As a freelancer, you have to self promote. Then, when you get work, you’re in promotional limbo – you have to knuckle down but when the project/s end, there’s no guarantee you’ll be asked back for the hypothetical sequel or what have you.
So, I sometimes worry about not self promoting while I work on projects. I worry that one project will end, and I’ll suddenly be left scrabbling to find more work.
But something really clicked with me today. I can’t say why. I’ve rationalised the issue to myself a few times, but today was the first time I really, viscerally felt it. Felt what?
That the best self promotion is doing great work.
Now that I’m working on a few projects, doing the best work I can is my absolute priority. They keep me quite busy, so I don’t necessarily have much energy to spend on that nebulous pursuit of making others aware of you anyway. Ultimately of course, the projects I work on and my work on them will be the true measure of my future.
Maybe I’ll keep working with those clients down the line. I’d love to, I’m lucky enough that the people I work with are not just talent, but great people, bar none, across four different projects. And if I don’t? If I have to find new clients? My feeling is that no amount of tweeting or blogging or networking is going to eclipse just having done a really bang up job on each of those projects.
I think it’s important not to ‘chase’. I’m not advocating complacency. Just that, while you have work, that work should be everything, as far as your work hours go. Cultivating a social media following or being seen to be active on industry forums or whatnot can be hugely valuable, but never at the expense of the work. I’d hate to finish a project and think to myself that hours of social media use or speculative networking could have been spent making the work better.