After an awesome conversation with fellow freelancer BreeAnn the other day, I realized I approach my freelancing business the same way I play the board game Splendor. For those of you who haven’t played it, let me explain.
Splendor is a game where you collect chips and cards that produce Gems to build your Gem Empire. Some Gems are very valuable and others are not. The ones that cost more to build are worth more points and the ones that cost less to build are (not surprisingly) worth far fewer points.
There are 2 strategies to win this game:
1. Quickly collect as many low point cards as you can
In this strategy, you take whatever you can and rack up the gems. It feels great to have tons of colourful sapphires and rubies in front of you, but the downside is that they’re all lower quality and some aren’t worth any points at all.
2. Be patient and only collect expensive cards
On the contrary, we have a slower strategy that looks like it’s failing at first. You’ll have tons of tokens as a way to save up and buy only a few gems, but those gems are extremely valuable. While it might not look like you’re ahead because of the lack of quantity, you actually are.
You probably see where this is going, but I’ll tell you anyway. The second strategy almost always wins.
I already loved this boardgame for a lot of reasons from the art design to the easy-to-learn game mechanics. Now, I love it for a reason I completely didn’t expect. This strategy taught me how to approach my freelancing business when sending pitches and applying to jobs.
Don’t send out masses of emails applying to everything, especially things that don’t pay you very well or don’t fit your experience. Instead, focus on gigs that are harder to get and worth a lot more. This is mostly my approach on Upwork, as that’s where I am starting my freelancing career, but I’m sure it applies to other websites as well.
It’s still a numbers game and I do send lots of pitches, but not as many as you might expect. There is one exception where you should be going after those “cheaper gems” in the beginning to gain experience and credibility. However, in the long term, it’s not a sustainable business practice if you have to work 100 hours a week to get by.
Hopefully, this perspective helped you think about how you approach freelancing or how to approach it once you begin.