There’s an approach to work that’s common among top freelancers in many fields. It’s a “whatever-it-takes” attitude, a willingness to go above and beyond one’s official job description in order to ensure a successful outcome for the project one has been hired to work on.
For a freelancer, this can-do approach is a great way to rise above a crowded field of competition. If everyone is more or less equally skilled, the person who brings energy, enthusiasm, and flexibility to their work has an advantage. Self-employed folks tend to know this—here is Lee Sklar, a Los Angeles session musician who’s played bass on 2,500 recording sessions:
I’ve always looked at my gig as having two sides to it, the player and the cheerleader. You want to try to keep the energy level up, even when things are deadly serious. Be enthusiastic, be ‘there.’ There are tons of guys who can play bass, but how many play bass and bring enthusiasm and creativity and professionalism to the table? Be that person. Be the guy you’d hire if it were your session.
But among those of us who work in organizations, this approach is way under-utilized. Far too many of us fall back on the bureaucrat’s creed: “that’s not my job.” This presents an opportunity for folks who are willing to go above and beyond, to stretch beyond the confines of their job description. Working like a freelancer is a great way to set yourself apart.