Thursday, March 26, 2009

I channeled Elvis - I just had to.

When I was first building my freelance business, I had one primary client - a regional bank. This client made up most of my annual billings for the first couple of years. The Marketing Vice President of this bank was very active in developing advertising materials and organizing events for the employees throughout the year. 

Once she had scheduled a big retreat for all the bank managers and she had me busy designing a whole range of collateral materials for this event. She had a big venue reserved, entertainment, food and activities planned. As the big day approached, I thought my part in this event was complete. But, at the last minute one of her scheduled entertainers for the event cancelled. It was an Elvis impersonator. 

Now, I had worked with this Marketing Director for many years and she knew that I liked to try to impersonate Elvis... "Thank you very much!". That was my first mistake. Guess who she asked to stand in? That's right, me. As my largest client, I couldn't say no. So I did what any struggling business owner would do - I said I would do it. Not only did I have to wear a 70's Elvis jumpsuit and Elvis wig, I had to sing Viva Las Vegas with a Karaoke machine to a very large group of bankers. It was bad, yet painfully funny. I am probably the only nine-fingered Elvis impersonator on the books. It was my one and only performance. But, I earned by client's eternal gratitude (my respect ratio I'm sure took a hit) and assured myself at least another year of design work from this client.

The reason I'm blogging about this is to let you know that you will be expected to do many things for a client that falls outside of your specialty area of graphic design. You may have to write copy, you may have to take your own photography and do creative presentations to sell your ideas or even do impersonations. There will be times when you have to bail your clients out of a jam. So, be ready to step up and be the go to person and look like a hero.

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