- in Career
As summer winds down and organizations begin to announce their seasons, auditions, and calls for submissions, those who didn’t spend time over the summer creating their marketing and submission materials are finding themselves in ‘this needs to be done yesterday’ mode for some of the available opportunities.
This causes a dilemma for many, as the execution of these kinds of things can require the coordination of several people and places as well as a monetary investment. And sometimes the question becomes ‘How fast can I get this done?’ as opposed to taking the time to really have it done well.
And yes, deadlines loom and so sooner is better. But if we’re being honest (and perhaps a bit harsh), if you’re feeling rushed, you waited too long to start the process.
That’s of no consequence now, however – you can’t get time back, so if you’re going to create submission materials, you’ll want to take a clear look at how you’re going about it to ensure you’re not wasting your time and money.
Here are some things to consider if you’re not ready to go with your materials for the fall:
1. If you feel rushed, you should probably wait.
Yes, you will miss some opportunities, but rushed materials are almost never high quality. Your materials should be your best representation of yourself – when you submit them to a company, you are saying ‘This is the best I’ve got.’
Do them as soon as you can in an amount of time that allows for you to create something of high quality.
2. If you create materials and you’re not happy with the results, you should probably try again.
I know, it sucks to pay money and take time only to have an end result that you don’t like. It happens all the time, though. When you hire someone to do a service, if you don’t like the result you either feel very unsatisfied, or you ask the person to redo it. If the person says that’s the best that can be done, that usually doesn’t leave a positive impression. You don’t want the same to happen to you.
Now if you’re one of those people who hates everything you do and thinks your results are always terrible, you should consider a) some mindset work, and in the meantime b) asking 4-5 professionals in your field to give you honest feedback on your materials. Your skewed perception probably doesn’t allow you to make rational executive decisions about your own work, so you’ll need to delegate that.
3. If you find yourself saying things like, ‘It will have to do’ or ‘It’s good enough,’ it probably isn’t.
Remember, this is you saying, ‘This is my best work.’ If it isn’t a really good representation of what you can do, then you’re not giving yourself a fair chance and you’re telling people you’re not as good as you actually are. And with the sheer numbers of people who submit to organizations, it really does need to be your best work. And that can take time.
4. If you’re saying, ‘I don’t have the money to do this well,’ you might need to wait until you do.
What you put out there represents you. If it’s not decent quality, you might be selling yourself short. As one of my colleagues in management said to me recently, ‘You should only put out there what will get you hired.’
This doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars to do fancy stuff. But it does mean that you might have to save up to have something that represents you well. If you are representing yourself as an artist, then you’re running a business whether you like it or not. Running a business takes money. And it has to be done in a way that gives you a chance of getting a return on your investment, which means creating quality advertising so that people will be interested in your product.
Your materials are part of your advertising budget. Think of any company that has really crappy-looking advertising, and you’ll understand why it’s so important to do this well. You do not want to make that kind of impression.
While it might seem that this puts you under a lot of pressure, try to think of it as just the opposite: YOU – not someone else or a deadline submission – determine the timeline of creating something of which you’re really proud.
And if you happen to miss some deadlines this year, that’s better than poor representation. Just go get ‘em next year. 🙂
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