They say good ideas linger. Like acrid farts they hang around, occasionally making your eyes water.
Well, it’s been about two and a half years since I published The Human Freelancer book (even longer since it was conceived) and still its premise seems like a goer.
Like all true loves, this one has been anything but a perpetual spring of joy custard. In fact, only recently I spoke about how easy it is to become jaded by your art.
So I freely admit – I’ve lost steam in human freelancing more than once.
Yet still, like a ghostly scent of dog eggs past, my great misguided crusade to liberate creative people from unfulfilling careers comes back to haunt me. Its wafts, the random tweets of appreciation from strangers who’ve read the book.
The story so far
What was once an idea became a book. That book morphed into a series of baffling lectures hurled at students, which bore this irreverent manifesto:
Next came informal meet-ups for fledgling freelancers. Then, thanks to a combination of Meet-up’s audacious fees and general seasonal apathy, the get-together took a six month disco-nap in some undergrowth, only to resurface this March with sick on its face, spun out of renewed enthusiasm from Leeds’ Glug Event in December of last year.
Now, after speaking to hundreds of people, the idea behind human freelancing is taking on a new life. It’s becoming a quiet movement. Not of the colonic sort, launched surreptitiously on the back seat of the number 42 bus. More like a friendly network of likeminded individuals, who assemble to exchange ideas and support one another in freelancing.
As host, I’m riding the crest of other people’s enthusiasm. And the wave is bigger than me. I believe we can form a crowd of people, a microcosm of the larger independent, Leeds creative scene, cast in the Yorkshire mould.
The nature of work is changing, and how we adapt and look after one another (as always) is up to us. And this humble, unambitious little talking shop over a few drinkies could be one small, localised part of that revolution. Albeit a smelly one.
This is not about a book
It never was.
Someone once said I had a ‘great model’ with the book and the talks – implying the goal was to shift copies.
Model? I didn’t realise I had one.
This is simply me helping people solve their own problems, plus the occasional opportunity to show off. Essentially, when I’m ranting at a room full of strangers about the virtues of freelancing, I’m really shouting at myself ten years ago.
That’s what I really get out of this.
If you doubt any of that, just read why 44p isn’t enough to fill a bath with caviar and hooker spit.
This movement is about getting the human freelancing idea out there. To reach people who felt like I did in my late twenties: disillusioned, unfulfilled, missing that meaningful connection with your talents and place in society. In layman terms, a salary enslaved corporate drone, smashing your head against a desk for stimulation, waiting for the next poo to turn up.
So this is social for now. But who knows what’s next. A guild of freelancers? Promoting a vision for best practice. More talks about our art?
One step at a time I reckon.
At a time of stormy political clouds looming forebodingly on the fringes of an increasingly bleak horizon, it feels right that if I can, I should, make a small contribution to something that offers people a little hope – a honest, happy lifestyle. The sort offered by freelancing.
So the message is, always will be, you’re fucking awesome. You should try this. I can’t change the world, but maybe I can hoodwink a few impressionable minds into giving freelancing a try.
If you’re interested, join our resurrected Leeds event.
LOOK! There's a book full of this shit and more!
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