As a freelancer, being a one-person band is the norm. You’re used to playing the guitar, the drums, and the sax all while meeting your client’s strict deadlines, typing away on some excel spreadsheet, and searching for your next big gig. It’s that entrepreneurial spirit that is allowing you to succeed in your career goals. There are sometimes, though, when a potential new client doesn’t like the sound of a one-person operation. Maybe that client has the bias that more bodies in a company means better work. Until they figure out human cloning (come on science!), freelancers will need to do something to close the deal with this type of a client, and the hardest time to do so will be during an in-person meeting. So, get your acting shoes on because it’s time to pretend to be a big company (while having an in-person meeting).
Freelancers can Delegate Tasks to Your “Assistant” On The Phone
When VIPs are in meetings, they have an abundance of power moves. One is picking up their phone while other people are watching to call their assistant and delegate tasks the VIP just “can’t put on their plate right now”. Why can’t you, the juggling freelancer, do the same? Sure, you don’t have an assistant but you do have the pizza place on speed-dial and they love to hear the voice of the one customer who calls just to say “hello.” Or, you can call your mom and leave her a voicemail that you’ll have to explain later. She will love it because that means you’re calling her twice in one day!
Recall Office Inside Jokes That Never Happened
Nothing says office culture like inside jokes or stories that wouldn’t be funny if you weren’t forced to connect with your co-workers 40-hours a week until the end of time. So why not use that fact to show your new client you understand what it’s like to work in a big company. Enter your in-person meeting laughing at something your funny co-worker “John” just did! Then let your chuckle fade and say, “Sorry, it’s just my co-worker John this morning he meant to say “tape dispenser” but he said “dape tipenser” and oh man, the look on his face, oh man…you had to be there”.
The story is so relatable and dumb that the client won’t question a thing.
Bring Leftover Cake From An “Office Birthday Party”
Office birthday parties are both plagues and curses on the American workplace. As a freelancer, you might be missing out on free cake every now and again but you’re not missing out on singing happy birthday to sometimes a gaggle of people not knowing whose name you’re going to say first. As a freelancer, you can use this double-edge sword to your advantage. Stroll into your meeting and offer you’re the client a piece of cake from an office birthday party. Not only will they be happy “eating cake” is now an agenda item for your meeting, they won’t for a second believe you bought cake to pretend you work in a larger company than you do. That would be…absurd.
Constantly Reply To Their Requests With “Let Me Check With My Team”
Simple and easy, this is the gold standard for pretending you work in a bigger company than you do. Not to mention, it sounds like you have a “team.” Good for you. You are the boss in your small company, you better be the boss in your big company too.
Ask An Improviser To Play A Co-Worker
Improvisation is best when you’re playing with someone who understands the rules. You don’t know what this new client is going to throw at you and you might have to do a lot of think ‘em ups right on the spot! So why not take it a step further and show the client a real, live body to prove that you in fact have a co-worker! A skilled improviser will be able to jump on board with whatever way the tide is turning. And don’t worry, you can find a skilled improviser easily. Improv is in fact, everywhere.
Come In With An Abundance of Bound & Branded Booklets
Sit down at the table with your new client, unload a number of bound and branded booklets, and apologize for all the “stuff” taking up the table. You can say something like, “Sorry, as I was running over to this very meeting my assistant handed me all this new reading material! There’s a lot going on at the company!” Nothing screams importance like bound and branded booklets. And if you need to fill those booklets, use your invoices and paperwork that AND CO can create for you if you become a member. Just another thing AND CO can do that you do have to worry about.
With this list, pretending you’re a part of a big company during an in-person meeting will go off without a hitch, especially if you feed the client cake. No one questions anything when they’re eating cake.