Blog Contributor Les Jones is a designer, photographer, writer and magazine publisher. His one-man magazine, Elsie, was launched in 2012 and was voted one of the ‘top ten new magazines in the world’ by the prestigious New York Library Journal. Les’ approach to magazine publishing is a little ‘off-the-wall’ – there’s no advertising and much of the content is generated through randomness and chance.
His upcoming edition of Elsie illustrates how creativity itself is a global phenomena and how individuals from all backgrounds and disciplines can find opportunity and meaning in the work they choose to do.
Without a shadow of doubt, creativity is an enigma. It can be engaging, intriguing, compelling, controversial, beguiling and wondrous and it has the power to change people’s lives. For many individuals it is an irresistible force that drives their passions. Yet, in contrast, it is something that is largely misunderstood and undervalued by most businesses and corporations.
Despite the fact that creativity is probably the single most important differentiator in business today only a tiny fraction of large corporations have a board level creative director. And the fact that creativity is so hard to define and harder still to measure in tangible terms, makes it harder for creative people to rise up the corporate ladder.
In the UK, graduates compete in an annual summer scramble for creative jobs.
Why? Because there are too few jobs or openings for the amount of people leaving higher education with a creative degree. As such, many lose heart, become disillusioned and settle for a more mundane, less creative role and those talents are ultimately lost.
However, the growth of the internet and mobile technology are now providing opportunities that are slowly but surely changing the creative landscape and fundamentally re-inventing the rules.
Music careers are launched online on sites such as Youtube and MySpace and creative people across the spectrum can connect with a worldwide audience from the comfort of their own armchair.
It is a movement that is, in my opinion facilitating the democratisation of creativity.
The experience I’ve had using Fivver to create the latest edition of my magazine, Elsie, has made me realise that Fiverr is at the forefront of this movement.
Fiverr’s online marketplace is creating opportunities and connections for creative people that wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago.
Barriers and borders have been swept away to create a new playing field where everyone, regardless of location, background, ethnicity, financial status, social standing, disability or age is eligible to play.
Fiverr has created an environment where a young writer in a small town in India can provide words for a Fortune 100 company; a web designer in Venezuela can create a website for a business in London and a designer in Africa can illustrate a children’s book written and produced in Russia! This new found freedom has resulted in a creative meritocracy based on open access and fairness – it’s an environment where an old adage is completely turned on it’s head – on Fiverr, it’s not who you know, it’s what you can do!
What a refreshing and liberating principle that is – it means that talented people across the world are no longer inhibited or restricted by their personal circumstances. They have the opportunity to put their skills and talents in front of a worldwide audience.
This is something that many people on Fiverr have seized upon – the freedom and ability to work anywhere and at any time, which has led to many Fiverr sellers using their income to fund their travel around the world. Their workplace is wherever they happen to be, the only tool they need is their laptop. They are global creative travellers!
And of course, the benefits go in both directions. Not only is Fiverr providing new opportunities to millions of people, but the buyers of their services now have access to a far greater range of creative talents than they would ever find in their immediate location and at a cost that represents exceptional value for money.
Before I used Fiverr as the fuel for my magazine, I’d never used the site or was even aware of the so-called ‘Gig economy’. It’s now become a staple ingredient of my working week. I’ve just this minute received a Gig back from a designer in Ukraine. We’ve never met, and are unlikely to, but he’s just made my life a little easier by helping me overcome a design issue I had with a piece of work…at a price that required little thought.
Strange and different days indeed…long may they continue!
As a sort of homage to both the genesis and foundation of Elsie Fiverr, I’ve taken the step of creating a Fiverr Gig around the project and its outcome. Visit my Gig page here to see more.