Freelance Friday – On Being Cheeky

Woah, what is this, two FF’s in a row?!

Recently I was at a coffee shop, where I ordered a coffee and a piece of delicious-looking cake, which I gazed longingly at when it was brought to the table, grabbed a forkful, and….it was awful. So, unusually for me, I plucked up the nerve to take it back to the counter, and they traded it for me, while I mentioned how sorry I was for the bother probably 20 times, and then struggled to enjoy the much-nicer replacement cake and my coffee because I was so embarrassed. And it reminded me that I’d been wanting to write this!

I know I’m not the only one who hates to be a bother. For some of you, this isn’t a problem. Complain about unsatisfactory products? No problem! Email everyone to seek support for your new project? No problem! If that’s you, you probably don’t need this post (in fact some may need an opposite post – it’s all about balance I think! 😛 ). But if the thought of being a bother to a colleague or possible employer is enough to bring you out in a rash: I feel you.

Earlier this year I went on a long-saved-for trip to visit family back in Vancouver, with some stops up the west coast on the way. As I’m hardly on that side of the world every day, I decided to try and set up some meetings while I was there. So I contacted my agent and a couple of comicking friends/colleagues (first cheekiness hurdle) to see if they knew any editors they could help get me in touch with. And then, of course, had to email said editors to ask if they might have a coffee with me while I was in town. Two editors quickly sent lovely replies, and were incredibly generous with their time while I was there. I was honestly blown away – and reminded how many really lovely people work in comics. Hopefully, both of those meetings will result in long-term comics colleague relationships – but whatever the case, it’s a chance to connect and gain some insight that wouldn’t have happened without me having to (to my “I’m so sorry to bother-you” approach at least!) be a bit cheeky.

It’s okay! Seriously. I promise. It’s okay. I’ve come to the conclusion that the things we worry about doing are probably the things we’re least likely to be doing. So if you worry that you’re being too cheeky or overstepping, the fact that you’re worrying means you’re probably not.

So if you’re anything like me, try challenging yourself a bit. When you need help, ask for it. Tell some colleagues you’re looking for x kind of work and would they mind keeping an ear open for you. Ask someone you don’t know to a business coffee. And return the cake if you need to ~_^