A little over a week ago I was a part of a “tradeshow” meets “creative talent” meets “potential client” showcase. The annual Freelancer’s Portfolio Showcase, put on by a local group of freelancer’s, The Freelance Exchange. And yes, if you haven’t guessed it’s all about Freelancing and finding the talent local companies want to hire to shine up those marketing pieces.
It came as no surprise that many of us were out there ready to go 3 hours before company execs arrived. If you don’t know much about the freelancer soul, eagerness is a key word association.
As each of us shined up our samples, strightened our enormous stack of business cards, I wondered how many of us thought of ourselves as what was termed by Peleg Top and Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor as a “solopreneur”? (I met both of them at How’s Creative Freelancer’s Conference in Chicago.)
I hear the wheels in your head turning, you’re wondering what’s the difference between a freelancer and a solopreuer. Well there’s a BIG difference and one that I think can make a huge difference when hiring a creative professional.
First of all, many business owners are concerned about unleashing a creative type to help promote their business. Many worry about freelancers being “flaky” and clinging to their free spirit instead of using business sense to make decisions.
Here are my top 3 reasons why businesses should hire a solopreneur:
1) A solopreneur is in-tune with running a business:
There is a common thread for many freelancers; they have never considered themselves as a business owner. Maybe they used to sit in a cube and have all the work/projects hand-delivered. Never did they think that they would actually go outside the office walls to drum up business. Never did they think they would have to follow up with an unhappy client or worse yet, not get paid for work they did. It’s all what business owners call, “the biz” and unless your freelancer is ready to look at themselves in this light, you might rethink working with them.
If you have a solopreuner on your team, you have a totally different animal.
2) A solopreneur considers themselves a business partner with you:
Many artists/writers seem to have a problem detaching from their work. Put nicely, when a client makes a suggestion, they may feel like a dog backed into a corner and snip at your ideas. When the artistic spirit creates something, it’s often tough to step back and look at the piece objectively or in the client’s eyes for that matter. With a solopreneur, things are different. Don’t get me wrong, we still take pride in our work, we just work to create solutions for our clients. Solutions that are relevant, measurable and above all, have a positive return on your investment. Collaboration between solopreneur and client is key. Creating the best solution together is a ‘win-win’ relationship.
3) A solopreneur offers a diverse perspective:
When you hire solopreneur, you hire experience. Not only does the professional have business sense, they are also well versed in a lot of different areas of their industry. I have heard so many times, “do you have writing experience in _____?” While yes it’s important to know the subject matter enough to write about it or design it (for all the designers reading this) intelligently, solopreneurs embrace each subject matter they undertake with intense scrutiny as if the subject matter is of personal importance. Bottom line, a solopreneur is in business to help your business succeed, not just to create a piece they can put on display to impress others. By implementing this strategy within their business acumen, solopreneurs bring a diverse perspective to the table based on their previous experience and strive to help your business grow.
So the next time you search for creative talent, make sure the person you hire is a person who is focused first and foremost on your business.
Happy solopreneur searching-
A special thanks goes out to Denny Medley of Random Photography for the picture in this blog post. Denny is a new friend I met at the Portfolio Showcase and also a fellow solopreneur who creates beautiful work and has a great blog!. Best of luck to you Denny!