit. it’s very hard to have both—at least until you’ve shown the world that your creativity comes without added risk.

being a truly self-employed creative ‘is’ possible:


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