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Ask Lawrence: Getting into 2020

10 Jan 11:00 By Lawrence Akers

Getting Into 2020

Happy new year, everyone!


Like many of us, I’m sure you’ve often awoken in the morning this week and realised, ‘Crap!  It’s really 2020!’ It felt like 2019 flew past at a frantic pace and this often means that, without a plan, we end up getting what we get.


Here are some tips to get you ready to roll in 2020 and to achieve the absolute best.


Update your details now!


We can’t stress this one enough, especially since 2019 feels so last decade.  


Take a moment to update all of your documents you use to ‘sell’ who you are.  This includes your CV, your folio, and your online socials.  


This is a great time to consider if your CV is doing the best it can to represent who you are and what you have to offer.  Is there too much focus on ‘older past roles’? Is there clarity of what achievements you made in your more recent roles? Are the mandatory skills clearly laid out so that they jump off the page within seconds (keep in mind that the average CV has 6 seconds to convey your skills to a decision maker) and are your soft skills written in a way that is understandable?  Do you have a niche area of specialisation and if so, is that clearly obvious?


Looking over your folio, is the work current and reflecting a diverse range of medium?  Have you removed work that is too old? Have you clearly labelled what your involvement was with the project?  Does your folio have a ‘wow factor’, or does it feel a little too ‘meh’? Are you trying to be everything to everyone or have you created something that reflects your niche area of specialisation?  


Have you taken the time to ensure that your online social profile (especially LInkedIn) is as comprehensive as possible and contains those searchable keywords that are going to have you be found?  Is your profile picture professional or does it look like ‘cute selfie attempt #66’? Have you asked for recommendations from others to help reinforce your social proof that you’re good at what you do?


Each of these could be a challenging task in itself and one of the biggest issues many hiring managers face is the lack of attention people give to each of these and how it fails to truly sell their skills.  These documents are the foot in the door - why waste the opportunity by not taking these documents seriously and selling yourself short?


Have a plan.


If you leave it to chance, you will find that you get what you get.


If you put even a basic plan in place, it is better than nothing.


Do this simple task: if you’re a freelancer, how much do you want to earn this year?  How many weeks do you want to work? This will give you an indication of how much income you’ll need to bring in each week.   For example, if you’re chasing $85; inclusive of Superannuation this year, and you only want to work 48 weeks, then you’ll need to bring in $1770.83 (inclusive of Super) per week.  Based on a 40 hour week, that’s $44.27 per hour. That’s achievable, right?


Now consider your revenue streams.  If you go through a recruitment agency, you would possibly expect that rate for finished art, so you know that you would need 48 consecutive weeks of 40 hours to achieve that.  Is this realistic? Maybe consider what kind of rate you can charge directly with clients in order to buffer this out. See where I’m going here? You might then also want to consider what you offer your direct clients.  If you’re dealing with small businesses who don’t know what they don’t know, offering ‘graphic design’ and ‘finished art’ is going to get lost on them.  Instead, offering a ‘branding package’ and bundling it all up is going to be a better business proposition, build a stronger relationship and help ease that cash flow.  


The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result so if you’re walking into 2019 and hoping for the best, then you’ll get a similar result to last year.   Even just having a notion of where you’re going and how you might get there will help to bring a focus to what you’re doing and determine what jobs you might say yes to and which you may choose to leave behind.


If you’re in a permanent role and wanting to move, then start putting feelers out now.  The right opportunity might not be there yet however making people aware that you’re interested to move and ensuring that you’re front of mind could be perfect timing.


Setting goals


There is nothing wrong with being ambitious and tenacious.  The world is your oyster and sometimes the stars align in a way that makes dreams come true.


On the flipside, we’ve also seen people who have perhaps planned for too much in one year and have ended up feeling disappointed, resentful, and beaten themselves up for not having achieved it.  


If you’re setting a goal, perhaps consider researching SMART goals and creating goals that sit within those parameters.  Also consider talking to those who have industry knowledge (such as your friendly Creative Recruiters consultants) and taking on board what advice they have to offer.  The good consultants are the ones who will be direct, transparent and genuine with you because they do want to see you achieve.


Anything is possible with the right plan, the right knowledge and some hard work.


What are the trends for 2020


I always say that the people who take their professional and personal development seriously are the ones who end up being the best creatives.


Despite the previous paragraph focusing on earnings, clearly this is not the sole reason why someone becomes a creative.  To be honest, my own personal key motivators have never been about money yet, as I am working within my own personal values, I find money comes with that because I end up loving what I do.  This often means that many of my personal and professional development comes on how I can be better at what I do and live more aligned with my personal values.


With that, many creatives will have no problem in exploring what the trends are for the upcoming year because it will only continue to enrich and enhance what they do.  What are the upcoming design trends and how do you incorporate that into your work? What is the latest software that people are exploring, or what are some of the newer trends in the digital space since it is one that is frequently evolving and changing?  


What about soft skills?  How are you with your presentation skills?  Or asking the right questions during a brief?  Or even how do you deal with someone who may be overly aggressive and do you have strong assertiveness and boundaries skills?  These are all things that are only going to enhance your career further and there are so many options available to consider.


While no one can be absolutely sure about how abundant opportunities will be in 2020, having some guide as to what you personally want to achieve, how you want to grow and what kind of clients and jobs you’re happy to take is going to make the decision making process throughout 2020 easier for you.  Here is hoping that 2020 proves to be a brilliant year for us all.