I have been obsessed with the movie Fight Club ever since it hit the big screen. During a late night viewing of the movie the other night, it hit me that the basic rules of Fight Club can teach us a lot about the business of freelancing. Think I’m joking? Check out the rules:
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
This rule can be interpreted any number of ways. However, I like to think of this rule as meaning you shouldn’t talk about you bad clients to other clients. While some will be OK with it and may even swap stories with you, there are other clients might not feel comfortable with your badmouthing. Keep it professional and only bring up past clients if it is in your best interest to do so.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
Again, keep it professional and don’t talk bad about your clients to other clients.
3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
Know when to say enough is enough. Freelancers early into their career tend to have a problem telling clients no. Some clients will walk all over you asking for “extras” and “small changes” all day long unless you put your foot down. Create an invoice that shows everything that is included in your original price quote. If the client starts to ask for more than whats included, refer back to the invoice. Let them know that you will be happy to do it, but it will cost extra.
4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight.
Build a tight team of co-workers. Create a support team and build up a close relationship with them. Having a core team of other writers, developers, designers, etc is an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal. Don’t just exchange contact information with others, but really connect with them. Offer to do some small work for them for free so that they can get an idea of what its like to work with you. This will help to build a reliable network of peers that you can count on.
5th RULE: One fight at a time.
Don’t take on more than you can handle. This is a problem of many freelancers. Freelancing is a famine or feast occupation and as such we don’t like to turn away work. While steady work is great, having too much is not. Know how much you can handle at once and don’t be afraid to pass work on to others. Odds are who ever you pass work on to will likely return the favor one day.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.
Don’t forget why you love freelancing. Sometimes the cons of freelancing can outweigh the pros. Usually this is just a temporary thing, so keep your head up. When things get rough, just remember where you would be if you weren’t freelancing. You can go to work in your underwear if you want, drink beer while you work, and take a quick Wii break. Could you do that before you started freelancing?
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
All nighters will happen. Its just the way it is in freelancing. Be ready to commit to a project so that you can meet your deadline, even if it means pulling an all nighter. Meeting deadlines and putting in extra hours on a project pays off in the run. Clients will appreciate your ability to stick to a schedule and will tell others about it.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.
Just start freelancing. If you have been sitting on the fence a while about whether you should start freelancing or not, just do it. Decide right now to start freelancing and make it happen. Start reading up on what steps to take from here and just do it.
Image By: Spade13th