A friend and sometime partner sent me a note the other day. Like smart freelancers everywhere (and he's a smart freelancer) we make a habit of checking in with each other.
Part is because, after working together sporadically for twenty plus years, we genuinely like and respect each other. Another part is that we don't just talk about marketing vagaries like customer relationship marketing, when you're in business for yourself, you're always practicing it.
Not in the way asinine and intrusive companies like Amazon do, "Alexa, what's the notification?" "Your wife bought strychnine tablets six months ago, and she's not done killing you. Would you like to order a refill?" We stay in touch to hear about leads, remind each other of opportunities and to get a sense of which way the mercantile winds are blowing. Like sports teams scout the competition, good freelancers do too. You need to know what's happening, where and why.
My friend sent me a note. "I've somehow lost all my Communication Arts magazines. Do you have any?"
Because of my vaunted position as America's 97th most-read advertising blogger, now and then I get a complementary subscription to this publication or that. So in addition to "Screw Your Neighbor Quarterly," and "The Journal of Geriatric Memory Loss," I regularly procure complete pdfs of Communication Arts Annuals.
In two-shakes of a false timesheet, I sent my friend via We Transfer a terabyte or so of old issues. 85 in total, including every advertising annual since 1962, except for 1991, which for whatever reason I cannot find.
My pal's response was pithy and appropriate. As good a character study of me as has ever been tautly written.
There are a few points--obtuse and long-winded, I'll admit here today.
One, keep in touch with people and build your network. Constantly.
Two, keep good files and keep adding to them. Not only can you learn from the past--and old stuff is easier to steal from since no one remembers it--foundational work is often not merely stylistic. It was better focused on the fundamentals of communication than just trends.
Three, if you want a CA or two, let me know. Send me an email. I make no guarantees. But see point one above. And toss from work my way. Though I'm as busy as a serrated knife at a bagel shop, I don't turn down work. Work is a force that gives us meaning.
Four, write everything you do down. Tell a story about it if you can. When you've written a blog every working day since 2007, it might come in handy.