Operation SiteKill : How To Market Yourself Without All The BS
Much as I adore my pretty portfolio website, I’ve been thinking for awhile now that it’s more than a little useless to me AND is a drag to upkeep. So I’m KILLING MY WEBSITE and linking www.startheredesigns.com to my work-related Tumblr blog.
Although I’ve been taught to show between 5 and 15 of my very best works in my portfolio, I’m finding that the nature and pace of my work make this pretty useless.
As a freelancer who sometimes has lots of projects and sometimes works on one really cool thing for a year or so, my output is inconsistent. When I work on one really cool project, arguably where I learn the most, I don’t have a lot of finished work to show.
As a freelancer who works with small startups, I tend to wear a TON of hats - and trying to list them all on a homepage just makes me look like a liar.
Findability and The Contact Form
I spend a lot of time turning down people who send me project proposals via my website. Right now because I’m contracting long-term, but also because I don’t generally find jobs through the usual routes - I get most of them through friends. I don’t need a contact form.
My resume also seems completely useless at this point. Education - yeah. I know people who make twice as much as me in the tech field who never went to college. Useless.
Yeah, I worked full time at a couple of companies once, but the only other entry in there is “Start Here Designs: 2008 - Present”. I COULD list every client I ever worked with, or even just pick the best, or I could just talk about what I do every day and people who want to hire me can take my word for it.
I’m over it.
Maybe this’ll come back to bite me in the ass later, but I don’t feel like I need a resume, or a portfolio, or a contact form. I’d rather talk about what I do on the regular via Tumblr and show my qualifications through my insights, glimpses of my work, challenges I’ve had, and things that I find important.
I’d rather be a personality than a pile of screenshots.
What’s weird is that I think this actually makes sense for where I am in my career. Really I’m only 6 years out of college, but I don’t feel like I need all the trappings of my portfolio class from ‘06. I don’t go to interviews. I don’t answer bullshit questions like “tell me about a time when you messed up”. I will never again slave over a leave-behind. I don’t make cold calls. I don’t print out resumes.
I am privileged. And I’m going to abuse that.
The trick, I think, will be actually making an effort to make this blog less of a “check out these minimalist posters” and more of a “look what I did today” project.
Vizify - Quickly turn your social media data into a series of colorful infographics that can help you stand out and get hired.
I love how Vizify presents my education and career history. I LOVE TIMELINES. I wonder what it would look like with all of my clients? Probably unreasonably cluttered.
Ariel, one of my awesomest clients, asked me to design new characters for Offbeat Bride's branding (I also did the web design for all the Offbeat sites). Not only have I not done much illustration-for-hire, I really haven’t drawn anything serious in a LONG TIME.
I went to the art store to buy some Micron pens, a pencil and eraser (which I didn’t own) and I almost cried with joy from the smell and feel of art supplies (it didn’t hurt that My Chemical Romance’s “Sing” was playing and the gothy redhead behind the desk was doing My Little Pony mod).
We’re not done yet, but Ariel was eager to show her community (because that community is TIGHT YO) - their feedback is putting me on artist cloud nine.
I was worried that people would pick the characters apart (and they still might), or that they were TOO ANIME (they kinda are), but the feedback is so positive. Seriously, the Offbeat crowd is the most supportive and fun online community I know of.
Case-in-point: They’re already joking about slash fic between two of the characters.
Ariel has done an amazing job directing me in the character designs - she really wants to represent a variety of brides (we didn’t really touch upon age or ability, but she’s covering race, gender identity, sexuality, style/ interests, weight and deviance). This is the first time I’ve ever had to be pushed to try harder to show overt acceptance. This is me we’re talking about. I’m so grateful to be able to work with someone who is as devoted to these values as I am.
I often fantasize about a really radical and fulfilling career - this is one of those moments when I feel like I’m really living my dream. Seriously?! I’m getting paid to draw and promote radical acceptance! AT THE SAME TIME!!!
Gee, I was just thinking about this. #alwaysthinkingaboutthis