Friday, August 29, 2008

Greetings from the Creative Freelancer Conference, Day 3

Inspiring. Invigorating. Challenging. Uplifting. Educational. Connecting.

Just a few of the words that come to mind as I reflect on my experience at this first-ever Creative Freelancer Conference. I have come away with so many wonderful ideas, to improve my business and myself. I've been inspired to truly follow my passion, and focus in on the work I really want. It's actually quite liberating to think that it's OK to do only the work I love.

First thing this morning, I sat in on the Breakfast Roundtable facilitated by Scott Morrison. The subject there was, "The Agency of One: The new model for success." I gleaned a couple of interesting tidbits from the conversation, but I don't feel I got everything I'd hoped from it. Part of the problem was simply that I couldn't hear everything being said by all the participants, which reduced my ability to take part as well. The room was quite noisy with so many discussions going on all at once.

The opening session was "How to Find the Time to Build Your Freelance Business," led by author and serial entrepreneur Lee Silber. The session was tremendously enjoyable, and very informative. Personally, I was already familiar with his writing, since I own three of his 14(!) books... but hearing him speak was an entirely different experience. His humor was (almost always) dead-on, and really a perfect way to start the day. His message that it is OK for us right-brained folks to do things the way it makes sense for us is fantastic. I think my favorite bit of advice was when he described how he has drawn a stove-top on his desk. On the front three burners (it's obviously a commercial stove), he places the three most important projects requiring his attention. On the back burners, he places three less important projects. The visualization of this was perfect for me. I'm often having to stop and think about that needs to be done, and then trying to determine what needs to be done first. This concept will help me organize those thoughts so much better.

Jeff Fisher (LogoMotives) closed the conference with, "Reaping the Rewards of Creative Independence." His advice and insight gained from 30 years of freelancing was amazing. He made many great points, the primary one being, "it's your business, you get to set the rules." So often, I think that we, as independent professionals, allow ourselves to be treated as employees by our clients. We forget that we're the boss of our own business, and as such, have the right and the power to tell others when we work, how we work, and what we want to work on. It's a beautiful thing. There's plenty to go around, especially if we're all focused on taking on only the work we love best.

Thank you so much to HOW Magazine and Marketing Mentor for hosting this conference. So much of this was just the kick in the pants I needed to really get my business on track. Some things I knew, others I didn't... but even if nothing new is said - to hear it from a new face, in a new place sometimes is just the thing you need to have it all make sense. And the connections made between colleagues are priceless.

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