This weeks blog comes from one of our customers Ashley Lewis. Ashley has been working as a contractor for a number of years in communications. Read below his blog on finding your creative flare!
Regardless of your industry sector, often you need to find innovative solutions for your clients’ challenges. Sometimes you just hit a creative wall, you don’t have the time or the headspace to take a step back, or you just need a fresh approach. Working solo as a contractor can mean that managing creativity can be a challenge but there are many techniques you can do to boost your creativity, independently.
Staying one step ahead in a competitive environment is often at the forefront of a contractor’s mind. Whether you’re pitching for some new business, or interviewing for a new contract you’ll often be asked what sets you apart, what’s your differentiator? Unlocking creativity here may be the key.
Recruiters and hiring managers are often looking to work with people who can deliver projects but also push the envelope and offer new ideas and ways of working. Whether you’re in a creative rut or just looking for some inspiration, check out some tips below to get those creative juices flowing when you’re working independently.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
If you’ve come unstuck, try looking at your challenge in a different way. Put yourself in your client or your audience’s shoes. What do they want to achieve? What do they deem as success? What will they think/feel/do as a result of your activity? Sometimes this small but significant change can give you a different perspective that will offer solutions that deliver tangible results. For some really off-the-wall thinking put yourself in your favourite celebrity’s shoes – how would Harry Redknapp or Beyoncé tackle this challenge?
Get some external inspiration
Look outside your box and get some external inspiration. Look to competitor campaigns or projects for ideas, and think more broadly too. What campaigns or projects does your client admire, or are you jealous of and wish you’d delivered? Ask yourself what sets that idea apart? Take the time to pick apart the concept – what insight or creative nugget is at the core of the idea? Industry awards can be a gold mine of ideas too, so don’t be afraid to do some research and use that as a jumping off point to build on that idea and make it better.
Talk to your peers
Just because you’re working solo, doesn’t mean you don’t need your own Camp (of chameleons!). Networking can grow your business and support you to win new contracts, but there are other benefits too. Having one or two trusted individuals who work in your industry can be an invaluable resource for providing a fresh perspective and generating new ideas. Ex-work colleagues or old bosses are a hive of information and should be your first port of call.
Use a creative tool
One way to generate new ideas or push your thinking in a new direction is to use simple tools and apply these to your challenge. For one example, draw a triangle and write your challenge in the centre. Now on one corner of the triangle write out ideas of what you could do to solve your challenge if you had a really small budget – therefore how could you execute the project in a simple way. Then on the second corner build out ideas if money was no object. Think about all the things you could do tackle the challenge – the bigger the better. On the final corner capture those ideas that are atypical, unusual or are so obscure they could get you fired! The purpose here is to tap into your creative mind and unleash some ideas that break the mould. Capture as many ideas as you can, then from here you can look at filtering these down, taking the elements that you like. The purpose is not to land on one idea (and we don’t want you to get fired either!), but to free your thinking so you can build out a bespoke solution that will add value to your client and tackle their challenge.
Sometime with a bit of lateral thinking and fresh perspective you can tap into your creative brain. Remember, you don’t have to be a chameleon to behave like one.
Do you have any advice that may help fellow contractors? We want to hear from you too. If we go on to publish your blog you will be rewarded with £200 on a prepaid Mastercard. Click here for more information.