Many years ago I worked in church marketing at an executive level. To put into perspective the smallest church I worked for had 5,000 members and the largest 15,000, and all had multi-million dollar budgets. I became very good at church growth and my specialty was creating a huge “WOW” with very little. In fact, this blog was actually started as a way for me to pickup consulting work. Although, after the economic meltdown and my own financial crisis, I mostly write about fighting homelessness, the very early posts, which I have left up mainly as an online journal of an old me and an awkward time in my life, are about church marketing. Well, kind of. The church I worked for did not allow open communication, and my boss (pastor) did not appreciate that I started blogging. I had to be very careful and I could never write what was really in my heart. Oh wow did I just chase a rabbit?
It was during my time working as a church marketer that I was introduced to AspireOne. I was looking for an agency to develop a new identity along with a web presence. How I normally find creative vendors is through their work. I had seen some of their projects and was extremely impressed. They actually were my top pick, but my boss, like so many bosses (pastors) do, reduced the budget to less than a $1,000. (I’ve always thought it interesting that people will pay for accounting or legal services, but when it comes to marketing they think they can do it themselves) I remember fighting hard to hire AspireOne it just never happened.
Fast forward a few years. Brad Abare brings me back to Los Angeles for the position of marketing manager of a large church denomination. Managing communications for 55,000 churches I took very seriously, and working with Brad was a dream come true. It was at this new job that I met Dawn Nicole Baldwin, who started AspireOne along with her husband Keith Baldwin. Dawn was visiting Brad and I was giddy like a groupie being in an office with two of my marketing heroes. As luck would have it, or in my case destiny, the economy got worse and Brad had to lay me off.
OK, by now you may be asking why I am giving all this history. Well, what happened next is how I gained lots of respect for Dawn. See, Dawn really didn’t know me but she started to help me look for work. It was a very dark time. The economy was getting worse and worse and jobs were going away by the millions, especially in anything creative or nonprofit. Dawn not only helped me look for work she encouraged me to keep going. And then when I started Invisible People Dawn continued to encourage me. Over the years Dawn and Keith have become friends. They truly are very special people and I am grateful for their friendship.
The first version of Invisible People was a hack on a WordPress theme. It really wasn’t a video blog, and it was to dark, and the identity was never established – but it was all I could do with $45. Oh, as a marketer it KILLED ME not being able do things the right way. But it has been a tremendous lesson, too. In church marketing everything has to be perfect before you launch. The pressure from pastor’s for ‘perfection’ (without spending money) is insane, and it’s really not how God creates things. God has made imperfection perfect by making us human. These days what I have learned is launch doing the best you can, see how people use it, then make adjustments when you can – repeat when needed.
That all said, from the moment I launched Invisible People over three years ago, I have been looking for someone to help me do Invisible People the right way. I tried so many designers and agencies over the last three years. All great people with huge hearts. But either we did not match in vision or they could not help since I didn’t have a lot of money. One day eating lunch with Dawn and Keith they offered to help.
Now if you work with creatives you may understand this: working with creative people can be challenging. Now add the project is someone’s “baby”, I may not have been the easiest to work with. I do know this and I try and offset by being very relaxed with scheduling. I would rather take all the time in the world to get things right then try and rush. And please note it’s not an attitude thing – it’s a communication thing. Often someone creative has a hard time conveying their vision because they are too close to it. I also work a full time job at a homeless shelter and do all this in my “spare” time. Point is Dawn and Keith were a pleasure to work with. Even when I would kick back a concept in my whacked ‘hardly normal’ way they stayed right with me. They even allowed me to push them a little, which the end result is amazing. Click on the graphic below or visit http://invisiblepeople.tv
If you’re looking for a creative agency that actually listens to you and does beyond excellent work hire AspireOne. Thank you Dawn and Keith for helping me fight homelessness. You are AWESOME!