With a new season of the HBO epic about to hit our screens, we thought we’d take a look at George R. R. Martin's impressive saga and see what the treacherous world of Westeros can teach us about the equally cutthroat game of freelancing.
The game is brutal and unforgiving
The first (and sometimes the last) lesson people learn when making the leap into working for themselves is that, just like the Game of Thrones, the freelance game can be brutal. The mortality rate is high and if you don’t put in the effort, you won’t last very long. Make sure you don't become a statistic and read the rest of our handy freelancing guide.
You need the right tools for the job
Life as a knight isn’t cheap. Armor costs a small fortune, then there’s grain for your horse, provisions for your squire - the list goes on and they’re all necessary expenses. Without them you won’t last long on the battlefield. Life as a freelancer’s the same, so invest in the tools of your trade. Keep up to date with advances in software and technology or you'll get left behind.
Don't make promises you can't keep
Just look what happened to young Robb Stark. He promised Walder Frey he’d marry one of his daughters and then backed out leading to the massacre of not only himself, but most of his family and friends. The lesson here is simple. Don’t over-promise. Don’t let your mouth write cheques you can’t cash. Your clients really won't appreciate it if you do.
Try your best to forge alliances
When it comes to finding work, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. This is especially true if you’re just starting out in the world of freelance and, as demand for your services grow, it’s wise to have a loyal network of colleagues and friends with various skills behind you. You can then call on them if you need a favor or reinforcements for a big job.
Your reputation preceeds you
The King Slayer, Jamie Lannister, will attest to this: Your reputation follows you forever. Get a bad one and you’ve had it. However, a good rep can be just as powerful. And as more people hear about you, it’ll bring work your way without you having to lift a finger. At the end of the day, your reputation is your currency so don’t tarnish it.
Don't get out of your depth
Poor old Ned Stark, he was a nice guy and meant well - but it was plain to see he was woefully out of his depth in the nest of vipers that was King’s Landing. In the end, things didn’t end well. The lesson here is don’t bite off more than you can chew. It could be your undoing and you who ends up with their head on the chopping block.
Learn to pick your battles
Working Freelance you’ll have jobs that go smoothly and others that don't. You’ll have good clients and bad; some that test your patients and others who try and take liberties. There will be times it’s best to keep quiet and keep the peace, and times you have to dig your heels in and make a stand. Make sure you know the difference.
Winter is coming, be prepared
When you’re a freelancer there will be times when you’re so busy you have to turn jobs away, and times when you might not be able to find any work at all. If your work diary's looking a little bare, don't panic, something always turns up eventually - but it’s prudent to put a little money aside and prepare for periods when work is scarce.
The past can come back to haunt you
Whether it’s a client you fall out with who then decides to bad-mouth you to future prospects, or a minor detail you neglect to take care of because it's late at night and you want to get the job done - just remember, things can come back and bite you on the ass. And usually when you least expect it.
A new generation is snapping at your heels
Every year, a new generation of talent rolls the dice and tries their hand working for themselves. When you decide to take a day off, somewhere there’s a Daenerys Targaryen working hard and trying to get ahead. No matter how good you are or how long you’ve been playing - The Game of Freelancers always demands you give a 110%.
This blog post is brought to you by the creators of Solo; your freelance wingman. If you'd like to contribute to the blog, contact us on hello[at]wearethrive.com.