Isn’t it a funny word—secret? Sea-cret. What’s sea cret? Is it a type of plant that grows on the margins of the black sea? It sounds like it’s Greek—maybe something from the island of Crete. Well, it comes from the Latin word secretus, which means to put aside. But Latin does have some Greek roots, so maybe the word really is Greek. Who knows? Certainly not me. What’s important is that I don’t secretus the subject of this article to talk about peripheral matters. Also, what’s important is that there are some crucial freelancing principles that are kept sea…cret…hmm, still isn’t clicking. Kept secret by whom? It’s also certainly not me who knows. But I know the principles, and this is what matters.
Only Apply to What you Feel is You-Natural
Some beginning freelancers see the money attached next to a project and their eyes metaphorically pop out of their heads like when Tom is about to catch Jerry. They think that it’s sort of a lottery: all there’s to it is that, the more you try it, the more your chances increase. Reality check in place here, people: that sign ($) attached to a number in every project isn’t anything but a few zeros and ones; it’s machine language. Now, what’s you-natural isn’t just what’s natural. If this was the case, then I would essentially be telling you to not apply to anything, because projects aren’t natural-looking; trees, seas, oranges and Koala bears are. What’s you-natural is what you can visualize yourself doing smoothly. Quick example here: When I see someone asking for help writing an essay, I can very easily visualize myself writing that essay. Were it graphic design or programming where the help was needed, well, all I would have in my head would be monkeys playing bongos. But that’s an extreme, of course: sometimes it’s much subtler than that. For me, not all writing projects are a greenlight; only a few are. All in all, apply to what you can do, or you will end up with wasted time and frustration—and a bad review.
Don’t Work per hour; Work per task
Hey, your hour is probably still not worth much. Why? Because one needs lots of experience, practice, professionalism, knowledge and skill before he or she can start working per hour. Very simply, this has to do with “turnaround.” Do you know your turnaround? Probably not. You have to know what tasks need to be carried out for the project; then you need to know how long every task needs; then, of course, every task must take the time you have let it take, not more. This means that you know your ins an’ outs an’ nooks an’ crannies an’ loops an’—no, I mean loopholes…and sources and “go-to”s and mechanisms and I’m tired. Just…Just imagine that you're the employer. How much would you respect your hour?
Do the Prework
My linguistic eye doesn’t like this word—“prework.” It sounds like it’s a half-measure or unbaked bread. So, that’s what I feel about that word, thank you for asking. Moving on. As much as it doesn’t sound good, good prework is actually very good. And yes, I said good three times in one sentence. Go figure…and sue me…and bite me. Angry interjections are fun. Arghhh. Finding the most you-natural projects is a very important step that takes place before the actual work—that’s prework. Also, taking the time when writing the proposal is also a very important thing. In short, be patient and always remember that the bliss is in the quality not the amount.
The Skill Sock™
I coined this term, not that anyone asked. I visualize that all your skills combined are, yep, a sock. That sock can be glorious or foul. It can go from luxurious, warm and soft llama wool to Oliver Twist’s sock when he was still steeling handkerchiefs with Fagin. But hey, it’s only a sock, right? Improve your skills and add new skills. One by one, you will be replacing worse socks by better socks, and, surely, one day I will see you wearing one hell of a Roman gold leaf sock. Roman. Gold. Leaf. That’s cool.
And this is the gold kept in c-cret. If you can locate it on a map, tell me and I will come find this gold with you “Indiana Jones”-style. They say it’s an island just to the north of…that’s a secret.