At parties or other social events you get the question all the time: “So, what do YOU do?” If you’re an struggling actor, producer, director, or other media professional, it’s an awkward moment. Even after decades of making TV programs, documentary films, online media, and consulting with large organizations, it’s still tough for me. It’s called “Status Anxiety.” It comes from discomfort or fear when a person is in a social interaction that involves being judged or evaluated by others. If you’ve struggled in your career, and have trouble with the “So what do YOU do?” question, you need to watch this video:
In most cases, when an organization hires my company – Cooke Pictures, in Burbank, California – they name someone internally as the “point person” who we deal with on a day to day basis. In some cases, this point person has approval authority, and at the very least dictates the working relationship. In most cases, the person is experienced, responsible, and qualified. But from time to time, that point person can make life miserable. Here’s why:
The freelance life is a challenge. At some point, every employee in America has thought about leaving their job and working for themselves. But the realization that freelance professionals wake up every morning unemployed usually jolts them back to reality. Managing projects, inspiring confidence, being professional, dealing with risk, and more all add up to a successful freelance career, but one thing stands above all others. If you can’t do this, then don’t become a freelancer. The single most important aspect of a successful freelance career is:
I know a television producer who has spent most of his career working as a full time network employee. He’s very talented, and a few years ago, decided he should go out on his own and become a freelance producer. He lasted about 6 months. Once he starting working outside the studio, he started to miss having a large staff, a couple of assistants, office equipment, and the clout of a big company behind him. He struggled mightily with working on his own, doing it on the cheap, and
At 37 years old, I was fired from my job. So after nearly 15 years of working in a conventional office, my wife and I made the decision to launch into a freelance career working from home. The transition wasn’t easy. Suddenly I didn’t have access to the copy machine, the office phone system, the conference room, and all the other resources a company makes available to employees. As a result, I needed to switch to guerilla mode and switch fast. Here’s a few of the key changes I made that not only allowed me to increase my productivity, but helped me eventually build my own business:
One of the most difficult challenges I face with clients is managing their expectations. It happens in a million ways. Sometimes they don’t have all the information, other times their past experience colors the relationship, or they simply don’t have the experience to evaluate success. Whatever the cause, it’s up to you to manage the outcome. Why?