I read an article on LinkedIn recently about why it was good to do free jobs – of course given how LinkedIn only lets you see updates from the last three days, now when I need the article I can’t find it. But if I remember the article correctly, the general idea was that unpaid projects help an individual or agency stretch themselves creatively by trying new things or working outside of our comfort zones.
Like most agencies, most of our “freebies” are for friends and family members. Some are in support of causes as with Ryan’s Hope for a Cure, while others are to promote new business ventures like my husband’s business, Steve the Bike Guy.
Planning his marketing and advertising strategy two years ago, we recognized right away that one of the best places to advertise was, literally, on my husband’s back (and front), which is why we bought him a semi-custom cycling jersey from Voler. At $70 a piece, the jerseys are not inexpensive, but the advantage was there was no minimum order, so we could order just one (or two) jerseys at a time.
This year, with my husband and son both needing new jerseys and several friends also offering to wear his brand, we decided it was time to take things up a notch and, if possible, go fully custom. After some investigation, we found Pactimo, a Colorado-based company that would allow us to create a fully custom jersey priced similarly to the semi-custom, and only requiring a minimum order of five jerseys.
After some research, collecting some of our favorite bike jersey designs on Pinterest, we went old school and started sketching design ideas on a template we found online, finally coming up with what you see below:
With the general concept in place, I then worked with Dave Bastille from our Art Department who refined our ideas into a final design that was almost production ready.
The professionals at Pactimo took it over the finish line! As designers, one of the most interesting parts of the process was seeing how Pactimo identifies colors and ensures the end result is going to look and fit as expected.
5 weeks after starting the process, our first order of jerseys arrived, and we couldn’t be happier with the result (as modeled by our son, and future Bike Guy).
There is no question that it would not be possible, or economically feasible, to do free jobs all the time. But I have to agree that jobs like these are a fun way to get a team’s creativity flowing by allowing us to work outside our normal banking box.
It also gets me thinking – how cool would it be to do team jerseys for one of our clients?