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Freelancers: The Ultimate Warriors

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We are constantly bombarded by news of Covid19, riots/looting in major cities, and politics in this presidential election year. If you are not aware, we are living through awful times of fear, frustration, and anxieties, you must be living on another planet. For a long time freelancer or independents whose livelihood depends solely on their skills, talents, and resourcefulness, we must now be warriors of determination and discipline. Most have no or little unemployment benefits. Without essential on-going contracts or residual incomes, we are hustling daily to find contract opportunities.

Recently I contacted a painter to paint external attic vents high near the peaks of my house. Took him all of twenty minutes to paint each and move the ladder. I provided the paint. Charged me $200. That is $10 a minute if my calculation is correct, but the painter was quick to point out gas and other operations expenses he would incur for each job daily. I asked him how his business was during this pandemic. He said, “Terrific. I try to avoid big jobs, like whole house painting, to increase the number of small jobs I can handle daily.” At $10 a minute, I can see why he sticks with small jobs.

The takeaway in this instance is the painter, a freelancer, knew what his costs of operations were and how to maximize his time and revenues. This is particularly critical for those freelancers who have restricted access to clients and prospects due to the current Covid19 pandemic. Video conferencing is great but not 100% transferable as compared to face to face conversations and idea exchanges.

The sourcing I used to find a painter for this paint job was the painter’s text-only ad in a local weekly newspaper. Sure, Home Advisor, Aggie’s list, and other online platforms were contacted, but this guy answered his cell on the first call, gave me a rough cost based solely on my description while on the job painting at another location. Being a doubting Thomas for such a smooth and fast response, I asked him to come by to verify the scope of the job and give me a firm price. After verifying my address, he said he would be there within the hour. Again, all while he was still painting on another job.

When he arrived, alone, he quickly accessed the scope – within five minutes of arrival – and emailed me a firm pricing, payment methods available, and day/time he would arrive and complete the job. NO hassles. On the day of the job and before he departed, 25 minutes after his arrival, he asked me to rate his job with an app on his phone. Clever, he did not trust a link sent to us to rate his work and could influence the rating as he stood in front of me while I checked the boxes and rated his work. This guy was a warrior. He loved his work. Managed his time to his advantage. Showed his value and workmanship without hesitation. Would I use this freelancer again and recommend him to others – you can bet on it.

Another freelance warrior meeting occurred while fulfilling my transportation needs recently. Since I live in super burbs of a major city, I rarely use or need a limo, Uber or Lyft. Due to scheduling conflicts, I needed transportation from my home to Atlanta and back. With no relatives or friends available within my time frame to give me a lift, I called for an Uber. The assigned driver texted me back within a minute with his ETA. When ten minutes away, he tested me again to confirm his arrival time. Not only was he on-time and wore a Covid19 protection mask, but politely opened the door for me.

During the trip into the city, he gave me updates on the traffic and his expected arrival time at my location. He asked if I wanted music or talk radio and obliged my response without comment. He was friendly but not overly inquisitive nor engaged in personal information, which I acknowledged that I appreciated. I learned the driver was currently out of work because of the virus and was only an Uber driver part-time.

I was in my meeting for about forty minutes and returned to the same point where I was dropped off. The driver was waiting. With a friendly smile, he handed me a fresh cup of Starbucks. He had remembered the brand and type mentioned in our conversations coming into the city. I was incredibly pleased and gave the driver an extra-large tip. He was a warrior by going the extra mile to ensure I had a pleasant experience.

I have more warrior stories to share in future posts. I am sure readers will have some experiences to share that demonstrate how freelancers are the Ultimate Warriors.

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