1979-1984: First freelancing years

Story: Coming back from an exchange student high school year in Florida, I started my first "proper job" as a cleaning-boy for a local advertising agency  – Tjärnbergs Reklambyrå. I fell in love with the business at once. After deep cleaning the place during an entire weekend, assembling some IKEA office furniture and painting meatballs brown at a food photo shoot, I was offered a trainee position.

 

I worked more or less full time while finishing my last two years in Swedish high school. Doing what? Well, helping out with whatever needed for their client's business-to-business marketing assignments and campaigns.

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My first ever ad. For our client SAPA (Scandinavian Aluminium Profiles AB). Not very impressive, but still my first haha... And a  personal milestone concerning the insight on how important great leadership is. That yellow note made me fly. Positive feedback from a fat permanent pen on a yellow note on my desk, literally threw me into the business of creative communication for life. Inspiring and positive feedback and appreciation for work done is just so much more worth than the money paid for it.

Curiosity paved the way onward 

Wow, to work for different clients from different areas in the society and business world was the perfect job and a bottomless well of interesting challenges. Being curious and a trainee in the early phase of the learning curve, which in leadership training terms is called "unconsciously incompetent", was absolutely hilarious. You know, that state when you are asked if you want to go for a new assignment that you know that you do not know how to solve, but still enthusiastically answer with a "Yes of course!"

 

The unleashed curiosity did of course lead to both flips and flops, but in general it developed into positions such as Project Manager, Art Director and even Copywriter. Those were truly hilarious years with great people – colleagues, clients, contractors and other freelancers.

 

After five years in heaven working at Tjärnbergs, and sailing (Profilen) with one of my "bosses", I followed him when he was recruited by another agency in town.

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My second assignment:"Make an instruction sheet in A4, about how to use the Skiline box and how to mount it on a car. Have fun!". I called my ski-pal Fredrik, borrowed a camera and went to the Saab dealer in town. We managed to get the keys to a brand new SAAB 900 Turbo with a full tank. We drove around like crazy, got stuck in the snow, emptied the tank, got the images done right before sunset and learned how to manually make an artwork the old-old-old-school way haha. But, eventually we were trusted to make a new Skiline leaflet. In color...

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From a small client ad to a mega sailing project... 

My little ad for SAPA above had of course little to do with the agency's relationship with the client and their development of a unique and extremely exciting project – the one-off construction of the world's first sailing yacht built by extruded aluminium profiles...

The idea to build of the world's first yacht using extruded aluminium profiles  – Profilen SWE 8971 – was initiated by my boss Lennart. He generously invited me to be part of the challenging assignment and for a junior sail racing wannabe, it was more than a dream come true experience.