Whether you’ve been an unfortunate casualty of Covid and are out of work, searching for new opportunities. Or one of the fortunate ones to still be employed but needing to change your ways of working. Everyone is having to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
We’ve been asked the question;
What can creatives do to adapt and thrive during this time?
To get some real-world answers, we’ve spoken to industry colleagues with many years expertise (some more than they would admit). They’ve done more than just share their experiences during this pandemic, they’ve given answers.
1. Keep Busy.
Good things come to those who wait. Right? Not quite. Good things come to those who hustle and keep busy.
Creative Director at Red Engine, Duncan Shields believes the key to adapting to these difficult times is to continue being productive;
“For myself and, I'm sure many of us, we can often become our own worst enemies when we're left with our insecurities. I'd recommend banding together, setting each other deadlines and keep creating regardless of whether there's a brief or not.”
Rework one of your old projects, take a disastrous ad on television and make it better, reach out to your friends with small businesses and help them out. There are many ways to keep creative with all this spare time, you just have to go searching for them.
2. Learn new skills.
“I am a designer and I dabble in animation.” “I am a producer and I dabble in editing.” “I am a writer and I dabble in search.” Creative Directors like those who dabble because it shows a proactive nature, creative curiosity and willingness to learn. As well as providing them with a team member with added flexibility. Tim Brothers speaks about the importance of upskilling during this time.
“Work on your portfolio and learn a tech skill that would evolve your current offering. COVID has taught us that we need to be able to work remotely and how much we rely on tech and mobile technology.”
3. Speak up.
Clearly it is very difficult to have a casual conversation over video call. Something that would have been a quick chat in the corridor with a couple of colleagues has now become a formal meeting, booked in the diary, presenting to everyone at once. It can be daunting. Creative Director at the Hallway, Jeremy Willmott spoke about how creatives need to speak up when working from home;
“If you're lucky enough to be in employment, it's important that you stand out. It's tempting to retire to the background when working remotely (especially if you're an introvert) but being present is crucial. I'd say this is especially important for freelancers who will need to adapt to new ways of working as their agency adapts.”
Being a strong communicator has never been more important.
4. Consider lower rates.
Times are tough. Clients are now looking for freelancers to produce good work at a cheaper rate than pre-COVID. As businesses’ revenues have been impacted during this time, it’s inevitable that their spend for creative support will be tightened. Lowering your rate can feel disheartening, but remember it is only temporary. Tim Brothers speaks about being flexible with your charge-out rates;
“Many clients are now willing to try out new talent if you are honest, deliver great work, and offer a quality job for less. So, look at this as an opportunity to make new contacts you may not have had access to – and those relationships will pay dividends when the world returns to normal. It's far better to be working at a discount ... than not at all!”
It is a bitter pill to swallow, but you have to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
5. Be proactive.
Every client and every boss want to hear these four words: “Ready when you are.” Being proactive and completing a task before it is asked of you demonstrates your reliability and the positive impact you bring to the team. James Sutton from Studio LDN believes a great creative won’t wait for someone to tell you what to do;
“As most product owners, managers, clients etc will be super busy and a little disconnected right now, do what you can do offer solutions, not just creatively but with processes and workflows. If you're trying to make things better across the team, it will be noticed.”
And finally, stay positive.
More jobs are coming. In a time when almost one million Australians have lost their jobs, it is hard to stay positive. But Elliot Owen at VMLY&R believes hiring will pick up soon for those who can adapt to the change;
“There are opportunities amongst the confusion and change for people who can adapt quickly and find ways to capitalise. Things will pick up again soon and good talent will always be in demand.”
The creative industry is malleable. It changes in different political climates, social movements and, in this case, a global pandemic. We need to do our best to change with it. Adapt and thrive.