Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Bor Klemenc Mencin
Photo by: Klemen Ilovar
It’s been almost a year since I started freelancing and, as I told you in last month’s entry, things are on the up and up. But there are still a couple of doubts that have been keeping me company ever since I set out. Questions like: “Is this really who I am now?” or “Am I going to be working like this for the rest of my life?” and “What would I do if tomorrow someone came up to me and offered me a lucrative nine-to-five?” as well as “What’s wrong with paid leave, sick days and a decent 401k?” and, most importantly, “When will I start raking in six figures?!?!”
I decided I can’t remain stuck in this limbo inside my head for much longer. It’s time to either double down or nip this thing in the bud. To either start treating my business like a real business or start brushing up my résumé. On the face of it, the decision may seem obvious. Of course, I double down, right? Things are going well for me – what’s the worst that can happen? Well…
For one, I’m not really sure whether my current success (for lack of a better word) is down to my performance or, rather, the overall favourable business environment we’ve suddenly found ourselves in… Remember a couple of years ago when newspapers and TVs were full of “recession!”, “Recession!!”, “RECESSION!!!”? The truth of the matter is that I ventured into freelancing just as the markets were beginning to perk up. For once in my life, I can say I really nailed the timing on something…
The reason I’m bringing this up is that it makes my decision a bit harder. Yes, companies are beefing up their marketing budgets. Yes, there’s more than enough money to go around. And yes, gone are the days of cutthroat competition in the labour market. But, yes, this bonanza too will come to an end. Not to sound like a doomsday prepper or anything, but I’m trying to keep one eye the (probably not so distant) future when shit will hit the fan again. It gets harder when you see some people saying no punches will be pulled this time around. If what happened last time is any indication, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the marketing and advertising industry. Imagine getting caught in the open during that shitstorm…
But… There’s always a but…
I just can’t see myself back at an agency anytime soon. The thought of shuffling a multitude of mundane tasks at once, of having to be there on time day in day out, of not having a say about which projects I take on… It dwarfs any and all doubts that arise pertaining to my present and future situations.
And so, the decision’s been made. Time to get serious.
Until now, I didn’t really take to the business side of things. Unlike some individuals I keep seeing on LinkedIn with titles like “Urbanpreneur”, “CEO at [insert generic company name here]” or “Founder at [name, surname] Solutions”, my default setting sorely lacks entrepreneurial spirit. Apart from opening and registering my little (for lack of a better word) company, I’ve done my best not to be branded as the quintessential businessman. No business cards, no website, no promotion, no branding.
On the one hand, I didn’t want to plunge into these things until I was sure about where I stood on the freelancing issue. On the other hand, a part of me still finds them a bit excessive and somewhat pretentious. But, love ‘em or hate ‘em, these are the building blocks of business and if I want to be taken seriously, I’m going to have to learn to live with them. Except maybe for the business cards… Seriously, it’s 2018… Why can’t we just Google each other?
And if I’m forcing myself to take my business seriously, I might as well go big. In college, we were always taught that companies survive through tumultuous times by cultivating a strong brand during the good times. Driven by the paranoia explained in the paragraphs above, I took this one to heart. It’s not going to come overnight, but developments have been set in motion. The first one came in the form of a professional photo shoot by my buddy Klemen Ilovar. The mug smiling at you on top of this page is the result of said photo sesh. Please, don’t blame Klemen – he did the best he could with what he had to work with.
And I know what you’re thinking: what does taking professional photos have to do with building my brand? Well, it’s just one part of the equation. The plan is to use these as profile pics on freelancing platforms such as Guru, Upwork and WNW. Judging by how much these platforms fuss about lighting and angles in profile pictures, I’d say it’s probably wise to at least consider it. Or, as they would put it: “On here, your face IS your brand.” (ugh). And yeah, of course, I’m happy to finally have a decent picture of myself – Ekrem’s been nagging me about it ever since I started this diary.
Like I said, this is just the beginning. Eventually, the plan is to have my very own logo, branding and webpage. This week, I’m set to meet another friend who’s one of the most renowned up-and-coming designers in Slovenia. He’s going to help me with the visual identity part of the equation. Who knows, maybe I’ll already have something to show you by the time the next edition of DFC rolls by.
P.S.: Due to a likely shortage of relevant substance, there will be no entry next month as I will be retiring to the seaside for a prolonged period.