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9 Insightful Freelance Tips from Mad Men

Source: Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis

The best art imitates life (for everyone but contrarian Oscar Wilde, that is).

So it may not surprise you to discover that there’s a plethora of freelance tips hidden inside the hit series Mad Men. And we don’t mean tips like, “Drink your lunch.”

Over at Creative Bloq, Karl Hodge combed through every season to glean lessons for creative freelancers from Don Draper and Co.

  1. Never rely on one client. A good freelancer is always pitching and always looking for new business, even when the going is good.
  2. Communicate your value. It’s part of your job to communicate your experience and value at every opportunity.
  3. Make your own breaks. Whether that’s spotting a niche no one’s filled or predicting where your business is heading, without them your business won’t develop.
  4. Know your market. You can have the best concept in the world but, unless it fits the audience, you won’t win the work.
  5. Put in the hours. Freelancing has many advantages over working in an organization, but short hours are not among them — especially when you’re starting out.
  6. Sweat through the small stuff. As you grow your business, you’re going to have to take projects that aren’t interesting and even work with clients you don’t like. Just do the work.
  7. Polish your presentation. Whether pitching new business or presenting finished work, you really can’t over-prepare or over-polish.
  8. Move with the times. As a creative, you have to learn constantly, keep your skills fresh, and stay on top of current design trends. Don’t fight the changes!
  9. Pick yourself up and start over. As a freelancer, you’ll make mistakes and you will lose the occasional client. It’s never the end of the world. Get back out there and find more work!

Check out the whole article to see how Karl uses the series to explore each point. And yes, if you haven’t watched the whole series, there are spoilers.

Is there any advice he missed from the show?

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