What’s talent got to do with it?

By Justine Clay


I moved to New York City 15 years ago and continue to be amazed by the sheer number of incredibly talented people that live and work here. Not only am I lucky enough to represent a good handful of them at Plum Creative, but all of my good friends (including my husband) are really talented artists. Whether they’re designers, jewelers, craftsmen or musicians – they’re the real deal.

So, why do some people have wildly successful commercial creative careers, while others barely scratch a living? I’ll give you a hint – It’s not their talent (at least not JUST their talent), but rather their ability to effectively communicate and pitch it to people who have a genuine need for their skill or service.

So, how does a creative make sure they’re one of the wildly successful ones?  Here are some tips.

1) Know what makes you unique
Can you sum up your unique skill or talent in less than 30 seconds?  If not, sit down with a piece of paper and pen and answer the following questions:

– What is your unique skill? Get really specific – there are lots of freelancers out there
– What do people always come to you for?
– How does your unique skill benefit the client?

2) Know your audience
Now you know what makes you unique you can figure out who has a real need for your services.  Are you a graphic designer who excels in typography?  Then your target audience might be magazines, publishers, branding and design agencies.

3) Connect with your audience on multiple levels
Your future clients are not seeking you out, you’ve got to reach out to them.  It’s all about building relationships so try to connect on multiple levels – in-person and on-line.  For example, you could call prospective clients directly to request a meeting and attending industry events while also building connections on social media sites and writing/commenting on blogs.

4) Delivering work that exceeds expectations
Now you’ve got the project make sure your do an incredible job.   Be professional, manage the project seamlessly and delivery outstanding results. A happy client is a repeat client.