Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gals We Admire: Kim McMullen

As the Principal / Creative of her own design agency, Kim McMullen says her job is "99% of what I love and 1% of crummy days. It’s a pretty rad ratio all around."
Name: Kim McMullen
Profession: Principal / Creative
Twitter handle: @flipsidecreate

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish

The best part about my career is that there is no typical day. Ever! My fingers are in a lot of pies. I might be designing a car wrap, directing another designer on a logo design, writing killer headlines, strategizing for marketing pans, presenting concepts to clients, or high-fiving teammates for a job well done. It’s a big bag of mixed salad every day. It keeps me on my toes and pushes me to be creative beyond measure. The pressure can be nutty, but I secretly love it. Crave it, even.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?

A novelist. I was convinced I'd write a bestseller. Then I realized that I don’t have the attention span for one project. My "Stories" folder on my desktop is proof: 32 novel ideas started – and abandoned – thus far.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
It is 99% of what I love and 1% of crummy days. It's a pretty rad ratio all around.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Standing out from the crowd in a dime-a-dozen industry. There are lots of talented designers, writers, marketers out there. We have to cut through that clutter with a resonant "This is why we’re awesome and you should pay us to be awesome for you" sales pitch that comes from the heart.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?

Definitely. I’ve wanted to write and design since the get go. It’s in my blood. When I’m not doing one or the other or both, I miss it. Like really yearn for it. It’s almost like therapy.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?

Stick to your guns, girl. An old boss once said to me "Kim, you can’t get to the top by being nice." I said “C'mon! We can do good work for good people and make a couple of bucks at it, I'm sure.” He paused and laughed in my face. I quit the next day and never looked back.

Being idealistic isn't naïve; it's gutsy. If you believe you can do it, like truly, deeply, inside your skin and at the core of your heart believe, then you can do it. Bypass the naysayers, thank them for their warnings, and just go achieve the ideal. It's totally possible.

Hire people to do the stuff you don’t like. No job is perfect, even when you’re working for yourself. Inevitably, there are tasks you are not great at that still need to be done. I love running a marketing studio; I loathe phone calls, timesheets, quotes, and invoicing. All are necessary for our success. So I found someone who loves those things and he kicks ass at them. And we are both fulfilled. And the business hums.


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