Freelancing is on the rage today.  However, the harsh competition and lack of freelancing experience have led many struggling to make something out of their career.  Fortunately, today we’ve an opportunity to have a short talk with a successful independent contractor, who has the been-there-done-that experience.

We had an insightful interview with Adrian Rubin, a seasoned freelance creative director.  Adrian Rubin holds bachelor’s degree in graphic design, which has lead him to get involved in creative work, first as an employee of a creative agency, and later went solo as an independent contractor.

Adrian Rubin

If you’re a freelancer – or someone who’s considering in becoming one – and particularly interested in the world of creative directing, this interview can offer you valuable takeaways.  Without further delay, here’s our interview with Adrian.

Ivan Widjaya (Q): Hello, Adrian! Please kindly introduce yourself to our audience

Adrian Rubin (A): My name is Adrian Rubin, a freelance creative director.  Growing up in the small town of Beacon, today I live and work in Brooklyn, New York. Before settling here, I used to rented several apartments in Beacon and Manhattan.

Q: Please share with us on how you started your career and how it goes so far

A: My career as independent contractor began when I took up a job at a creative agency, focused on marketing, design and advertising. As I built up experience, I decided to take the independent route.

Today, my clients come from diverse backgrounds, including entertainment to advertising industries. My success is largely driven by my earned experience and solid relationship with clients and team members.

Q: What challenges do you regularly face as a creative director?

A: Because of the multifaceted nature of the job, there are obviously numerous challenges that come my way; these range from delayed payments and technical hiccups to meeting stricter timelines. With the experience, knowledge and skills I have garnered over the years, no challenge seems totally insurmountable to me.

Q: Describe a typical creative director’s work week?

A: Most creative directors work in advertising, entertainment, design, web design and video gaming industries.

The creative director is expected to establish the visual identity of the agency or company he or she is serving, and this entails working closely with various departments, including the advertising, marketing and design departments. In a typical week, a creative director performs several duties, including:

  • Developing concepts for promotion and advertising campaigns;
  • Evaluating projects from conception to executions;
  • Negotiating with clients and suppliers;
  • Making necessary props and amendments to projects;
  • Overseeing television and filming projects along with photo shoots;
  • Hiring and training creative teams;
  • Performing write ups and signing off projects before they are handed over to the client.

Q: What are some of your strengths? Describe?

A: As a creative mind, I am always enthralled to come up with ideas and solutions to everyday problems. Besides knowledge and experience, it helps to posses, good communication, management and analytical skills. I often receive compliments from the clients I serve because I pay close attention to details and have learnt the importance of listening and understanding their desires.

Creative director reviewing work

Q: When you are developing a new product or brand. Where do you start?

A: As a creative director with a bias towards advertising and design, I have handled various projects, including those that involve promoting a brand or new products. When such a project is forwarded, I usually assume the position of project manager. Here I have to study the project closely, before setting a team that will implement the project and ensure it is completed in a satisfactory manner, and within the specified timelines.

Q: How do you keep your team motivated in the face of tight deadlines?

A: I am sort of open-minded when it comes to this. I believe a lot of good can come out of the staff by celebrating staff success, encouraging remote working, setting realistic expectations and creating a positive work environment. Projects with tight deadlines often come with bigger rewards, in such situations the most productive individual gets a mention.

Q: How influenced are you by current trends in the industry?

A: The push from traditional media to social media, especially among the youth is something that is already shaping the advertising industry. To encourage fun and organic sharing of information, firms can use beautifully crafted animations or other compelling videos to spread the news on popular video sharing sites like YouTube, Instagram and Vimeo. Agencies can then gauge the impact of the campaigns by analyzing the number of views, sharing and likes. To ward off competition, enjoy the economies of scale and encourage connected services, I also see a situation where smaller agencies will consolidation to form supersized agencies.

Q: How do you offer constructive feedback to your team members?

A: I often offer productive feedback to team members as a strategy to correct underlying weaknesses and keep members focused. I can describe my feedback as polite, positive and tough, but never mean, since I do not want to disorient or discourage my staff members.

Q: What wisdom would you offer anyone hoping to become a creative director?

A: In today’s hyper-digital, social world where numerous channels compete for attention, the creative director remains pivotal. He or she has to plan and oversee the entire creative process, and more importantly offer guidance to team members. Aspiring creative directors who want to make it big in the industry need to start by developing a passion for good ideas. Getting this right and having self confidence will help you have the strength and will to take on any job and commit yourself to its success.

Many thanks for your time and insights, Adrian!