Welcome to Episode 37 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the unpredictable world of creativity & marketing.
My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, where we’re here to talk about 9 things you need to start doing right now. That’s not to say that your career will go to Hell if you don’t, just that these things tend to be very helpful. Number One:
Stay Close to the Cash Register
Be billable. Whatever you do, be billable. You can have amazing performance reviews, but they won’t matter if clients aren’t paying for what you’re doing. So make sure that when your company wins new business that the contract reflects how much you’ll be working on the account. And when contracts are ready to be renewed make sure that you’re fully represented then, too. Sometimes people’s numbers are cut just to make the numbers work. They may not be accurate numbers, but they’ll get the deal done. As you go on in your career this becomes more and more important because you become less and less billable. Clients hate big salaries and expect you to be a value-add. Unfortunately, this diminishes your value.
Have a Deep Understanding of How Your Client Makes Money
Do they make it in retail? B to B? Online? Subscriptions? Overseas? It really helps to understand what makes the cash register ring. It will affect how you approach your work no matter what department that you’re in. And clients will weep tears of joy if you actually understand what they’re up against.
Moving on to #3…Share Information
Share it and share it at the right time. When you hold off sharing pertinent information, projects or deadlines and people receive them at the last minute, you are immediately public enemy #1. And you deserve it. It still amazes me that people forget to share the right stuff at the right time. That’s not saying that you should have diarrhea when it comes to these matters, and share everything all the time, just share what is needed when it is needed. Knowledge flow is key. It keeps a team working smoothly. Trust me, there is nothing worse than someone dropping knowledge on you at the last moment when they’ve had it for days or even weeks. You don’t want to become that person.
#4: Give Credit Where Credit is Due
See a great idea on a pitch wall? Leave a post-it saying so. Hear a great idea in a meeting? Support it. Wherever you find them, and no matter who created them, if you believe in great ideas then fan their flames. Be their champion. You help raise the bar and help young talent rise. Or more seasoned talent remain. Do this and people will appreciate you and praise your good ideas, too. And they’ll take your criticism more seriously as well.
Face it, if bringing others down is the only way to bring yourself up, then you should probably look for a new line of work. It’s much better to have generosity of spirit than the kind of competitiveness that refuses to recognize when others do well.
#5: Create Something Outside Your Job Description
Start a public speaking club. An agency “university”. A podcast. A blog. A book. Bring in a speaker. An event for clients. You don’t have to be part of “leadership” to be a leader. Anything worth belonging to is worth leading. Worth caring for. Worth trying more for. And it will give you good experience and a good reputation. (Or do you prefer “personal brand”?)
#6: Mentor and Reverse Mentor
Have a special skill or knowledge? Offer to share it. Reach out to someone who’s less experienced or struggling. Also, don’t just mentor newbies and juniors. Hold events to open the minds of senior leaders, too. Or make them mixes to help them stay current with what’s popular today. It will be good for them and it could be good for you.
#7 Work on Your Presentation Skills
Ever notice how most of your leaders happen to be the better presenters in your office. It’s true. And they don’t just happen to be the better presenters. They work at it. Yet, few people actually do work on their presentation skills. Instead of reading up and practicing, they settle for excuses. That may make you feel better about yourself, but it won’t raise your stature with your peers, direct reports, leadership or clients. Start with episodes 6 & 7 of this podcast and take it from there. Stick with it and eventually it becomes fun.
#8: Feed & Water Yourself
Episode #23 was all about taking care of yourself. Avoiding burnout. Playing the long game instead of the short one. Staying rested and balanced will not only be good for your mind, body and soul, it will benefit your career as well.
#9: Meet Other People in the Industry
The Creative fields are strangely insular. We don’t bother to get to know others who we could learn from and who at some point could potentially hire us. Now part of the problem is that many of the local organizations suck. They’re seen as places for hucksters and hacks to hang out. Places where people still wear suits. They’re just uncool. Now if you wanted, you and a small group could probably go in and take over those groups.
Or you could start your own like Nina Bressau and Robert Stahl of Integer did in Dallas. After deciding that they wanted to improve their public speaking skills they checked out a number of established groups and decided that none were quite right for what they were going for. So, they started Talk Shop. Inviting people from fellow Omnicom shops to learn and share how they can become better in expressing themselves. Reach out to Nina & Robert and start a chapter where you live.
The point is to broaden your horizons. Meet more people. Step outside your comfort zone. You never know who you may meet. Or what you may learn.
Well, that about wraps up our 36th episode of Navigating the Fustercluck. Thank you!
Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, and thanks again for listening in to 9 Things You Should Do Now. And if you would be so kind to add one more: Share this podcast, please. Oh, and a nice review would be lovely as well. And feel free to reach out to me at Wegs24x7@gmail.com or NavigatingTheFustercluck.com. There’ll you’ll find the complete transcripts to this and every other episode of the show. And remember, we’re all in this together. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.