If you want to be a freelancer you have to think like one. The philosophy of freelancing is like this; you’re Humphrey Bogart (or Katharine Hepburn) pulling the African Queen through the mosquito-infested swamps and you have no idea how far or close you are from that open water that will free your ship and career. So each day you step back into the water, risking the parasites, hoping the next assignment will be your big break.
The key is to take advantage of your opportunities if and when they come. All you can do is increase the chances that one of these opportunities will knock on your door. The only way to do that is to network. Cultivate relationships. Join associations. Meet, date and sleep with as many people who can advance your career as possible. Be bi-sexual. Return calls. In other words, be open-minded and get involved.
For writers a good place to start is becoming a member of MediaBistro.com. Lessons, jobs, parties and much more. Illustrators can find similar at their local Graphic Artists Guild. Illustrators could also send postcards. Companies like Steve Langerman can help create mailing lists to suit your needs. (Enclosed is my last card. Pick an image which can be interpreted many different ways. This was about financial inertia…and once for aggressive portfolio investing…and later used for exploring import banking. I could use it for retirement plans in a pinch.)
And finally, for humorists and cartoonists, enrolling at Harvard and working on the Lampoon is the best way to get your foot in the door. Alternative, less painful, ways will be discussed in future posts.
Next Week – Lesson 3; Lying to Clients