The police put a swift end to naked Mondays in the park. Killjoys.
I suppose they’re not entirely to blame: anti-social behaviour laws also had their part to play in bringing Percy’s big day out to a regrettable climax. But legal proceedings aside, isn’t life more fun when you let your metaphorical junk splay defiantly against the breeze of convention?
Now I’m not advocating you expose yourself in public playgrounds. Just take from this that it’s better to err more on the side of being your natural self, rather than act in a way you think other people want you too – especially in freelance situations.
Because that does seem to be the fashion these days. A friend or two springs to mind who had thick regional accents when we were young. Now they’ve swapped uniforms for suits (is there any difference?), adopted faux-Southern accents and use bewildering business phrases like “singing from the same hymn sheet” while they try to out do one another’s expensive modes of transport.
While I’ve never really gone skinny dipping in the children’s paddling pool of our local park, I’m no saint either. Take my freelance copywriter’s blog for example. Over there I’ve sculpted a professional persona, slick in tone and presentation but it’s sanitised of my real personality. I’ve stripped out the humour and colourful imagery you’ll find splattered everywhere inside the Human Freelancer because I worry it’ll dissuade prospective clients from doing business with me.
Yet writing the way I do in The Human Freelancer book has given me a new voice, or rather it’s liberated my real voice. Dropping the guise of formality and pretence meant I was more lucid and focussed in what I wanted to achieve with the book. And I’m happier because of it.
Who doesn’t want to feel like that about every endeavour?
Keeping up a formal professional pretence is an extra layer of work you can do without. Of course you should be decent and respectful as every human freelancer should. But I’ve found that letting your guard down and showing clients a glimmer of what you’re really like off-duty is the way to build long-lasting relationships.
As long as you’re not an arsehole, you’ve got everything to gain from being your true yourself with a professional hat on. People enjoy working with freelancers who get the job done and don’t take adversity too seriously. Humour and honesty disarms and emancipates people from the shackles of convention. It makes for better communication too and everyone’s always happier with that. Plus turning on the charm when you’re next in the park can mean the difference between a truncheon in the groin or an ASBO.
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Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. They preach about bookkeeping and market research: things you might need to do of course. But let’s face it they’re fucking boring.
The Human Freelancer book is your antidote: stuffed full of emotional support and insightful advice for vulnerable newbies to self-employment like you.Buy it now