Fireside chat with Chris Do - Weekend

Fireside chat with Chris Do

By Rachel Arandilla
Photos: Contributed


WE USED to think that artists are like martyrs to their craft, dedicating their whole life to poverty before they die, and then their works would be worth millions. Meanwhile, artists who do make it successfully in their earthly life get branded as “sellouts.”

The writer with Chris Do

The romanticism of the starving artist is dead. With today’s Creative Revolution, it’s impossible to ignore how creatives could influence ideas and move people, groups and economies.

We need to rethink how businesses see creatives, and how creatives see business. When one body saw the other as irrelevant, and the other as corrupt, how do they even meet eye-to-eye? I am saying this from my perspective who took an undergrad of Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts in USC. This led us to being trained by brilliant professors, and of contrasting schools-of-thought: one encouraging commerce, and the other, abhorring capitalism altogether.

Chris Do’s coming to Cebu is highly relevant to the local industry as we rethink where to place ourselves — not as fine artists per se, but as design professionals.

An Emmy award-winning director, designer, strategist and educator, Chris Do is the CEO of Blind, a brand strategy design consultancy. He’s also the founder of The Futur, an education platform on The Business of Design and The Design of Business. His informative platform (in YouTube and Podcast) has given free education to thousands of creatives from around the world who do not have access to such means and resources.

Chris Do was in Cebu yesterday for a one-day workshop at SM Seaside The workshop was specifically designed for creative professionals and teaching them how to scale their services, from freelancing to entrepreneurship. Prior to the workshop, we had an intimate fireside chat with Chris at Morals and Malice last Sept. 25, and we got to learn more about design and entrepreneurship, as well as scaling for solopreneurs.

I’m Creative and I’m Filipino… how does that help me?

“It’s innate for both creatives and Filipinos to want to please people. So you’re on a double negative already,” Chris said, chuckling.

How true it was — how amazing it felt for us for people who appreciate our work and tell us “you’re a genius!” completely missing out that we are doing the work pro bono or on x-deal basis. Nothing wrong with x-deals, but we really need to teach people to value creative intellectual property — that means charging for it. Chris Do can’t repeat it enough: Get Paid First.

How do I Scale My Business?

I posed a question to Chris: “How do you scale a business, especially for solopreneurs?”

For solopreneurs like photographers, videographers, DJs and the like, you can only grow to a certain scale and then you can’t anymore — after all, there are only 365 days in a year and you can’t split yourself in two places at the same time.

“First, don’t start a company with yourself too attached to it. I know from the people I look up to that I’m going to run into problems if I named my company the Chris Do company.”

That way, clients will not demand you to always handhold a project with them anytime — and you can offshore your services to other people (your team!). Even if you don’t give them the physical presence, you still give them your personal trust that the project will succeed through the team. What if the client still insists on having you on board a project and you can’t do that?

“Well, give them a money-back guarantee — that’s always an offer that’s hard to refuse.”

Empowerment through Education

Chris shared how his visit to the Philippines opened his eyes as he saw how stark living conditions here were — from the ultra-wealthy living in mansions and the informal settlers living just a few hundred meters away.
Education, he believes, is the way out of poverty. And it’s great that nowadays we only need a laptop and an internet connection to be given open access to education and resources that are free. Chris Do’s “The Futur” has given such a powerful tool to alleviate struggling creatives into learning and becoming better themselves. Imagine what the right tools could do to change the course of an 11-year-old creative boy’s future living in the slums of the Philippines!

I’m sincerely thankful to all the organizers for making this event happen, for bringing Chris Do to Cebu. We would certainly learn a lot from him, and we are also thankful that the Philippines has opened up his eyes and he has learned from us as well (aside from the economic situation, he has also recounted his experiences of “Filipino time” while in the country!)

Thank you, UVNS, Genesis Raña, Create PH, and all the amazing organizers who made this happen!

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