What’s to become of our time together?

I let my blog go to fallow the last few months. It’s interesting how in the information sector that is a recipe for certain death. Quite the opposite in the animal kingdom. Animals need rest, plants do better in soil that isn’t toiled in every season by the same kind of plant. I think you get my drift. This animal has been rather occupied in 2011 and I could use some proper pasture time at this point. In fact yours truly should be wrapping up some work right now in an attempt to get to bed before 3 and be up by 9am. I predict the likelihood of this scenario to be approximately 65% possible, with scattered showers, or something like that.

I have had a lot of negative stimuli the last couple of weeks. But we all have Clients from Hell for that relief. So I won’t compete here with perfection. In contrast the positive-averse events have resulted in a rather inspired new outlook. Which I shall now call boundary-pro. After you’ve been in the freelance world a while, you’ll quickly get wind that clients always expect you to be available because you don’t work for “the man”. They will call you after 7, on saturday, and sunday evening if you let them. Heck they may even try to call your cell during your annual “wait in line for the most fantabulous new apple gadget, (I know it’s a damn crime!) I can at the very least promise you they will try. So what’s a gig needy freelancer to do? Well the best advice I can give is, do exactly what you would do if it were a social situation. Unless you are a pushover then don’t.

Most of us at one point in our life or other had a friend who wanted to borrow our things. But weeks would drag into months, and months into more months, until we all but forgot or actually forgot where said thing was. Now that you are an adult we know to call those folks opportunists, moochers, or oblivious. Depends on the charachter.

DISCLAIMER: Now that isn’t to say your clients are any of the above, however I assure you the combination client-opportunist does exist. Most often clients just are not accustomed to working directly with the source. They are used to going through account managers, directors, and all manner of egregious red tape. Perhaps when they get a direct connection to one of us it is a shock and/or temptation to be drunk with power our cell numbers in hand.

In any case we are all pretty savvy about how to deal with such people. Don’t give them your stuff. That includes your car keys, favorite sweater, super awesome Lionel Richie records and it should include your time. Trust me as a freelancer you don’t have much at all of the latter. If you aren’t on a gig, you have a portfolio that needs attention, and if that’s caught up you have personal projects. The time of a creative entrepeneur is valuable. And if you start letting people take advantage of that time get used to seeing it disappear like your favorite fuzzy sweater did in 1998. I noted to a friend yesterday that as creative professionals we have to set boundaries periodically, projects are often intense & on short deadlines, interruptions are costly.

Now I have given you a much needed pass eh? So then soldier on, turn your phone off if you have too friends and comrades. Look those people who expect you to look at their non-mission critical project on a sunday, really don’t expect you to be there. A sound piece of advice though if they fly off the handle yelling that you weren’t there this isn’t a client you want to keep. You will encounter emergencies as a freelancer, that’s different and you must handle those situations as you see fit. Heck I even cut some slack to the clients whose projects fall within a certain price bracket or who are really awesome about paying their bills. I assure you it’s a very select narrow group of clients and it doesn’t interfere with my life as a rule. You won’t loose good clients setting boundaries. You may however loose your mind if you don’t learn how to.

Finally one last snacky bit before I leave you, don’t keep stupid banker hours that annoys everyone. I will now interweb hi-five you as always on the sure to be excellent things you’ll do this week.