Or: Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “P.”
For the last 12 months or so, I’ve been cultivating a relationship with a small regional shop. What started with a blind self-promo piece turned into an invitation to “stop by and let’s get acquainted.” What I didn’t know at the time was this particular agency had been contemplating hiring a writer full-time. From there, we began working together on a variety of freelance projects ranging from one-off direct mail pieces to full-on campaigns with print, radio, tv, and outdoor.
From the beginning, I had a good feeling about the budding relationship. I admired the quality of work coming out of the agency. I liked the people I was working with. And they were constantly providing very positive feedback for the copy I was delivering to NM from CA.
By this time, we had decided that Albuquerque was where we wanted to relocate. The fact that I was building a relationship with future potential was grease to the machine to set the gears of forward motion turning. We came out a few more times to continue exploring the city, feeling the vibe, and confirming the affinity that was developing between the Land of Enchantment and our desire to get out of hyper competitive/pricey/crowded SoCal.
We thought we had the push we were looking for when the agency verbally offered a position back in October. There were just a few details to solidify. Then the pause button was pressed. Seems one of the big(ger) clients was going in-house with the majority of their work. Which meant some of the needed income to warrant bringing me on was no longer in the till.
Confident that “something would break” on the job front, we packed up our clothes and household items, and moved into a rental in ABQ. Things were looking promising when I was called in for on-site freelance work the first week we had landed. But, again, the damn pause button. Sure, there were still a few projects trickling in, but there was not enough forward momentum (or client business) to move the discussion of employment forward.
During the past few months, I’ve been hitting every professional marketing opportunity to mix and mingle. Seems it’s the best way to be introduced in this town. Here, it doesn’t matter that I have years of global experience working on big brands like Nissan and Microsoft. It’s all about the personal connection, or the introduction from someone already known about town. Regardless of the inroads I was making with other players in this field, every interaction and possibility was always measured by what I knew about the other agency.
But in this market, and not necessarily unique the one here in NM, you have to remain patient. And persistent. There must be little reminders on occasion to keep the relationship at least luke warm.
You also have to think outside the box. Which is exactly what I did when I received an email from the agency saying that one of their account people was leaving. Being completely opportunistic, I emailed the agency stating that I was interested in at least talking to them about the possibility. Sure, my experience has always been on the writing/creative side, but I’ve had plenty of client interaction to know what I was potentially getting into.
Thankfully, the agency also recognized the added value I could bring to the table with my experience, professionalism, and writing skills. The fact that my personality melded well with that of the agency didn’t hurt either.
So now, nearly 13 months after our first meeting (and 15 of being an independent contractor after 2 agency layoffs in 8 months), I will be joining the agency in just over 2 weeks. Whoever said “good things come to those who wait” must have been one smart cookie.