The pony-ride is over!! Breaking up with staffing agencies!!
For the past several years I’ve been working a lot with Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver based staffing agencies. As a independent creator I don’t always have the time to vet out or pitch for work. So this for me was a perfect arrangement. These companies could more or less handle all the business, sales, taxes, contributions, etc. Which allowed me to primarily focus on the creative. It’s also always good to have more then one income stream so this was a simple and effective way to sustain a side hustle.
Today however, I stand independent. Pulling myself out of the last candidacy roster. Going forward, only offering equitable partnerships to focus on business growth. And here’s the T why I’ve had to break-up with staffing agencies.
While there have been some really wonderful opportunities through these routes. I’ve also seen a change in the tactics and availability of work through them with some companies having months between gigs. So either the client base is drying up entirely or the companies are simply using my portfolio to bolster their sales pitches/rosters and then assigning the actual gigs they win at top dollar to creatives with lower rates so they can take a higher premium off the top. Back in the day we called that the “bait and switch”. Now I can’t say for certain if this is the case in ALL of the agencies but I mean digital art directors are in high demand and my rates aren’t ridiculous vs my experience. If you do a LinkedIn search right now, hundreds of jobs come up, in the Toronto area alone. I’m fairly confident I have the experience to land perhaps 25% of them modestly. I don’t know a single other designer with more then 300 top-tier brands in their career portfolio, with the creative archives to back it up. I’m not trying to sound arrogant here, anyone that meets me in person knows I am a very humble and sweet guy. I’m just trying to point out the facts so you can understand and perhaps empathize with my perception of why I feel there shouldn’t be such large gaps between gigs with “thriving agencies”. I mean I’d ride that unicorn all day to the bank if I had another aside from myself in my roster. But this pony ride is over.
Honestly, I wish a few years back I had the business experience I have today. It’s taken me years to really understand some business models. It’s unfortunate because some of the people I’ve worked along side, are really wonderful people that I respect dearly. It’s not personal, clearly it’s all just business. Being an emotional guy, that just doesn’t work for me. So, I’ll continue to carve my own path with my own values as the backbone of my business. It’s become apparent that overall, staffing agencies unintentionally or intentionally (I can’t make that call) are damaging creators brands and negatively affecting market rates by driving down real-world hourly prices for professionals at high caliber. This is why I’ve chosen to part ways.
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