A Freelance Lesson From Jeremy Lin of the NY Knicks
Like many of you, I learned about Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks just a few days ago, after his 38-point game against the L.A. Lakers.
Lin’s recent popularity has garnered him 200,000 Twitter followers and over 377,000 Facebook friends. The Chinese-American also has over 800,000 followers on Weibo—a Chinese hybrid of Twitter and Facebook.
What I also liked was this article on Forbes.com about what people can learn from Jeremy Lin. I’ve taken the author’s points, and twisted the answers for the freelance set. I hope you enjoy…
Believe in yourself when no one else does
Lin is up against some big odds—he’s only the third Harvard grad to make the NBA. And you don’t see many Asians on the court. You might be up against some big odds, too, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try. Maybe there’s a big project you really want to bid on, and you’re not feeling 100% confident about it. Put your best foot forward and go for it. If you don’t try, you will never succeed. Plus, you might surprise yourself!
Seize the opportunity when it comes up
The only reason Lin got a start for the Knicks is because so many other players were injured. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Being laid off from a full-time job can be great news if you’ve always wanted to start a freelance career. Turn what could be viewed as a negative (being laid off) into a positive (starting a freelance career).
Your family will always be there for you, so be there for them
Lin was sleeping on his brother’s couch until just recently. Having a built in cheerleading team—your family—is not something anyone should take for granted. Make sure you make time for them…especially when you are finding success.
Find the system that works for your style
Lin knows what he is good at on the court and focuses on it. The same should go for you! If you find you do your best work right after lunch, change your schedule to accommodate. You might find that you prefer one specific online tool for your business that your good friend abhors. It doesn’t matter! Find what works for you and go with it.
People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else
There is a lot of competition out there—so instead of trying to look, act, and work like everyone else, do something different! When I was applying to NYU’s graduate program for magazine journalism, I knew I had to stand out from the crowd. I knew I was going to be up against some stiff competition.
Instead of simply assembling my essay, letters of recommendation, resume, and such in a stack of white paper, I created an 8-page glossy magazine (saddle stapled) all about myself, including all that stuff in it. To this day, I’m positive it’s what helped me get accepted.
When you make others around you look good, they will love you forever
When the media interviews Lin, he always makes the point to talk about how great his teammates are. I like that about him. They make him look good! And it’s your job to make your clients look good. Use your creativity and innovation when working on your projects, and give your clients ideas they wouldn’t have thought about on their own. Finish the project on time and on budget and make sure they’re happy with it. Good customer service goes a long way.
Work your butt off
Lin worked like crazy for years, waiting for this opportunity. When it finally came around, he was ready for it. Make sure you are putting 100% effort into your freelance business. Stay up to date on everything there is to know about your niche.
Follow the trends, try out new technology, don’t wait for a project to come to you before you learn something new that could make all the difference. Stay ahead of the curve and leverage your knowledge and skills to get more jobs. People are more likely to hire a freelancer if they have had experience doing what their project entails. Use your time wisely—there is always something new to learn and perfect.
Lin is a great reminder that success isn’t all about luck. It’s about hard work, learning from your mistakes, believing in yourself, and being ready when opportunity knocks.