Business/Career

Dear Creative, Here’s To Cutting Out The Middle Man

If companies can leverage you like a commodity, why can’t you?

If companies can leverage you like a commodity, why can’t you?

Ever worked for a manager/boss that you wondered who they were related to in order to have their job?

Scratched your head from time to time wondering how the hell they’re even taken seriously?

Or like a lot of us, walked into a company propped up on investor cash, charismatic spokesperson, and nothing more?

When That VC Money Hits The Account

I’ve personally met so many talented and gifted Creatives that blow me away, you have visions and sketches and drafts of betas that would be game-changers. BUT, with the rise of hustle porn on social media, many keep feeling like if you’re not an entrepreneur, then what’s the point?

I want to be my boss

My company doesn’t allow me to do that” others will chime in.

Corporate cultures have habitually stifled talent for ages, mostly due to fear-CEOs and other executives keeping a pecking order because… well the money’s good in diminishing your contribution

And when you the talent gets good and angry, how do companies respond? How have they adapted in recent years?

They play dress up

Why pay people more when you can give them a new title, maybe some ping pong tables 😀

Or a real crowd favorite these days, kombucha on tap… looking at you WeWork

This dog and pony show stuff makes them feel really accomplished and they put out press releases and get all riled up on this change

Change like renaming salespeople to “Business Development Executive” (it’s a title that I always bust balls about)

Business itself isn’t exactly complicated, and like all things that are simple, man will find a way to over complicate it, making it seem out of your reach

Remember when Entrepreneurship Seemed Impossible?

Luckily there’s some companies that collaborate with talent, this is known as being an Intrapreneur, more on that here.

I’ve decided to start (in tidbits) a short and sweet series on some actionable steps you can treating your superpower, like the tradable commodity your bosses do.

This applies to pretty much any industry, from Hollywood, Publishing/Media, Tech, Music, the list goes on and on.

Let’s not waste more time on the dribble and get right to the fun stuff.

Because of how most industries work in shutting out many of us who… aren’t “cultural fits.” We tend to have jump through hoops and even have to learn office politics in order to make moves.

No thanks on the yuck yuck club

The truth behind the curtain is, they’re applying the same metrics to hiring and managing Creatives as they are to Carol in HR, Susan in Accounting, and Brad in Sales.

What’s helped many (including myself) is to remember they’re in essence, a middle man.

First and Foremost

Yes they (may) have more money, BUT remember that the customer is the one that gives them that money, the power and prestige comes from what they do with that money and YOU.

Create

I recently met someone who’s brilliant with design work. She works for a company that sells cool accessories and clothing primarily on instagram, since that’s where their buyer persona lives, she is constantly keeping an eye on trends and behaviors without even knowing it.

How?

Something you, as a Creative, have is the ability to whip up betas (think of these as first drafts if you’re not familiar with the term) in a much shorter time than anyone else.

Why?

Because your creativity is your superpower.

Whenever I mention Creatives people tend to think of artists, painters, actors… no my friend.

A Creative is also a scientist, a mathematician, an engineer, a Doctor, and if you haven’t noticed where I’m going with this — a problem solver.

So, a lot like our aforementioned friend who designs, she CREATES something, and then posts it on her personal page, guess what she gets almost immediately? FEEDBACK

CREATE something in your spare time, perhaps even on purpose — and take it directly to an end user.

Who is an End User?

NOT a friend, not a family member

I repeat – do NOT stress test your ideas with friends and family – they will not be completely honest with you

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who this would help the BEST

Who would your creation help??

An (insert profession here)?

A _ who’s looking to navigate dating better?

A __ looking to stand out in their job search?

Now ask a friend who of their friends would be interested in trying something out to solve that problem — no strings attached.

The Feedback Loop

Now that you’ve put your creation out into the world, use a feedback loop to better your product

What is a Feedback Loop?

There’s a concept I’m a huge fan of and is synonymous with the brains behind Toyota

In real life practice, avoid leading questions, and questions that rely on the end user to solve a puzzle such as:

“Which is your favorite product?, Why?”

Instead try “of all the products you’ve tried before, which solved your problem the best?”

Some more sample questions (feel free to customize them if needed)

How do you presently solve this problem?

“Is there a (brand/product) you recommend to friends and family to {solve problem}?”

How would you know I would benefit from this product?

Could you give me a recent example of someone you recommended it to?

Listen to what they say, write that they say, learn from what they say. What you’re doing is mapping out a customer journey ya scientist you!

As you take account of their feedback, ask them if it’s ok to check in with them as you make updates (try to keep it at 2–3 versions per person to avoid fatigue)

By the 3rd draft or so, you’ll have what’s known as a MVP (Minimal Viable Product).

Think of yourself like a Chef, yes you can create beautiful art, BUT when you listen to the wants and needs of the end-user, you create mouth-watering art

Coming up later this month is part 2 of this series — What To Do With Your MVP

This should give you ample time to CREATE something and begin testing, till next time Rogue.

Here’s to escaping average,

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