Creative management

There are gifted creative people who can manage their careers and the businesses they build around them. They can swing from recording studio to accountant’s office without worry. There are also people who can run 100 metres in less than 10 seconds – just not many.

Creatives want to create. They don’t usually want to spend time on taxation, insurance, sales, staff problems, landlords, production management, bank reconciliations, client liaison, contract negotiations, marketing strategies or PR. But in business all these subjects, and many more, need attention. Hence the need for a manager.

Good managers, though, are hard to find and expensive to keep. For a single creative person to be able to afford a good manager, they are likely very successful and already working with several freelance professionals to manage various aspects of their business. Managers at that level spend most of their time dealing with strategic career planning, contract negotiations, overseeing the financial details and personal management.

Most solo freelance creatives can’t afford a full time manager, but there still are some options:

For the first three options to work effectively, there usually needs to be a ratio of at least four creatives per manager for the cost of the manager not to overly burden the creatives. Six to one is probably too high and the manager will need a full time assistant. Eight to ten creatives, one manager and two full time assistants is about the maximum for a single manager.

It’s important to note that a manager/creative relationship is a symbiotic one. Each needs and supports the other. For both to flourish, there must be mutual trust and understanding. And since there are several different types of management styles and it’s important to choose the right person for the job.

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