Friday, July 31, 2015

Make Your Own Luck

For the record, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook quizzes (and, for the record, I am a well-versed hater of Facebook game requests --just sayin').  But a friend sent me the Can We Write A Poem About You? app on Facebook and, being a struggling poet myself, I was intrigued.

I half-heartedly went through the motions of the quiz knowing fully well that I'd still get a cheesy prose no matter how off-kilter I dropped answers on each and every question.

Well, surprise, surprise… I got this!

I'm sure Tom, Dick, and Harry got this little bit of poetry, too. The mysterious Jon D.B. wouldn't have gone off the handle in individualising each and every sestina he churned for the app, would he?

But still, this piece is pretty spot-on. It's pretty much a Freelancer's battle cry. And for that reason alone, I give FB and Jon D.B. a heartfelt thumbs up.
Especially for the magnificence that is the second verse. Damn.

You can take the quiz yourself (if you're into this kind of thing).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Hanging Games

The roller coaster ride that is freelancing would be so much fun if it weren't for those hanging games. You know that? The roller coaster is moving at the speed of light threatening to zap the life out of you when suddenly… it stops! Right on top of the loop. Upside down. Lights out.
So now you feel the blood going up your brain and your limbs are going numb. And this gets you wondering… "Will I ever live through this?"

Same thing with the freelancer roller coaster ride. You don't mind the vomit-inducing loop d' loops, the  neck-breaking slaloms, and the death-defying drops. You're used to those kinds of things. As long as they're done fast and virtually painless. But some people aren't that giddy to give you that satisfaction. Some people you work with have a thing for those hanging games --especially when you're at the receiving end. On top of the loop. Upside down. Lights out.

So what do you do? Not stick around moping, that's for sure.

Hanging Scenario 1:
YOU: "I would like to get feedback on the cost estimate I sent."
THEM: "Client is still reviewing it. We'll get back to you."
This sounds like a 50/50. Even if the project feels like a big one, better not put all your eggs in this single basket. If it's just the CE you've dropped, that's no skin off your back. So just go off and look for other projects to fill in the gap. Even if they already gave you a timetable, you're not to take that to heart unless the CE is signed. No CE, no work, no commitment.

Hanging Scenario 2:
YOU: "I would like to get an update on the project…"
THEM: "It's postponed."
HEARTBREAKER! You've already done so much!
When the initial emotional meltdown has died down, time to review your contract. Are you up for a Discontinuance Fee? We're you smart enough to get a downpayment before you started working? Time to be vigilant in earning your output. Time to be steadfast in protecting your shared ideas, too. Your client should be aware that they cannot use a smidgen of your semi-killed thoughts.
A postponement also means it's just a pause. The project can play again. So make sure you follow up every now and then.

Hanging Scenario 3:
YOU: "I would like to follow up on my cheque."
THEM: "Uhm… it's not ready yet."
Now THIS is serious. The worst of all hanging games --planned or unplanned-- happen at collection time. Your client suddenly goes out of the country. Your cheque is missing signatories. There's a bizarre need to re-negotiate your cost right after the project is done. Stand firm, Freelancer. Hold on to your signed contract like your life depended on it --because it does. And follow up like you mean business --because you do. Remember though to be persistent but not prissy. Be polite. Stay polite. You're not getting anything out of a pissed client. Especially when the delay isn't his fault. Well, not entirely, that is.

The hanging game isn't the norm. More often than not, the freelancing ride is pretty smooth with all the tosses and turns you've learned to live with and love. But when you do come to a stop, don't just hang in there and pray that things work out. Do something. Anything stuck can be moved with a little bolt-loosening and push.
So much like a roller coaster.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reblog: The Coffeeholic Expose

I don't usually reblog, but this is important. This is coffee. This is Sparta!

I, apparently, flip-flop between being controlling and laid back. I'm schitzo like dat.
What does your coffee say about you?

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Heads up, people. It's mindset-changing time. :)

I know and you know how annoying it is when people belittle freelancers. Getting shortchanged by abusive clients, being looked down on by agency-based industry peers. Yeah, that comes with the territory and you learn to roll with it.
But what really irks me to hell and back is when a freelancer himself belittles everything about freelancing. WTF, right?! Downscaling doesn't mean gaining a shorter vision on things. In fact, when you're alone, you should be able to see the big picture better.
And here is where I will start jostling your mind back to sanity.

It kills me every time a building receptionist asks, "What company are you from?" --and you almost always automatically blurt out, "I'm just a freelancer."
Okay, the first thing you do when you decide to join the freelancing brigade is to respect yourself. You're not a bit player in this industry… unless you want to be. Just like people in big agencies, you sell the same thing: BIG IDEAS. So what makes you a lesser life form?

"Eh, that one's a no-brainer. I only do this for the money anyway." 
This. THIS kind of shiitake attitude is what ruins the good name of every independent creative in the land. Sure, sure… we need to survive. But your passion for your craft shouldn't go down the drain for it. Just in case you didn't know, any little project you get is a prospective foot-in-the-door. It beefs up your portfolio. It opens up more opportunities in the future. But if you keep thinking small and aiming for a one-trick-pony career, then I don't see you understanding this.

When you're freelance, you can't really tap the big suppliers you used to due to, well, usually budget constraints. With this setback, you're all "I don't wanna work with small establishments!" 
Okay, back up. Remember that Avis ad? We're no. 2 so we try harder? That's what you've been doing --trying harder-- which means that's what small suppliers do, too. They'll pull more stops to get the job done just like you do.
Now if you find a supplier that matches your kind of determination, ambition, and hard work, you two can actually work wonders together. Heck, you might even grow together!

Back in the day, you join pitches and make it a habit to ask who you're pitching against. And then laugh all the way to town when you find out that you're competing with unknowns.
"Was he a Creative Director?! Never heard! Hahaha! *snort*"
That is not the mindset you should have as a freelancer. This playing field does not tell you who's the big shot and who isn't. Everyone has the capability to shine even without a gigantic agency name under one's belt. It's a free-for-all. So instead of getting all cozy in your laurels, you should still push for number one.
If you've won a pitch against a full-blown agency as a freelancer, you'll know what I mean.

To recap: As a freelancer, you're allowed to make mountains out of molehills. Because you're allowed to think big. Because you see the big picture. Because you foresee a huge-ass future.
So did I sway you back into the light? Hope so. Because this post was mighty big of me. Hehe...