Just Between Us Freelancers

If you're on the inside looking out, you'd think these independent creative workers roaming the outskirts of your precious industry must all be wild, desperate humanoids who stab backs and feed on each others' young.

You'd be surprised because we're not like that. Well, most of the time.
Freelancers actually have good relationships with their like-minded peers. People who are supposed to be our arch nemesis are also our valuable allies. I guess our flexibility has mellowed us down into a fun, friendly community.

A great way to illustrate is through a pitch...

1. We Compete and Cuddle.
In contrast to the corporate culture, we don't jump into a business pitch thinking that a pay increase, a promotion, or an award on a mantel is on the line. We think of a pitch as a chance to catch up with old industry friends who have also gone Indie. Wiping them off the face of the business is only an extra perk.

2. We Connect and Contribute.
Freelancers are big on networking and sharing --from new gadget options to project leads. We're not so competitive that we go greedy. When our plate is full and another project comes in, the first thing we do is refer a colleague who's usually our professional rival whom we know can do epic work on the job.

3. We Co-work and Collab.
Freelancers don't always work alone. When projects are big, we get together and form a dream team. Now this kind of dynamic does not always happen in the corporate world. An ad agency working with another ad agency is just unheard of. Well, not in the crazy world that is Freelancing.

4. We Coffee and Cope.
Only Freelancers get what Freelancers are going through. And so, at the end of a gruelling day, we get together for coffee and rant about life. We cry and then we laugh. And then we live to compete with each other another day. It's routine. And we love it.

5. We Conform to the Code.
We do not dip into the client pool of a co-Indie's unless invited to. No snakes in the grass here. It's an unspoken rule and an unwritten code that every member of the free work force knows about and abides by. Whoever won the biz owns that shizz.

6. We Collect and Celebrate
Come payday (which isn't your regular, run-of-the-mill payday), we party up our spoils with people who know how hard it was to get that production cost approved. Usually, with partners who will easily be our competitors at the next pitch. Usually, over squid balls, barbecue, Kropek, and beer.

Freelancing is hard. We do bare our claws when needed. But we also keep in mind that we are still a small, tight little bunch that would rather co-exist than battle it out with fists. I guess freedom does give you a different perspective on things. Not everything has to be a war.
If you yourself have been on the inside looking out, and are now on the outside looking in, you'll know what I mean.


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