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Tarantino is probably to blame for my extreme love of burgers. I’ve never seen burgers look as good as they have in Pulp Fiction and True Romance (a film he didn’t direct, but did write). Clarence Worley, the lead man in True Romance, sums up my criteria for a good burger in one quote:
“What’s the biggest, fattest hamburger you guys got?”
Since moving to Brighton, I’ve been able to choose from a nearing ridiculous number of joints selling great burgers. From Troll’s Pantry at Street Diner to the brand new Brighton Meat Liquor, I’ve been spoilt for choice. What I soon realised, though. is that you can actually learn a lot about freelancing from a good burger, as strange as that sounds.
Whenever a restaurant describes a burger as ‘gourmet’, I’m very likely to never buy one. This is because they’re not actually real burgers, and are actually just raw pretension cleverly disguised as food. They usually have those sticks through the middle and are about 30cm tall, meaning you have to take apart the thing to even eat it. That’s not a burger, that’s a terrible meal piled on top of itself and stabbed with a piece of wood.
This is a lesson in not attempting to dress up what you do as something that it isn’t. The freelancing equivalent of ‘gourmet’ is adding things like ‘ninja’ or ‘guru’ to your job title. You are not an SEO Ninja, because that’s just ridiculous. It means nothing and adds very little to your service – especially if a client is genuinely expecting you to show up to meetings clad all in dark blue and deliver your SERP rankings report silently in the dead of night.
Don’t rely on fancy, meaningless names to bring in work. Dress yourself down and give your skills pride of place.
No matter how good a chef you are, what you use to make a burger is highly important, as demonstrated by Parks and Recreation. Cow always beats turkey, no matter how much effort you put in. A burger can easily be ruined by terrible salad, too strong a mustard or even just poor bread. When you bite a burger you’re meant to get a taste of everything, so one wrong choice can ruin the whole thing.
As a freelancer you have to start doing things beyond what you actually do as a job – you’re not longer just a writer / developer / designer / whatever. You have to source your own work, do your own marketing, go out networking, manage your website, and everything else in between. If any one of these areas is sub-par, your whole business will suffer. You have to learn these new skills and master them. So when it comes to all the extras, be a cow, not a turkey.
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