More Ninja Tips!
For those of you that went, welcome back from Emerald City! I took crazy advantage of a whole weekend of sunshine and spent most of my time outside. It was lovely. I’ve got a post or two in the hopper, but in the mean time, I offer a few more Ninja Tips. Enjoy.
1. Good freelancers refer other good freelancers.
Knowing when to say “No” to a job is a skill everyone should cultivate. But very rarely should “No” end the deal.
Using it: Talk to your peers; learn what they do, where their strengths lie, and what type of work they enjoy taking. Then get in the habit of recommending others when you can’t, or shouldn’t, take a job. If you can’t think of someone to refer for a job you can’t take, make it a point to meet someone who can.
Being able to refer a professional, qualified, available artist when you can’t take a gig fosters respect from the client and the artist you recommend. A “No” with a referral is more likely to bring you additional work than a flat out rejection. It tells the client that you care about their success, and the artist that you care about your shared community.
2. Calling cards aren’t for just for Victorians anymore.
There is a reason that people use business cards; they easily communicate vital information and boldly declare your profession, even when you’re brand spanking new and haven’t made a dime off of work.
Using it: Pick a simple design that can do the following three things:
- Tell people who you are & how to get in contact with you.
- Quickly and effectively communicate your brand.
- Provide a wee bit of space on which to write simple missives.
Business cards are tiny advertisements (I’m not a fan of the folded cards, btw). And they should be the first thing you pull out of your wallet or bag when someone wants your phone number, email address or a piece of paper on which to write the URL of that awesome web comic you’re recommending, new MeetUp you’ve found or dreamy Riker ST:TNG episode.
You can’t get work if people don’t know what you’re doing or how to get a hold of you, and you never know when you’ll meet someone who needs the type of work you provide.
I’m not totally insane; don’t order a bazillion cards right off the bat. I know you’re less likely to use business cards in freelance. But you should probably use them more often than you are right now.
If you haven’t used a scrap of paper, cocktail napkin or hand to give someone your phone number or email address in the last six months, please, feel free to ignore me; you are special.
3. Mentor others.
Successful people mentor others because they know that having a well educated, professional community means everyone wins. In the same way that one jerk low balling jobs and turning in sub-par work can ruin the field for others, new artists acting professionally and producing quality work, argues prices and encourages good client behavior for all.
Using it: When a fellow freelancer asks you about work, either the how-to or the how-to-get, make an effort to stop what you’re doing for a bit, listen and provide relevant, practical advice. Good mentors know that the advice they are providing isn’t about them and isn’t always what they want to proselytize about. Mentoring is an opportunity for both folks to learn; be open to a variety of mentoring experiences and you’ll learn a lot more.
Some people like one-on-one mentoring relationships, others do better when they can respond as needed to questions. The best way to learn how to be a good mentor is be mentored; everyone can bother to learn something from someone they respect. Go ahead, ask.