What do I do? Well, it's complicated.
“What do you do?”
An innocuous question, and a simple one I get whenever I happen to be standing around at a party trying not to look like an introvert. But for me, it requires a complicated answer that reminds me of the “Hey, Mon” skits on the old Fox hit In Living Color. Complicated, because:
A) I wear many hats, often a few at a time, both professional and personal, and ONE JOB never seems like enough.
B) Even my own mother isn’t 100% sure what I do.
C) I secretly wish I was as funny as Damon Wayans.
One thing’s for sure. I’m never bored. But a recent Facebook conversation with my dear friend and classmate Toni of Purple Crayon Design got me thinking, so, here we go:
I’m a writer. First and foremost, that’s how I define myself. I write. For work. For friends. For fun. What do I write? TV spots. Ads. Radio spots. Proposals. Annual reports. Banners. Websites. White papers. Articles. Case studies. Product names. Corporate mission statements. Infographics. Blogs. Tweets. Facebook pages. Wedding invitations. Birth announcements. Even resumes and cover letters. I make the complicated simple, I make the boring fun, and I write a lot.
I’m a copywriter. This is a bit more industry specific to marketing communications and advertising, but pretty much the same as above.
I’m a communications expert. Even when the media changes, the ideas behind mass communication don’t. So, I’ve evolved my skill set over the years from, say, journalistic prose and direct mail to SEO and social media.
I’m a marketer. I was fortunate enough to complete a dual-degree program in both Marketing Management and Advertising, so I help a lot of clients out with the creative AND business side of things.
I’m a “designer.” I put this in quotes out of respect to the many talented designers and art directors I work with. I do t-shirts, logos, and I can work a layout with the best of ‘em. But I’m still more comfortable in Microsoft Word than I am in Adobe Illustrator.
I’m a creative consultant. Take the above, add 20+ years’ experience in agencies and marketing departments, with a dash of design know-how, and yes, I can totally advise you on how to get your idea out of your head and out to your audience.
I’m a creative director. Sometimes, my clients don’t even need me to write. They need me to help guide a project, lead a team, and provide creative insight.
I’m a freelancer. At least to many of my clients who need copywriting or light design work done, and either won’t or can’t hire a full-time creative. While the term itself implies that that it’s my second job or side gig (it’s NOT), it’s easier to work with the semantics I’m given. Which reminds me…
One time at a baseball practice, another coach asked my 9-year-old son what I did for a living.
“My dad’s a freeloader.”
I’m an entrepreneur. I run my own business. I’m my own boss. And it’s scary as hell, but I love it.
I’m an independent contractor. This one, while a bit more…stiff, if much more accurate. Like Liam Neeson, I have a particular set of skills – the kind that a client might need for a very short, defined period. These engagements often take advantage of a number of my skills, from strategy to execution.
I’m a content creator. It’s what the kids call copywriters (or any creative type) these days.
I’m also a husband, stay-at-home-dad, big brother, son, uncle, Little League board member, Yankees fan, Syracuse alum, sci-fi geek, comic book guy, and most recently, a retro Nike shoe addict. So, short story long, I DO A LOT.
Usually by this point, the person who asked me this simple question at a party has long since walked away, and I’m left talking to myself, again.
I should write about this.
©2017 by Kwame DeRoché