Last Wednesday, Frazer Merrick held an insightful presentation for everyone who attended the first Cratis Summer Digital Session. In the presentation, Frazer discussed his professional past, present and future, and helped the audience understand more about creating a sustainable plan for themselves as digital creatives.
The recorded talk will shortly go live on our YouTube channel, and we caught up with Frazer to answer some of the outstanding questions from the presentation. You can find his answers below.
Q. How do you overcome a creative block?
A. Usually by getting away from the computer or talking through the issue with another person. Quite often I already know the answer but I just need to think out loud to hear it myself say it.
Q. Do you have any best practices for building an audience for workshops?
A. Relationship building with your community is really important. Who is it you want to target, where to they ‘hangout’ (both physically and digitally) and how might that impact how you reach them. Building an audience takes time, so nurture those relationships and build your network. Its not going to happen overnight, but as you build a reputation people will start coming to you as well as you going to them.
Q. What do you do if your clients are not affluent but are very loyal, from a business perspective?
A. This does depend on the context of the interaction. For example if you’re delivering skills based workshops in socio-economically deprived areas, then there may well be funding available to support this sort of engagement. Alternatively, could you work digitally and spread the cost amongst more participants? So for example an online workshop to 100 people paying £1 vs an in-person workshop where 10 people pay £10. Ultimately it depends on the context and your mission as an organisation – knowing this will help you decide which option works best for you.
Q. How do you reach out to BBC and other big companies, potential clients?
A. Working with large organisations like the BBC comes from a lot of knocking on the door, building a reputation and of course a little bit of serendipity. Build your portfolio and your network, both are really important. This could materialise as building professional relationships through social media platforms like twitter or linkedin to raise awareness of yourself.
Q. Would it be better to hone in on a skillset and constantly work on improving yourself to produce high quality work? How do you stay committed to a project and improve the work you do?
A. Personally, I like having a broad range of skills as I find quite often they merge and cross pollinate between disciplines. For example my skills as a public speaker come from being a frontman of a band, working in public facing retail and teaching every week. As someone who is both self-employed and an employee, I find it important to treat my own work/projects as important as those for my employer – so I set myself deadlines, targets and goals to make sure I’m working towards something. I also really enjoy having a mentor for these reasons, as they help keep me focused and on track.
Q. What are your best practices for marketing yourself?
A. The best way to promote yourself is to promote others! If you build those personal relationships in your professional networks they’ll want to hear about your good news and success stories.
Q. What is the value of the local community when you’re working on your product offering and finding new clients?
A. You don’t know what you don’t know. By being part of a local community it will help you broaden your horizon and discover new possibilities which you might have not imagined previously. There might be an export you were previously unaware of who is willing to offer support or guidance for someone local. Or there might be an exciting collaboration with someone local which itself could offer a variety of opportunities.
To keep up with our Cratis programme, check our main Cratis webpage and sign up to the future Cratis events or watch the recordings for our past discussions.