capabilities. As Carol Beck, an international videographer comments, “I have friends who
have a small production company in town who do a lot of international work too. I’ll say I’m
going to Amsterdam. Do you know anybody there to hook me up? They’ll shoot me the
name of somebody. With people you know and trust, you share resources.”
The New Loyalty Gravitates Toward People Not Companies
At this point in time, it is impossible to go it alone. With freelance, the workforce is moving
toward greater improvisation and collaboration because of the Internet. The strength of
companies has not gone away, yet this feeling of corporate dependency has diminished
because we are also “linked in” to our network of friends and creative cohorts no matter
where we travel. Even if you start a new position with a company, the balance of power is
not nearly as lopsided since they recognize that your personal connections and online
identity can serve as a powerful professional resource. Now more than ever, the
importance of our relationships is not only synergistic but also central in this social media
environment where your reputation or online presence is just a click away.
The companies that consistently make the list of great places to work are one’s that focus
on developing camaraderie among its workers and this in turn strengthens their brand (e.g.
Google). The shift in thinking is that it is the people that make great companies work.
Relationships Are Not Enough Your Reputation Must Be Solid
Freelance was already a relationally connected business and that has not changed.
However, connections are not standalone because without talent, integrity, and the
reputation to deliver what you promised you cannot survive. Your word and reputation
are everything in this business and friendships are not enough. Although that sounds like a
commonsense approach, I find many students inflating the importance of their
connections. In freelance, connections mean absolutely nothing if you cannot be trusted to
deliver a superior creative product or service early or at least on time. These relationships
built on trust do not happen overnight. It demands a track record of delivering again and
again. This is another reason why the seasoned veterans have survived this recession
because they are able to keep their word and in an edgy economy companies cannot
afford to take a chance with someone new.
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