A Feline’s Approach to Freelancing
I’ve written about the freelancing lessons you can learn from your canine, but if you share your office space with a cat, don’t dismiss her as simply snoozing on the sofa. She actually knows a thing or two about survival in the freelance world. Here are five lessons your cat can teach you.
- Feel your way around first: If you took your cat to a new area, she wouldn’t just run off exploring. She’ll tentatively duck her head around a corner, poised to recoil if the area proves uninviting. This is a great approach for new or established freelancers. When starting a new endeavor or taking on a new client, don’t invest too much time and expense before you’ve determined it’s a safe direction.
Heed the writing on the wall: Cats (and most animals) linger over secretions left by other cats. It may seem gross to us, but she doesn’t think so. She’s picking up vital information: hints of danger, news about a cat in heat, or territorial markings.
While we don’t find information as readily, listening to other freelancers can help you avoid pitfalls that your colleagues have already discovered. For example, I was approached by an editor to write an ebook on a great topic, and was initially quite interested. I browsed a trusted writer’s forum and found several postings about that editor – all negative. This helped me prepare for our meeting, and when I decided to bypass the job, I felt more confident in my decision.
- Avoid situations that don’t feel right: You’d be hard pressed to get your cat to eat something that she doesn’t want, or to enter a room that she’s deemed ‘off limits’. For whatever reason – a smell she’s noticed, or a sound we can’t detect – she will steer clear of anything she’s wary of. Adopting that same strategy can save you from grief down the road. When something nags at your conscience, don’t ignore your instincts.
Prioritize your comfort: Do you work slumped over your laptop on the sofa? Is the solution to your tingling wrists to give them a vigorous shake every now and then?
You may not have a dedicated office space, but that doesn’t mean you should put your comfort – and health – at risk. Take a look at your kitty: before she settles down for an extended nap, she selects a warm, comfortable environment. Listen to your body and review your work space, then take a cat-like approach to making yourself more comfortable.
Land on your feet: Myth or not, it does seem that cats always land on their feet whenever they fall. While humans may not have the same amazing balance, you can take steps to make your freelancing future more stable.
Take time each year to review your client base and budget. Stay abreast of changes by attending conferences and networking events. Keep yourself open to new opportunities. Build in the ability to land on your feet, no matter where you may fall.
While we may not speak the same language, there’s a lot we can learn by studying the survival instincts of other species. So next time you take a break to give your cat a scratch or dangle a toy, don’t feel guilty about skipping out on work; consider it time doing research!