Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to freelance. Lesson 2: appearing competent

Welcome back, my apprentice. Obviously you’ve learnt a lot from my last tip and have come back for more.

Appearing competent is one of the toughest skills to master in this game.

It’s by no means essential. However, if you’re able to look professional, or even actually be professional, it’s a real bonus. Another string to your bow, so to speak.

You don’t stay in this industry as long as me without picking up a few things about feigning competency. Here are my top tips.

The silent nod

Silent nodding is one of the most powerful weapons in a freelancer’s arsenal.

It’s ingenious. Because you haven’t been around long enough for them to know whether you’re nodding because you're an imbecile or because you know everything. Be warned though, this one does have a limited shelf life. I try to move on every week or so.

Getting angry

Just because you’re new, that’s no reason you can’t kick off. In fact, CDs like you to do this.

It doesn’t have to be about anything big either. In fact, the more pedantic the better. The important thing is to go really mental about one tiny thing and let everything else sail by without a hitch. This way you’re not troublesome BUT it also looks like you really care.

Big words

Everyone knows that using big words makes you look really impressive and intelligent.

The big word I use most is ‘tautological’. This is the best one in the English language, as no one has any idea what it means, least of all me.

So, for example:

Suit: Shouldn’t you change this word to ‘and’ instead of ‘or’?
Me: It’s tautological.


Creative Director: This copy doesn’t make sense.
Me: It’s tautological.

See? You win the argument every time AND you look like some kind of genius.

There. I think I’ve covered everything you could possibly need for a glittering career. But I know some seasoned freelancers read this blog. So if you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments.


1 comment:

  1. I like to agree with everything the client says, no matter how insane, then do exactly as I want. Clients love that.