Good Ideas… or Not?

Some ideas for “creative class” networking. More specifically an invite only mailing list for contract referals

For the last few weeks I’ve been pretty busy. I had a couple of contracts going on, various meetings and, well, it was nice outside.

I was also attending classes. Whaaa?? Classes? Yup, I was let in a nice little program that helps out freelancers (travailleurs autonomes) for a year. In exchange for some monetary tidbits coming your way you have to follow some classes and complete a business plan. There are a few groups doing that and 10-20 people in each group.

Anyway, the reason I’m mentioning this is I’ve had a couple of ideas related to that and I’d thought I’d float them here—to the 4-5 people still reading. I guess, haven’t checked the logs since May, yeah me—, see if I’m delirious or on to something.

Idea one: Most of the people I’ve mentioned the program to are either interested for themselves or for a close friend. Seems there’s a huge load of current or potential freelancers. Since while attending said classes I ear about a lot of stuff like other programs, ressources, tricks, etc. I thought I might start a new section either on this blog or on my business site and blog about the stuff I find, kind of like Caterina’s bizwerk. Any takers?

Idea two: Amongst the other “students” there are some interesting and—as far as I can tell so far—talented creative people. Graphic designers, 3D CAD guys, communication, post-production, sound editors, etc. One of the things we’re being told about is how to and why you should network (duuuhhh!!). Funky CSI zoom in to my head; networking, creatives, reading messages from the mailing lists I’m on, shake, add water. Whooo. Why not a mailing list for those people?

So I’m thinking of inviting some of the “creatives” I think are doing good work and seem dynamic to participate in a mailing list. It would be invite only, just so we can keep it to a certain level/attitude/size. Only freelancers or 1-3 people companies, only in web (visual and code), design, communications, maybe sound, video, movies. When you (you being a member) hear of something interesting in those fields or someone you know is looking for such a creature, you send the info on the list (which might be an announce only, not a discussion), interested parties contact the person looking.

Kind of half way between a direct referal to someone you recommend and just random encounters. By being invite only you can keep a certain level of competence so then you might tell someone “I have this bunch of people, I don’t know all of them but they’ve been recommended, want me to drop your requirements in there, see if you find a good candidate?”.

So, a few questions:

  1. Any problems I’m not thinking of?
  2. If you fit in there, would you be interested? (you can also e-mail me)
  3. I haven’t looked but there’s a good chance some such thing already exists (local though). Where?
  4. Can an invite only setup work?
  5. Am I just helping potential competitors or would it help more than hinder?
  1. etc.

    Thanks for any and all thoughts.


aj October 15, 2004

It’s always a good idea. That’s why 5-a-7s are so popular!

I think for the purposes of quality control, if you want to limit membership only to people that you can wholeheartedly recommend (i.e. avoid blowback from someone’s possible incompetence) that everyone realistically estimate what their work capacity / workload is, and realistically state their core skills – not everyone can be a brilliant 2D and 3D artists and do layout and type and motion graphics and juggle the small business stuff.

On that note, business advisors and people that handle creative accounts (brokering) are also good people to have in your network – it’s too easy to get swept up in the creative and completely neglect sales and business development.

On the issue of competition, to some degree there will always be overlap, to some degree there will be direct competition, but most likely there will be more “coop-etition” where an ad hoc group comes together for the purpose of one project or another, ongoing or one-off, etc. In these cases it means purposefully only pitching the more unique aspects of what you do, in cooperation perhaps with another firm or freelancer that does sort of the same things.

mir October 16, 2004

hey Patrick,

Not to toot my own horn, but that sounds something like a post I made in July,

My input on your idea would be that I agree that the group should be selective, but it would probably be to its benefit to accept applications or else put out calls once in a while.

I have a friend who is part of a loosely organized bunch of illustrators called repless abandon, and every year or so they take on a couple more illustrators. They also deep-six anyone who’s work isn’t selling but that’s a totally different consideration…

I just think keeping it open-ish is a nicer way to do business. The exclusivity thing will generate more interest but the membership option will help build a larger/cohesive network, which is a not such a bad idea either.

mtl3p October 16, 2004

synchronicity. Miriam’s talking about skill-swapping sessions for technical people, you’re up for starting a mailing list, Marc is thinking about having Tikiwiki trainings once a month where beginners help newbies, intermediates help beginners, etc.

Hopefully I’m not alone in thinking how all this can work with ISF portals (calendars with meetup functionality for events at ISF hotspots, friend lists, groups, etc)?

It’s cool if you can set up your group. But a lot cooler if we can give everyone else the ability to setup their own groups (closed or open) as well.

I know that this doesn’t bear too much on your immediate decisions about how to setup a simple mailing lists but I couldn’t help it.

Patrick October 16, 2004

Crap. Just lost my answers through a dumb mistake!!

Excuse the “abrupt” answers, I don’t feel like re-typing the whole thing.

“wholeheartedly recommend”: I do that directly, the list would be for more “part”hearted recommendations, used instead of saying “hmmm, I don’t know anyone”.

“business, brokering”: Good point.

“toot”: You’re right, I wanted to link but didn’t go far back enough in the archives.

Skillswap: Excellent idea but separate from the list.

Co-op: Like I said by email, you’ll have to detail that again for me but sounds good.

m-c turgeon October 19, 2004

If you fit in there, would you be interested?—yes i would.
Since i am also into biz starting classes these months i also thougth about a mailing list for exchanging and networking.
I am thinking of joining the ‘jeunes chambre du commerce’, anyone’s in?

I haven’t looked but there’s a good chance some such thing already exists (local though). Where?—havnt heard or read about anything like that since i am back in da big town.

Patrick October 19, 2004

I’m also thinking about the Jeune Chambre de Commerce, haven’t looked into it yet though.

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