We often get asked what to do when you don’t seem to be getting work. Or, when you’re getting work but not the type of work you want to be doing.

There’s several answers to that, but the one thing that makes the biggest difference is to go out there and make the work that you want to make more of. People will hire you for what they’ve seen you do.

Seth Rice: I’m a huge believer in the fact that you really usually only get hired to do what you can prove you can do. And that’s a loaded statement because it can mean several things. It can be as simple as, “somebody else trusts me and I don’t have to have to prove that I can do this per se, as much as I have built that relationship with them and proven that I deliver on what I promise.”

You only get hired to do what you prove you can do. Click To Tweet

I’ve been fortunate enough to have that several times in my career where I get to kind of punch above my weight on a project because I’ve developed those relationships and people know that even though I don’t have that in my portfolio, it’s still going to work. I’m still going to deliver on that.

In the commercial world, it often comes down to your portfolio. Click To Tweet

But the really big thing in the commercial world is it comes down to your portfolio. It comes down to what kind of pieces can you show that you’ve done. And as you climb higher and higher up the ladder and you find maybe a high end food beverage piece, like the kind of stuff that I get to look at a pitch decks or proposals for. And people start needing to see very, very similar work in your portfolio to what you’re pitching, because it comes down to safety for them. So if you’re an agency rep or an internal marketing department at a company, you have to sell this to your superiors.

So when it comes down to, “Hey, I found this director and this director,” they’re going to pick the one that has the most relevant portfolio, that just blows you away in terms of “these people can deliver on the concept that we’re looking at,” because it’s the safe bet for them. They can go to their superiors and say, “well, I found a guy who’s done exactly this before. We know it’s going to work.”

So to come back to the spec project, if you were at a point in your career where you find yourself plateauing, or you’re getting the same kind of work, or you’re not getting any kind of work that you want, may be time to look at your portfolio and ask, “what are people seeing when they see my body of work?”

Is this the kind of work that I want to do? If not, how do I get the kind of work that I want to do out there for people to see, because that’s what’s going to generate the paid opportunities to do the work that I want to do. So with a spec piece like this, earlier we were at a point where we were getting the opportunity to pitch on these projects and realizing that we didn’t necessarily have the body of work to show exactly what we could do on some of these projects. And we’d had several experiences pitching, some would have been really cool projects, with several larger clients that we could tell that they really liked our ideas. They liked our pitch. They liked the directions that we were going, but we didn’t have the credibility with some to get them to commit to these ideas. 

Portfolio pieces give credibility that you can deliver that work. Click To Tweet

So we decided it was time to jump back into developing some portfolio stuff, and shooting some stuff that we felt that these marketing directors or agency people could look at and go, “Yeah, I can show this to my superiors. These guys feel legit. This piece makes me confident that they’re going to really be able to make anything look amazing.”

Right there, that’s one of the huge pieces of value in a spec project is you want to push yourself and you want to add something to your portfolio that you don’t have the opportunity to do anywhere else.

Bethany Meckle

Bethany Meckle

Content Curator

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