Welcome to The Message Garage
I wrote a LinkedIn post a few months ago that changed my life. That wasn’t my intention, but it did.
That post was viewed by over 800,000 people in the first month. My only goal at the time was to deliver a much needed pep talk to others forced into a position similar to mine, but clearly it struck a chord.
It took less than 3 minutes to spit out those 173 words, but my mind was pretty well set. The last thing I wanted, at that moment, was another “job.” After 15 years with the same employer, a job meant more internal meetings, more political red tape, and sometimes working on projects for which I had no passion. This is not a statement directed at my previous employer. I believe this is something all professionals experience throughout a career, and work results suffer because of it.
In the days following that post I spoke to hundreds of people. Networking became a full time job. I was sent an equal number of leads on jobs. I forwarded every single potential job opportunity sent my way to colleagues.
Throughout these conversations a pattern emerged. It wasn’t the dominating theme, but was prevalent enough to notice and provided additional support for the direction I wanted to take.
There is clearly growing population of organizations that simply don’t want to hire traditional full time employees to fill every need. Work still needs to get work done by skilled professionals, but in a growing number of cases full time employees are not the solution. Increasingly, organizations of all types and sizes are turning to skilled agile professionals.
These types of projects in marketing and communications fall into numerous categories. Content creation. Preparing for an event. Social media campaigns. Help getting press coverage or analyst attention. Refining the corporate message. Building the brand. Identifying new prospects. Launching products.
There are countless reasons why organizations don’t want to hire full time employees for this type of work. Identifying and onboarding full time employees is a lengthy process. It can also be expensive. Workloads ebb and flow. Expertise is needed for a limited amount of time.
To serve this need there is a growing population of talented professionals who prefer this model of employment. In this distributed workforce skills take priority and location is irrelevant. Where you live, and often what country you live in, are becoming less important, trumped by the need to immediate inject the right skills into existing teams or projects.
This represents a fundamental shift in the workforce and how professional work is done.
So what is The Message Garage? Right now it’s my brand to capitalize on this shift as more companies adapt to the distributed workforce model. I am working with companies to help them build their message, identify the right prospects for the message, and identify the right channels to deliver the message.
I’m not the CEO, or General Manager, or any other corporate BS title. I’m a marketer. That’s what I do. I’m going back to rolling up my sleeves, producing great work, and leaving the headaches behind.
While The Message Garage is my brand, I will also be affiliated with several other leading marketing and communications agencies. They also have a similar need to complete projects when current staff gets stretched too thin. In this respect, The Message Garage serves as a clearing house to process partnering opportunities.
In conceptualizing The Message Garage there were several criteria I considered to determine what type of organization I wanted to be.
The first is identifying the right clients. My skills must match client needs. Success is based on identifying the right projects, with the right clients, do great work and get referred. I’ve already passed on a couple of opportunities because I didn’t feel the match was right.
The second is networking and partnering with other professionals. Even in the short term, some clients have a needs that can’t be met by just one person. Two minds, three minds or more is often the right approach. The whole can provide exponentially more value than the sum of its parts. Loosely formed partnership also provides the opportunity to vet ideas with like-minded professionals.
They probably don’t realize it, but outside my family four former colleagues helped launch The Message Garage. It has been at least 8 years since I’ve worked with any of them, but they each provided a foundational element to help me take this life changing step. Even though it has been many years, I attribute it to a shared work ethic and respect for delivering quality results. They helped make connections, offered insights into running a business, handed me opportunities to work with clients, and otherwise were just there to listen when I needed it the most. I will be forever grateful.
The best thing I can say about this experience so far is that it’s not a job. I’ve had those and not sure I ever want another one again. I’m having fun. I have the opportunity to produce great work that I believe in. I can control who I work with and what I work on.
And that’s the key. There are plenty of opportunities. The market is changing. The distributed workforce model isn’t going away. It’s growing, rapidly, and businesses are starting to more clearly see the benefits.
Every day will be a new challenge and I’m jumping in head first.