Let me kick off by saying: I’m a little bit of all of the below. But, if I have to choose three, I’d say a combo of maven, misfit and MPD. At the bottom of this article I explain why. But for now, if you’re in the mood for something a little different, have a look at each stereotype below – please keep tongue in cheek – and then decide:
1. Which one (or three) you are
2. Who you know who fits each mould (keep this one to yourself)
3. If I’ve left any out – tell me!
1. The moaner
This freelancer never has ‘enough’ work and exists in a constant state of anxiety about the work he does have. While he’s a talented creative with a good reputation, he is a pain to deal with because he suffers from ‘poor me’ syndrome – a condition in which everything’s hard, everyone’s difficult and life generally sucks. This is the guy who asks other freelancers for advice over lunch, but can’t (or won’t) pay for lunch.
2. The maven
Oy vey. This chick. She knows everyone. Is admired by everyone. Is brilliant at everything. She positions herself using varied iterations of the word ‘expert’: maven, guru, doyenne. She leaps at any opportunity to speak in public, and re-tweets compliments from others. She is always in demand and too busy to breathe. She is a sh!thot freelancer, yes, and she delivers, but she’s tolerable in small doses only.
3. The misfit
This guy is usually the most brilliant, but the weirdest-looking. He has some or all of the following characteristics: a multi-coloured mohawk, sleeve tattoos, sharp studs in one or both ears, the latest tech and incredible earphones that he wears round his neck. He is a long-term live-action role-player, reads comics but calls them ‘graphic novels’, and used to work at Incredible Connection. He loves pub quizzes.
4. The meditator
This freelancer can’t produce anything if her energies aren’t right. She does free-writing first thing in the morning, is committed to her journal, owns multiple moleskines and has toyed with poetry. She eats only what falls (or would fall) naturally from a plant; that is: without killing or harming the plant. She wears scarves, fabulous shoes and awesome spectacles and, although she doesn’t touch coffee, can be found (on her Mac – apples fall naturally from the tree) at top hipster spots.
6. The hobbyist
The hobbyist is a few levels shy of the moaner and the complete opposite of the maven. He is the creative known for saying (apologetically), ‘I’m only a copywriter’ or ‘I do a bit of graphic design.’ He may have a second career as a real estate agent, an admin assistant or a teacher, so he freelances on weekends and at night. He’d be really good if he took a page or two from the maven and did some meditating. He should know better than to sell clients home-made jam alongside their logos.
7. The MPD
Characterised by Multiple Profession Disorder, this gal can’t decide what she is: writer, designer, strategist, illustrator, photographer, web developer or all six. She’s super-talented at one or two and pretty good at the others, but she likes to play in all arenas and never gets to fully develop a lucrative niche. She is at her best in a small team, where she can do a bit of everything, but she has a hard time saying ‘No’.
This wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t apply my snarky caricatures to myself. So, here goes:
I’m on good terms with myself, have no problem with shameless self-promotion (that’s how you get work) and take business cards to funerals. I have to try hard not to be what my husband calls ‘a brass’. But I’m nice. And not a narcissist.
I’m mostly a writer. But I’m also an editor, proof-reader, SEO strategist, writing trainer and consultant. Yup, all of these things have communication or content at their core, and if I’m honest I’m probably best at editing and teaching, but lawd forbid I should turn down a project in an unfamiliar field. I. Cannot. Say. No.
At first glance, I’m as vanilla as you can get in this industry. But, there’s lime green nailpolish there, my earrings are former computer keys [Pause Break], I adore Afrikaans pop music, I have a comprehensive Tattoo Board on Pinterest (but no actual tattoos), I own lamps with penises on them and I swear like a mofo. You know what? I’m not a misfit. I’m a wannabe. Oh well. Thanks for playing.
First published on freelancecentral.co.za