Ask anyone what a normal day is like at a creative agency and you’ll get the same answer: there is no normal day. Agencies go from crazy-busy to a manageable pace to busy again—sometimes all in one week. You might spend one day designing dog food packaging and the next day researching what party food was popular in the year 1799.
While there are a lot of unknowns week after week, some things stay the same. Here’s what you have to do to live the #agencylife.
Do your research. You’ll start a new project by digging in and learning everything you can about your client’s business. Then, you’ll whittle that research down, and figure out how that brand fits into its customers’ lives. In the fast-paced agency world, it might be tempting to skip this step and jump ahead. Not on our watch. You either do the research upfront, or you rework an idea in the end. (The latter ends up being the more expensive option.)
Stay on your toes. One benefit of agency life is working with clients from completely different industries, who have very different goals. On a daily basis, you’ll be knee-deep in any number of businesses. If you’re a copywriter, this means changing your tone of voice depending on the brand. If you’re a designer, you’ll need to follow the brand’s visual identity while still adding a fresh perspective. Account managers and project managers are probably on their toes the most. They’re responsible for making sure everything’s running smoothly and that clients are involved in the process, so if this is your intended career path, you’ll want to invest in a sensible pair of shoes.
Jump in and help. Some days you’ll be swamped and other days you’ll have so much time, you’ll feel like you’ve read everything on the Internet. The key is to surviving both is being open to helping out and getting help in return. When you have downtime, always check in with your colleagues to see if they could use a hand. When you’re overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to let someone know. It would be a shame for an agency that specializes in communication to not communicate well within its own walls.
Challenge your thinking. Part of working at an agency means spitting out ideas like nobody’s business. To keep your thinking fresh, find tricks that help you change up your perspective. Start by considering a problem from all angles. Or, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Write the problem in a million ways. Sketch. Go to art galleries. Listen to a podcast. Immerse yourself in the industry by reading articles your customers would read. Ask for a friend’s opinion.
Raise a glass. Just like a good yoga class, you should always end a project by reflecting and relaxing. But instead of lying in savasana, maybe crack open a craft brew or get your team together to chat. There will always be something to celebrate and something to learn for next time. This is your chance to make those improvements, and to cheer each other on for next time. It makes starting the next project that much better.
What did we forget? What makes #agencylife so great for you?