The Top 10 Commandments of Becoming an Unf*ckwithable Freelancer
May 16, 2017
In: Selling Yourself
- Thou shall not wait for an imaginary endorsement from The Committee of True and Actual Greatness to affirm that you’re good enough to put your work out there.
The traditional meritocracy meant that you could work your way up the ladder—but you’d have to wait for some creep to give you permission to climb each rung. From promotions at work, to having your art featured, to getting your own magazine column, to speaking on the topic of Teletubbies (or, hey, whatever you're into), you’d have to stand by waiting for the magical nod of approval from someone more ‘important.’ But the modern day, independent meritocracy has changed all of that. Now, the Internet allows us to bypass the red tape, put our own work out there, and become our own brand. One that reaches consumers directly—and waits for no one to approve of it.
- Thou shall make the Internet her bitch.
Speaking of the Internet, this is your new mecca. Modern tools mean modern rules, and that means that if you can start a website, you can start a business. You do not need to beg, and you do not need to job hunt—you’re in charge of hiring yourself, now, and the Internet is your office. Good thing your new office is everywhere—which means you can be anywhere.
- Thou shall not let the things she does not understand yet, become the reason why she never did anything at all.
You don’t have anyone telling you what to do anymore—and that means that there will be times when you don’t know what to do. Let that be okay. Let it be okay that you don’t know what the flipping fanny you’re doing, half the time. This is entrepreneurship, not your granny’s cross stitch. Trial by fire is your new best friend, so fire it up and let’s go.
- Thou shall cast a death sentence.
There’s always going to be the temptation to cast your net as wide as you can, to try to make as many people love you as you can, and try to get as many clients and customers as you can. You know what you need to cast? A death sentence. Death to every thing and every idea that isn’t exactly what you want to be known for. Pick one thing, instead. Start there, and start small. It is far easier to focus on one thing, and become known for it, than it is to focus on many things, and become unknown. You can always expand.
- Thou shall start a movement, not a business.
There will be eleventy billion other people who are trying to do the same thing. As such, most people are under the assumption that they have to do something totally new, in order to compete. This is not true. You don’t have to be the first; you only have to be the only. The way you stand out from the sea of sameness is not by having a revelational new business idea. It’s by taking a time-tested business idea, and putting your own unique spin on it. Not something superficial, like a font, but something meaningful, like a reason. You aren’t here to start a business; you’re here to start a movement.
- Thou shall think cash flow first.
What’s the easiest thing you can start selling today? Sell that. You need cash flow in order to
growSTAY ALIVE. Nothing’s set in stone—whatever you sell today does not need to be the thing you sell forevahhhhmoreeeeee. Stop making this so hard on yourself. Think simple right now, and leave the complicated stuff for your fifth year of entrepreneurship, when you heat up your coffee twenty times and feel hardcore about it.
- Thou shall worship scalability as a religion.
Now that we’ve got the short-term cash flow under way, scalability is next. This means that, in the long-term, your business also needs to be able to sell something independent of your time. Otherwise, you don’t have a business: you have a job. You also have a title, and it’s called freelancer. While there’s nothing wrong with freelance work one bit, these are the ten commandments of becoming unf*ckwithable, and I’m pretty sure that getting tonsillitis and freaking out and missing deadlines and canceling client engagements before blowing chunks out of your facial orifice is not included in the description.
- Thou shall become a dangerous assassin with money.
You are going to learn how to command it, how to charge it, how to ask for it without flinching even an inch. Invest in this. Work on this. Practice this. So often, the reason why we’re intimidated by money is because of the stories we tell ourselves about it. A common script running in the background of many new entrepreneurs’ minds: In order to have money, I need to take it from someone else. And that feels sinful right? Re-write the script. Money is a tool we all use to get what we want, and you have something they want. So make the proper exchange.
- Thou shall defer to no one but herself—as a policy.
You can have advisors. You can have counsel. You can work with collaborators. And you can be really, really nice. But above all, you trust yourself more than you trust any other motherfucker out there, alright? You act with honor, and you act with integrity, and you always remember that you’re in the driver’s seat. Other people have a vested interest in getting you to do what they want you to do—not what you should do. Only you know that. And—surprise—you already know what to do.
- Thou shall do what needs to be done. You have more power than you think.
It’s easy to hide from the hard stuff. To throw money / people / pasta at it and hope it goes away. To get caught up in the world and its drama, and to feel like a helpless little pawn. It’s easy to let the bullshit consume you—and there will be plenty of it when you’re in business for yourself. But no matter what’s going on, you must always remember that you have more power than you think. And you’re going to say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done, because even though it might be hard today, tomorrow your life will thank you for it. Because learning how to become an entrepreneur is always less about business development, and more about personal development—and even though the hard will come, the hard always has a silver lining, and that’s the gift of becoming a killer. That’s the gift of becoming unf*ckwithable.