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  • Writer's pictureSimon Baker

The Death of Free Ideas and How It Changed Our Business

Choosing Project Suppliers

Not too long ago, I found myself in a familiar yet uncomfortable position. I was working on our website and quickly realised I didn't have the skills or time to develop it to the level it needed to be. Naturally, I started looking for someone to help us with the structure and implementation. I had some firm ideas about our branding and business goals and also wanted it to be interactive and innovative. And I had a lot of questions!

Finding reputable web developers wasn't hard, but I found it difficult to proceed with any of them without an option for some initial creative advice. I wanted to talk to a person and explain what I was looking for and what I was trying to achieve. I found lots of developers with good-looking portfolios and glowing testimonials, the roadblock was that I couldn't actually talk to anyone. The only option was a full blown commitment, straight into the sales pipeline basically, and that was just too soon for me. Let's go on a date or two before we get married, eh?

ideas explosion

It was then that I thought: Am I just looking to get something for free here? A shiver went up my spine as I felt like a classic 'nightmare client'. "Hey, show me something good, and I might hire you?" I quickly realized that wasn't the case. In terms of what I would need to pay for the main website project, I was more than happy to pay a smaller fee for 'one-off' creative consultancy. I wanted to discuss my ideas, hear what they thought, and get a sense of what they could do with our website, how they work, and perhaps even a ballpark cost. This preliminary consultation would give me confidence in proceeding, and the developer wouldn't be out of pocket. Money well spent I thought.

The Birth of Creative Kickstarter

That realization sparked an idea: why don't we offer a similar service for our clients? So, Creative Kickstarter was born. For a small fee, we meet with potential clients to answer questions, brainstorm ideas and discuss creative approaches for their brand.

To make these sessions effective, we've designed a comprehensive survey in our order form. This gets us up to speed with what Creative Kickstarter clients are looking for, allowing us to hit the ground running and make full use of the time.

The feedback we've received has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Confidence and Reassurance: Many clients just need reassurance that their direction looks right.

  • A Smorgasbord of Ideas: Some clients appreciate a range of ideas to ponder and develop further.

  • Fresh Perspectives: Others value the new direction and insights they hadn't considered before.

  • Objectivity: Fresh eyes and ears on your ideas and business offerings can really help create clarity.

The Creative Services Conundrum

The creative services industry has an unfortunate and long-standing tradition of 'pitching'—giving away valuable intellectual property for free to win business. This practice not only devalues our expertise but also sets a problematic dynamic where the Creative specialist is seen as the one to jump through hoops. Imagine going to a lawyer or an architect and asking them to draft a plan for free, with no guarantee of future business. It sounds absurd, right? Yet, in the creative world, it's almost expected.

Conclusion: A Better Idea

I'm pleased to see that the practice of 'pitching' is slowly dying in the creative services and marketing world. Agencies are now selling based on their thought leadership and experience, rather than specific ideas given away for free. This shift leaves a valuable space for creative advisory services, which we're happy to fill with our dynamic and people focused product - Creative Kickstarter.

If you're looking for a fresh perspective on your brand, need reassurance on your current direction, or simply want to brainstorm new ideas with experienced professionals, consider booking a Creative Kickstarter session. We're here to help turn your ideas into action.


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