Before I started freelance writing, I worked as a legal assistant. My first job was working at a very large firm (250 lawyers at the time) and I’ve worked for a sole practitioner, as well as a few firms with staffing numbers in between. One thing I noticed was that the lawyers who had the worst attitudes were generally the ones at or close to the bottom of the firm letterhead. (If a law firm lists its lawyers, the most senior ones are at the top.)
The senior partners have already proven themselves and don’t need to go around telling everyone how great they are. Generally speaking, they stay in their offices and anyone who wants to talk to them goes to them. I learned very quickly that there were lots of things that I couldn’t do at work on my own – because I didn’t rate, apparently – but if I put my boss’s name on the memo or the requisition, I could get things done much easier. He was a Big Deal.
When you are looking for freelance, rather than indulging in posturing and trying to impress upon the client that you are a Big Deal, a better approach is to take it down a notch or two and show them that you are the Real Deal.
- You are someone who listens carefully.
- You are reliable.
- You will give the client what he or she wants.
- You’re easy to work with.
- Your attitude doesn’t suck.
- You are prepared to offer suggestions and your opinion, but you understand that the client has the final say on the project.
It’s never too early to behave like the Real Deal in your freelance writing career. Showing up when you’re supposed to, meeting your deadlines on time and generally showing some class will pay off in future assignments and referrals to other clients.
If you are truly a Big Deal, you don’t have to tell people. They’ll know.