Identifying good role models isn’t just an exercise for children. A working adult can also benefit from having someone they look up to, as well. You probably already have a few individuals who you admire in your industry past and present, but what about people whose work habits you want to emulate? It’s not as glamorous, but those productive qualities can be put into place right now.
And they don’t need to necessarily be people you know, either. Get a bit creative, and set high standards— super high standards. Today, we are exposed to superheroes via films (thanks Marvel and 20th Century Fox!), TV, and traditional platforms like comics. That’s why us freelancers can aspire to be like the heroes in the stories.
Here are six superheroes who would make great freelancers in and out of the comics, and what you could learn from each of them.
The Flash — The Obvious Freelancer
Of all the spots on this list, the one belonging to the Flash is obvious. This is a hero that literally moves at the speed of light, so can you imagine how much he’ll get done on any given day? Even though some superfans have done the math and figured out the Flash would be somewhat slowed down to consume the tons of calories in order to perform at his peak, that’s but a small trade off ripping through your to-do list. Unfortunately, you will never be able to move like this guy. But take your first step towards a productive and speedy day by finding your time sucks and eliminating or automate them (thanks, AND CO!). Then, make use of some strict timers. Might we suggest the old Pomodoro technique? Punctuate dedicated blocks of time with short breaks, and get one task one per block.
Spawn — Impervious to Freelance Stress
Dude is literally from hell, so we’d be hard-pressed to find someone more able to deal with your most headache-inducing clients. Just imagine a not-so-great day, with a client heaping unrealistic expectations on you, and then erupting when you signal even the slightest amount of pushback. A lot of us would cave and internalize that frustration, but not Spawn. A chronically upset client is nothing compared to what he has to deal with on a day to day basis. While we certainly don’t recommend popping off if you want to keep your client’s business, it is worth your time to learn how to improve your communication skills. Many times, we tend to work people from the same angle, but when you’re dealing with someone who is super stubborn it pays to know of several other entry points for negotiation.
Jean Grey — The Client Whisperer
Jean Grey has the superpower I think most of us actually want. She can read minds. That telepathy is no joke and is probably the most practical superpower out there. Think about it— no one needs to know you have it. Super strength is obvious, and you’ll get so many requests for favors once other find out. Flight is cool but a) the sky is really cold, and b) people will gawk if you try to pull that off in broad daylight. But you can make full use of mind-probing in your favorite lazy day sweats. We all know how frustrating it is to work for people who don’t want to come right out and tell you what they want, or at least can’t express it fully. Knowing exactly what’s on their mind at any point is a huge help and can make your job that much easier. Chances are none of you reading this are telepaths, so we’ll have to resort to normal human improvement instead. So, check out how to read body language.
Iron Man — The Ideal Freelance Starter Nestegg
Tony Stark barely edged out Batman on this list. They have very similar skill sets and bank accounts, but Bruce Wayne is dead set on operating exclusively at night— and we all know how valuable those wee small hours are to a freelancer…even in the comics. Iron Man’s suit doesn’t really have any practical usage for most freelancers, but his bank account sure does. He’d probably be rocking the best tech and gear to make working more pleasant or, dare we say, fun. While there is no way to suddenly drop zeros on your bank statement, take control of your finances with a budgeting app like Mint or Albert. Set greenback goals and be sure to treat yourself to a work related good every once in awhile. It’s what Iron Man would do. Now let’s bust out the Marvel movies until the real Tony enters the startup sphere…
Now let’s bust out the Marvel movies until the real Tony enters the startup sphere…
Barbara Gordon — Freelance Coding Legend
In Batman’s The Killing Joke, (SPOILER ALERT) a gunshot wound from the Joker leaves Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. She doesn’t let that slow her down, though. She discovers that he has a deep understanding of tech, and she takes up the new identity of Oracle. Now, she’s a super-consultant, who works as an information broker and master computer scientist and hacker. She’s anyone that the coding freelancer should be looking up to. And if you don’t know how to code, the least you could do is try to get on her level by taking an online course. Once you get even a few basics under your belt, you’ll be impressed with yourself at how much more you understand about what you do.
Black Panther — Martial Arts Extraordinaire
Now this dude is a Marvel movies, and freelancing, needs!
If “freelancing martial artist” is a thing, then Black Panther is your top choice for superhero idol. But for the rest of us, we should look up to his genius level intellect and insatiable curiosity. We get the feeling that if tasked with an assignment, T’Challa would either know enough about the subject matter to crank out an amazing project or know exactly where to look to acquire that knowledge. He is a bonafide genius and reminds us all to always keep learning, no matter how much of an expert you consider yourself to be. Pick up a new skill or try to master a new subject with online courses. Or maybe just spend some downtime at work watching some fascinating lectures. Keep expanding your knowledge base, because in today’s world it’s not just about what you know, knowing where to find what you don’t.
Maybe comics can boost your freelance skills…