Creative Director Adrian Rubin has been building his Philadelphia-based business as a freelancer for more than a decade in which he has worked across a range of different industries including Movies, TV, and advertising.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
Throughout my childhood, I always felt I was creative and interested in the arts which I tried to follow after going to college. I started my freelance business after working in customer service and feeling I wasn’t living the life I wanted in terms of my career. Eventually, I moved to Philadelphia and began knocking on doors looking for work until I got my first project as a creative director.
How do you make money?
I oversee many different projects and make sure the creative side of every project is completed in a way that is eye-catching and fits into the overall branding of my clients. Lots of my work is in the advertising industry where I often head up a team of people who are working towards a specific deadline and must all complete their individual’s projects on time.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I’ve been in Philadelphia for more than a decade and for around half that time life was a struggle as I built my customer base but now I am often offered more work than I can handle and have to turn down projects. As a freelancer, it is difficult to put a specific date on when I began to turn a profit but I believe it took around five years for me to feel comfortable in pursuing my career in a safe and secure way.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Of course, there were plenty of times when I worried I’d never get regular customers or panicked when the number of projects I was being offered arrived at a snail’s pace but I always had confidence in my abilities. I am a yoga enthusiast and use this as a form of meditation to clear out all the negative thoughts which can creep into my mind when I feel things aren’t going my way.
How did you get your first customer?
I went out and hit the pavement with a portfolio of my work and knocked on doors asking for work. Eventually, a small advertising agency handed me a tiny project which I completed in a few hours but started a snowball effect of work rolling in from that one source and then companies in other sectors.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
It’s the 21st-century, we all need a professional social media presence whether Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram these resources are a great way of marketing oneself as a potential employee or business partner. Linkedin has been a great source of contacts and clients for myself.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
As a freelancer I have always worked on a first come, first served basis which I began to question when I was offered a major project with a movie production company. The problem was I had already accepted number of projects which were not as high-profile but turning down the movie company was the right thing to do, even though it hurt my pride to say no at the time.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
After a decade as a freelancer, I can tell anybody who asks there really is no specific secret to success other than using your own skills. I’d tell any potential entrepreneur to stay focused, look professional, and meet their deadlines each and every time and success will follow because of your hard work and effort.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I’d say getting my first job as a freelancer after spending a long time being unhappy working in customer service roles. Getting that first job really brought it home that I could live in Philly and work in a creative profession, largely on my own terms.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
At the moment I’m a sole proprietor and a single freelancer working on my own. My aim is to expand my business and add employees who can streamline the process of completing projects. Adding new employees and improving my business is something I have been working towards for a few years now.
What business books have inspired you?
I recently read, “Losing My Virginity” by Sir Richard Branson and loved his attitude towards creating a business which should reflect the fun side of life we would all like to live.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I purchased a membership to a local yoga class which has allowed me to clear my mind of all kinds of clutter and outside influences which can affect the daily running of my business. Feeling healthy also makes you happier and more productive which makes me happy on many different levels.
Do you think you will stay in Philadelphia for the whole of your career?
I love living in Philly and have made so many contacts, clients, and friends, that I really can’t imagine starting again in another city where the name Adrian Rubin isn’t as well known.