This is very exciting.
Ever since I left the Agency life in 2011, I have been a freelancer. That’s a great word. That word to me means flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to operate incisively and effectively in the often chaotic waters of my clients’ business challenges.
It also means “solo.”
And, beginning piecemeal in 2015 and in earnest now in 2016, I am no longer a solo operator.
The team is everything, and that was the problem.
I think I resisted getting help for so long because I was never convinced I could find people who would fit my multitool configuration and operate well with it. It’s easy to find “a print designer” or “a front-end developer” or “a copywriter.” But what if I need an organizational mind with coding skills and enough design expertise to edit .AI files on the fly? What if I need a graphic designer who is also quite good at pithy copywriting and able to get deeply inside the client’s world to tease out what makes it tick?
Basically, by doing everything for so long, I painted myself into a corner. I couldn’t justify hiring in a silo when I’d never operate in one myself.
But ultimately, 2015 conspired to teach me a vital lesson: with less mental bandwidth than ever before thanks to a family illness, work exploded. Every client not only wanted more from me, but referrals were flying in and Elance interviews showed up every other day. Clients who had me in an in-house role all transitioned with me to agency/consulting roles, which created immediate clarity and opened the floodgates for more and more work.
There were two choices: reduce, or grow.
Always choose grow.
I am not a control freak. But trusting someone else to do work for my clients was hard. If 2015 hadn’t hammered the point home (aggressively), I don’t know when I would have made myself take that step. But it is stunningly clear now that doing so was not just the best choice—for me, for my family, and most of all for my clients—it was the only choice.
Finding the right people took care and creativity, but it wasn’t impossible. Of course it wasn’t—I only told myself it would be. Impossible & Hard only seem the same in a moment of fear. Deal with the fear, then reassess. In my case, when I examined the fear, I found that it crumpled under the excitement of a daring new attempt; the same insane adrenal boldness that made me leap out of airplanes and off mountains and into whitewater rapids was there, licking its lips.
Once I had a leg up on the fear, I realized the obvious: in the wide world, there are other silo-jumpers. I just had to find them.
Everything is already better and we’ve only just begun.
I’ve got 3-5 people behind me now, people adept at organization and research and social media and writing and code and design. Each one has multiple talents that are all put to use as we do what we do. I’ve hit the jackpot with this team, and the proof is in the output.
Already, my response time (which was the first thing to go when I became overwhelmed as a solo operator) has been sliced to a tenth of its former self. My backlog of to-dos is dwindling. Invaluable followup with my busiest clients is actually tracked and ensured. Meetings are getting scheduled and the Basecamp projects are updating all over the place every day. My ability to fill the pipeline and say “Yes!” to my current clients is growing. I keep hearing, “That was fast!” and “You’re the best!” and “You keep me sane, thank you so much.” and “We need you for something else, too, if you can…”
Meanwhile, I no longer live in a constant state of urgency and guilt over the balls that I just couldn’t keep in the air as a freelancer. I sleep better. I wake earlier. I am excited about this work again, and with an incredible team building and buzzing around me, my clients are even more excited about what we do for them… which is, essentially: more, faster.
This whole operation has been running off of www.sarahfeidt.com as Creative Multitool for years now. That site has been essential, but let’s face it: the portfolio is woefully out of date (because the cobbler’s kids have no shoes, per usual), the design isn’t fresh anymore, “Creative Multitool” never did really flow off the tongue, and most importantly, it’s unfair to this awesome crew to pretend that it’s all me anymore. It’s all new around here, so let’s look like it.
Here’s the skinny:
- We’re now Multitool. Same, yet different. Feels good.
- The domain is brand spankin’ new.
- We’ve kept the ducks in a row (because I hear all the time that you guys love those little ducks, and honestly, so do I) and we still start with a splash.
- The portfolio is WAY more current.
- The design is exponentially fresher, and so very scalable, because we aren’t even close to finished with this growth spurt!
- We’ve got this shiny little blog here, which will hopefully inform and amuse you as we go.
- We’re planning some very occasional newsletter missives, so make sure you sign up on the right.
- And there’s even a store in the works, full of useful tools for marketing departments of all sizes and DIY primers, guides, and support for small businesses that need clarity and a roadmap on a tight budget.
Nobody likes a disembodied head.
I’m still the face of Multitool. But now, the face has a body. It’s more complete and more capable, while still being the same great work that has inspired my clients to stick with me over the years even when we hit potholes.
For the projects best suited to a single freelancer, you can still get that! Sometimes, one ninja gets the job done.
But now, we have an agency offering that covers all the bases, for when a bevvy of ninjas is needed. Our agency clients rely on us to build and maintain their websites, SEO programs, social media posts, advertising, trade show schedule, design, inbound marketing funnels, press releases, branding, collateral, presentations, and more. So whether you need a ninja or the whole shebang, you’re going to be happy with us.
And our prices are pretty much the same, too. How exciting is that?
Thank you to all the clients whose satisfaction, enthusiasm, flexibility and recommendations have gotten us this far. You’re the reason we’re here. We all look forward to bringing you even better work than ever before, with better responsiveness, broader capacity, and the same sharp, high-quality work you’ve come to expect.