It is cause for celebration when your Freelance consulting expertise helps a client to achieve important objectives. In previous postings I’ve recommended that you add to your website, LinkedIn or Google + sites case studies, which are client success stories, to demonstrate how you work with clients and the excellent outcomes that are realized when you arrive on the scene.
Business strategy development, facilitation of business strategy meetings and marketing campaign development (that is sometimes the result of a business strategy meeting that I’ve facilitated) are my consulting specialties. Special event and conference planning, along with event marketing PR, is an important niche market. Also, I develop curriculum and present workshops in business plan writing, sales skills training and networking skills training. My client list consists of small and medium-sized for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and except for teaching, I connect with clients through referrals and personal introductions.
In November 2011, a friend introduced me to the artist. She is mixed-media collage painter and occasionally, she sculpts brightly colored decorative bowls. Her work had been featured in a small local museum that is far from the tourist areas and in solo or group shows in modest art galleries. Over the years, the artist had received several opportunities to enhance her career, but she was often unable to follow-up and many slipped through her fingers. Members of the creative class tend to have little energy available for business strategy and marketing.
She sold a few original paintings and her prints and decorative bowls sold reasonably well, as did the greeting cards that featured images of her paintings. The artist had recently earned a career victory, when she was named the coordinator for a community arts initiative that is based at her alma mater. She asked to meet with me.
We discussed her primary goal, identified potentially promising opportunities and made a list of objectives that would serve as milestones. Solo and group shows at more prestigious galleries, an exciting offer to illustrate a children’s book published by a small local house and the formal launch of the arts project of which is coordinator were the defining objectives.
A business strategy and marketing campaign that would guide her choice of projects to accept or pursue, to advance the primary goal of upgrading her brand and attracting higher-end collectors, was developed and implemented. Integral to the campaign was a revised marketing message and PR communications strategy.
Good results came quickly and serendipitous fortune appeared. The university agreed to sponsor a big launch party for the arts project. Outreach to the local cable television network led to the artist’s appearance on a talk show. Two gallery shows were scheduled and offers for two more came in, when gallerists who had been acquainted with her work, but had not been moved to offer her a show, learned of her affiliation with the community arts project.
One of those galleries is located in Martha’s Vineyard, in the town where the President and First Lady, who are known to be art lovers, vacation. The artist’s paintings sold well in Summer 2012 and she was invited to show her work there again this summer. We have our fingers crossed and hope that the Obamas visit the gallery.
To review and evaluate the book illustration contract, I referred to the artist an acquaintance of mine who is an intellectual property attorney and he gave the thumbs-up. Because the book is based on a historical figure, the artist felt that period research would be essential to her creative process.
I contacted a local college that has a well-regarded library and information science master’s degree program. Within two weeks, I was able to speak with four potential candidates who both concentrate on that period and have an interest in art. I sent them to the artist for interviews and she hired two: one to perform research for the book and the other to catalogue her archive of paintings.
On the evening of July 3, the artist hosted a large opening reception and birthday party at a restaurant that is now displaying several of her prints. I contacted a pastry chef and asked him to create a special cake for the occasion, a cake that depicted one of the artist’s paintings in butter cream frosting. He chose to portray “Never Walk Alone”. A local newspaper was contacted and the editor sent a photographer. Guests were wowed by the cake. It was beautiful to behold and delicious!
The crowning milestone achievement was reached on July 16, 2013, when the artist was sworn in as a committee member of the Boston Arts Commission, a 123-year-old agency that chooses the art that will be displayed on City of Boston property. This prestigious honor is a 5 year appointment. The artist was nominated for the appointment by the arts association in the neighborhood where she has lived since childhood. She leads art walk tours that highlight the distinctive architecture, cultural institutions and public art in her neighborhood.
Thanks for reading,