Win without pitching manifesto - Blair Enns

The forces of the creative professions are aligned against the artist. These forces pressure him to give his work away for free as a means of proving his worthiness of the assignment. Clients demand it. Designers, art directors, writers and other creative professionals resign themselves to it. Trade associations are powerless against it. Consultants and outsourced business development firms earn their living by perpetuating it. And conferences put the worst offenders from all sides on stage and have them preach about how to get better at it.

It is a mistake to look to the creative professions to deal with this issue. Free pitching and speculative creative will only be beaten one firm at a time, with little help and much loud opposition from the professions themselves. This battle is but a collection of individual struggles: the single artist or creative firm against the many allied forces of the status quo.

But while collectively the battle may seem lost, a revolution is afoot. Some creative firms are fighting and winning. They are reclaiming the high ground in the client relationship, beating back the pitch and winning new business without first having to part with their thinking for free. They are building stronger practices amid the forces of commoditization.

This treatise contains the twelve proclamations of a Win Without Pitching firm. It describes a trail blazed by owners of creative businesses who have made the difficult business decisions and transformed their firms, and the way they go about getting new business. They have resisted the profession-wide pressure to toe the free-pitching line. They have gone from order-taker suppliers to expert advisors and have forged a more satisfying and lucrative way of getting and doing business.

Their path, described in these pages, may not be your path. Not everyone has the heart or stomach for revolution. It is up to you to read and decide for yourself if you will follow.

If you're a freelance creative type, or manage a design studio / ad agency / etc, you should read this.

Naturally, depending on your life, your reputation, your country, the industry in your area, etc, much of it may not be practical. But for those in the position to work in the way this manifesto outlines, or even for those NOT in the position, but who are crazy enough to risk getting burned, it's a very, VERY good read.

Available for free online (or pay for the ebook/pdf/hardcover if you like).

Yes, spec work is exploitative - but why are these videos and messages always directed at designers?

Getting back in contact with an old friend in Eastern Europe has made me realise some of the things that designers in the UK/US/ANZ and much of Asia take for granted.

To many designers in these areas, yeah, sure, the video above makes perfect sense.

All fine and good until you're already working 2-3 jobs, and you're doing spec work on the side because winning it is like winning a mini lottery for you and the people you love.

I'm not arguing that spec work isn't exploitative - it is. But if you consider an economic situation like the one above... it's much harder to turn around and wave that admonishing finger at designers, saying they shouldn't do spec work. Bad. BAD! And the further tarring of all designers who do spec-work as hacks doesn't help.

Why not, instead, create videos that emphasize that companies should not do this, and that they should always pay a fair rate? Or is that just a dream?

Or to frame it another way, is the answer: Men are men, if you dress provocatively, it's your own fault! ;)