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Finding A Rhythm In Lockdown with Creative Freelancer Cosmo

Finding A Rhythm In Lockdown with Creative Freelancer Cosmo | Freelance Creative
Kat Shepherd
Kat Shepherd
March 30, 2022
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If you work within a creative industry, finding time to recharge your batteries and encourage creativity can be difficult. It’s often a balancing act between paid work and finding an outlet for your own enjoyment. But for Freelance Creative, Cosmo Soave Smith, it came at the same time during the first lockdown. An impulsive purchase of premium audio equipment suddenly spurned him forward during creative lulls.

We asked Cosmo about his freelance career to date, keeping clients happy with his creative ideas and revisiting his music collection - whilst keeping his neighbours happy!

Starting his freelance career in 2011, Cosmo first discovered YunoJuno shortly after and describes his own career as growing steadily with the evolution of the online platform. Since then, he has gained valuable experience as a Creative professional and feels the key to success on creative projects comes down to one key feature;

Let’s start with simplicity. If something can be delivered simply then that should be celebrated. ‘Simple and smart’ is a wonderful space to play in.

Example Client: Nando's: Helping people understand who they are as a brand and what sets them apart from the rest of peri imitators, in a way their audience would enjoy.

When asked about a recent project that had run smoothly, Cosmo shared;

My creative partner and I worked with a brand that sponsors a gig space, but research showed that patrons weren't fully understanding who the sponsor was or what they did. It was a chance to simplify things and that was really joyous. At the end of the day as marketers we want to usefully inform whilst entertaining, and I massively enjoyed coming up with creative that educated the audience about the sponsor’s brand and product using lyrics from their favourite tracks.

With a clear focus on keeping things simple, Cosmo likes to incorporate a list to help set expectations with clients on new projects, sharing his approach for keeping things in check;

Again, this might sound elementary but I like to be crystal clear about what we’re expected to produce. I've always been a list guy, so a deliverables list from the client lets me conclusively check things, allowing for complete creative headspace. With such tight deadlines it’s important nothing is missed.

So, how does Cosmo feel clients can stay ahead of the game and even change their approach when working with creative freelancers? He shares;

I would love to see agencies nurture their talent more, across all seniority levels. We work in creative industries, yet it seems no one is taking the time to explore creativity. We all work so hard to deliver things in record time that I think if one agency put a focus on freeing up some hours for group learning, it would be groundbreaking.
Example work: Some concepts for Ladbrokes that never made it to production. Moving beyond your usual shiny footballers posturing, instead capturing the exciting physical feeling of betting. The idea was 'It's More Than Winning'.

When it came to exploring his own creative flair during the lockdowns, Cosmo found red wine, good headphones and lossless audio streaming services helped him get through the pandemic, and staying creative whilst being confined.

Like many of us I found myself leaning on wine to spice up being stuck in the flat. And so as you do I was listening to more music. I decided to stump up for some decent equipment and I was stunned how energising high-fidelity audio was. We've become so used to radio-quality Spotify and trash headphones that we've forgotten how powerful music can be. I found myself writing concepts with feverish enthusiasm whilst crashing around my flat. (I told my neighbours I was practising judo.)

Aside from listening to good music, we asked Cosmo what advice he would give to anyone considering a career in the creative industry;

Being a Creative is a weird gig as to remain in employment you have to be a bit of a freak who scrubs up well. The longer you’re in the game, the better you scrub up. But you also naturally start to lose the weird goblin part of you that thinks a bit differently. So make sure you don’t lose your spark as time goes on. Try to get weirder! (Within reason of course. No need to sleep in the shed once a week or channel Mick Hucknall. Certainly not both at the same time. Your neighbours will be appalled.)

Example Client: Nando's: Helping people understand who they are as a brand and what sets them apart from the rest of peri imitators, in a way their audience would enjoy.

Sharing the best advice he’s received so far during his time as a freelance creative, Cosmo says;

I can give you some good advice learned from some bad advice! I was told quite early on that ‘The only good thing standing in front of a great idea is a good one.’ I guess from that I took you should never stop working really hard.  For years I would relentlessly work on more and more ideas, never satisfied. I sat juicing my brain for hours and left the office day after day with a brain that feels like it's been through a mangle. Sure, you can get to great ideas this way. But you can also get great ideas from playing table tennis. Or taking the bins out. Or going into a cafe and getting a fried egg sarnie. Or watching YouTube reruns of The Fast Show. Or reading a magazine (remember those?). And if still you've still got nothing, at least now you've had a break, so you can get back to the brain juicing. My point is, some of the best creative ideas come when you think you’re not working. So don’t just take a break every now and again. Sneak off to the cinema at lunch. Take a long walk on a tight deadline. Take a notepad to an exhibition and see how the brief would work if it were an abstract painting. Being a Creative is a wonderful job. And if you treat it too much like work, you’re not just suffocating the possibilities, you’re wasting a blessing of a career.

If you’re looking to work with a music-loving freelance creative, why not book Cosmo here.

AspectEmployeeIndependent Contractor
Control and supervisionDirect control over how, when, and where to workFreedom to set their own schedules and methods
PaymentRegular wages; taxes withheld by employerPaid per project; responsible for their own taxes
BenefitsHealth insurance, retirment plans, paid leaveMust arrange their own benefits
TerminationOften requires notice and may include severanceCan usually be terminated at any time without benefits
Tools and equipmentProvided by the employerTypically use their own tools
Cosmo is a former Luxury, Lifestyle & Technology journalist turned concept creative. A career freelancer, over the last 11 years he's loved working at agencies like Poke, AnalogFolk, COPA90 and Ogilvy Amsterdam, as well as helping brands like Headspace go digital. Currently he writes industry-related pieces in the Future Strategy Club magazine.
Cosmo Soave Smith, Creative Team
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