Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keep in Touch

> This week I'm working a couple of projects for a client—designing feature articles for a scrapbook magazine. Over the past 6 months, they've become one of my more regular clients, which honestly, is a real blessing in a business climate where work from more regular sources has been decreasing. I was thinking about this the other day, and about how my relationship with them started.
> In 1991, I got a job working for WordPerfect (remember them?) I started out as a production designer, then moved up to a position where I was working on designing international fonts. What does this have to do with scrapbooking, or magazine design? Not much (except one little detail that became the key to years worth of work). We were a small team, so we became pretty good friends. When WordPerfect and Novell merged, we were all laid off. My team leader went to work with a start-up magazine, and was with the company as it grew and expanded into related markets. And we stayed in touch.
> Several years later, I got a call from this friend after he received the holiday promotion I sent to him, and a handful of contacts, trying to drum up more work. He was in a senior creative position, and hired me to do a couple of freelance projects. Those projects turned into regular work that doubled my income for the next 3 years. Unfortunately, internal corporate changes took all the freelance design work back to their in-house creative team. I continued to send my monthly email newsletters, and annual holiday promotions, hoping to break in again.
> About a year ago, my monthly email newsletter was returned, saying my friend was no longer with the company (I still don't know where he went or what happened—gotta work on that!) Luckily, I was able to find out who had taken his position, and because of the work I had previously done for the company, I had a foot in the door. The rest was up to me—using my creativity, skills, and work ethic to show them what I could offer. I've been able to do several projects for them in the past several months, and hopefully am building a new business relationship that will provide me with continued work in the future. But it all started with a co-worker, in a less-than-creative job.
> The point? Keep in touch. You never know which relationships are going to one day turn into something really rewarding.

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