Self-determination and personal freedom have been an increasing desire in the agency world lately, for employees and freelancers alike. Before we started our first company - 17GRAD - almost 4 years ago, we asked ourselves WHY? We defined our goals & what we wanted to change, so we could have our creative freedom & enjoy our work.
As things got more complex though, we suddenly found ourselves busy with project management instead of our actual work.
Because time is the most valuable thing we have - it was time to manage time better. DAESK was defined in a way, that we can follow our work principles, which became the foundation of the DAESK Manifesto. Enjoy!
We believe everyone is unique. Some folks are more creative when the sun goes down, while others work better by themselves. Everyone has their own pace and power hour. Some tasks require an unconventional approach or can better be solved anywhere but in the office.
Why work like it’s 1999?
Our environment is constantly changing. Daily routines are affected by external events, some we can influence, and some we can't. Still, social norms and contracts often force people to work from “9 to 5”. Abolishing rush hours would only be a minor benefit of breaking up with this gridlocked approach.
Happy people = shiny results.
While working as freelancers, we realized how beneficial being able to adjust your work style to private interests and professional demands can be. At our company we now have people working 20, 30 and 40 hour weeks as they prefer. They are also free to decide how they spread their hours over the week. Funnily enough, we found that flexibility and autonomy made them feel more responsible for their tasks and projects. Check.
Time is more than money.
The success of your business is measurable by how much profit you make in a minute – including the time you're not working. Although efficiency is one of the most fundamental parameters of your business, the same applies to your output. It feels good to get things accomplished, and with DAESK your output becomes even more tangible. We call it “the adrenaline of done”. Watch out – it's highly addictive!
We take the fun part seriously.
To us it is crucial to regularly leave our daily routines and do something totally different. Whether it’s taking a silly way to work, eating something you've never tried before or – if we feel really crazy – swapping our work environment to a different location for a while. It’s all considered out of the box-time.
We believe that new experiences are reflected in our output. While taking a different perspective, the brains switch from logical to exploration mode. As a result creativity and originality are stimulated. And as we all know, they have never hurt any project.
Uniqueness is what lets us bypass competition. While it is easy to do something in a different way, it is hard to come up with something that is different and that people actually need - this is the big challenge. And sometimes it takes time to find your unique value. Until then, these standards can help to distinguish yourself.
Why are people loyal to brands or a product? Marketing or price can’t build a reputation if the quality ain’t right. Challenge yourself and make sure producing top quality work is your biggest driver.
Include coming up with innovative ideas into your daily routine. Remember, that solutions don’t always have to come from scratch. Look at the work of others. Be inspired, but don’t copy!
Deadlines usually work against creativity and can create unhealthy stress. At the same time, they help to get things done. Try avoiding long-term deadlines, and try working with micro-deadlines. If you realize that the amount of work and given time don’t match, talk to the client and cut the amount, but never the quality.
The truth never hurts.
Honesty always pays off in the long run, this means being honest not only with your clients, partners collegues and providers but also with yourself. A few extra bucks can be nice, but reputation is everything. It will lead to more business eventually.
Prove your competence. Sometimes clients come up with ideas & sometimes they are good ideas, which is great. But when they are not: say so, even if the scope may be lower that way. Besides your goal to achieve a result that you are proud of in the end, it’s your responsibility as an expert to try and convince your client of the best possible execution for their purposes.
Another hot topic is price tags - clients always want to see them at the beginning. However, it is hard to tell the exact amount of work required to build something unique in advance. Therefore we start with an estimate and create full transparency for the client later. The effect? Trust, long-term relationships and follow-up contracts. Yes, we’re open.
What was good, what went wrong? Every time you finish a project, there are new experiences to learn from. Use them to analyze your past activities and get a realistic view on your business. Also, when you work a lot, sometimes habits sneak in that you could do without. If you notice that’s the case, you need to change it. The bottom line is, make sure you are really doing the projects that make you happy. Honestly.