Praxis | Year Two

A look back and a look forward

The second year of any business is crucial: a business that starts strong in the first year can make or break in the second year. As any business grows, it’s inevitable that it shifts and changes. I’m publishing this article for to share a special announcement for what’s ahead for Praxis.

After starting Praxis on my own two years ago, I’m proud to announce I’m launching a new initiative within Praxis:

The Praxis Coalition is a collective of freelance creatives — designers, videographers, motion graphic designers, animators, copywriters, and more — partnering so that we can combine our experience, expertise, and resources to accomplish more than anything we could have individually.

For more about our vision and goals for the Coalition, check our our 5-minute podcast episode about the Praxis Coalition.

Over the past last year, I had the great privilege to work on some amazing design, video, and strategy projects with incredible clients: Even, Fusion3, Extant Labs, Church on Morgan, Optic, Descalza, Brasstown Chocolate, and more. As I learned more about the fundamental changes in the creative economy, a few things became apparent and led me to launch the Praxis Coalition:

1) The economy is forcing creative agencies to make fundamental changes, and there’s no going back.

Last year, I had the opportunity to sit down with David Baldwin, the CEO of Baldwin&, the highly successful advertising agency. David is an experienced veteran in the advertising industry, and he shared his insight into the creative industry: The world of creative agencies is changing. Clients expect projects nearly 10x faster and cheaper — and much of this is due to the shifting nature of the freelance economy.

2) By 2020, nearly 40% of the workforce will be freelance.

This is true of the total workforce, not just the creative industry, but it has unique consequences in the creative industry. Companies are adapting to the freelance economy, and sourcing more of their work from independent creatives, rather than agencies.

3) Independent creatives love the flexibility and freedom, but don’t like working alone.

An independent creative can make a full-time salary without ever leaving their home or talking to anyone. It’s the first time in the history of the human race that someone can do that. And that has consequences, because humans didn’t develop to work like that.

Most independent creatives enjoy the flexibility and the independence of choosing what kind of projects to work on, and when to work (I’m looking at you, night owls). But humans didn’t develop with the ability to work this independently. Humans developed by working with other humans. And research shows that you are more creative with other people than by yourself.

So how can we expect an economy that consists of 40% freelance workers to thrive and flourish? How can we get our best work from an economy that is thoroughly independent?

This made me realize:

We need a new model for independent creatives

And that’s why I’m starting the Praxis Coalition.

In the summer of 2017, I sent out a survey to dozens of independent creatives in order to learn what freelancers were looking for and what they felt like they were lacking. I talked with people from other collective-style organizations (Enspiral, Teem, The Assembly, SheWolf, Beam Collective, and more) about what they were doing that was working, and what they were doing that wasn’t working. This allowed me to avoid the problems and pitfalls that other collective-style organizations have run into.

I started talking with freelance creatives about the Praxis Coalition, and after I received applications from independent creatives I’d never met or talked with, it became clear that this wasn’t just something I’d made up: This was real, and this was something people wanted.

By joining forces with a team of independent creatives, we provide a dynamic, flexible team for companies looking for a skilled group of creatives, without the overhead of hiring full-time or part-time employees. We reduce the hassle of having to look for a team of independent creatives, because with the Praxis Coalition, they’re all in one place.

For independent creatives, we provide a place for creative support, learning, and collaboration. We join resources in order to create something bigger than what we could create independently. We provide a place for feedback with things like monthly critiques, and a place for learning and collaboration with weekly co-working.

The freelance economy isn’t going away. We must adapt to fit the new landscape of business, and I believe the way to do that effectively for clients and for independents is through a Coalition model.

We’re always on the lookout for creative individuals to collaborate with and join us. If you enjoyed reading about the Praxis Coalition, send me an email and let’s talk.

I didn’t think I could say this, but I’m more excited for the next year than I was for the last. I hope you’ll join in and be part of what we’re starting.

Nicholas Sailer
Founder/CEO of the Praxis Coalition