The Beatles. Whether you’ve known them since the Ed Sullivan Show, or have been listening to them with your parents for as long as you can remember, there’s a good chance this incredible quartet holds a special place in your heart.
Even if the Beatles aren’t your bag, baby, the music you know and love today probably owes a solid nod to them. Their influence reaches through time and genre, and can be found in the most unlikely of bands and musicians… but the music industry isn’t the only group that can benefit from their wisdom.
John, Paul, George, and Ringo were musical revolutionaries, shaping the landscape of their industry in ways no one had ever experienced before. I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like another niche I know:
We’re having to constantly review and change our environments, think quickly and creatively, and rise above the trends to build something new and exciting.
According to the Freelancer’s Union “Freelancing in America” report, there are 53 million freelancers working in America right now. That’s 34% of the workforce… and we’re only talking about the United States here. In addition to that 53 million, there are even more freelancers working across the globe.
So, in honor of this workforce revolution, I think it’s high time we created a playlist for freelancers… one comprised solely of songs by one of the most innovative bands in history.
Without further ado, let’s visit six timeless Beatles songs that will teach you how to freelance.
This gem of a tune, released in 1966 as a B-Side, is a fantastic lesson in perseverance and a poignant reminder to stay true to your values and goals, regardless of the circumstances you’re in.
We’re all familiar with the “feast or famine” phrase, and that’s because it’s simply a freelancing reality. The key to successfully navigating this cycle can be found in “Rain.” John Lennon sings to us about the importance of staying the course, no matter what your situation is like at the time.
When you’re experiencing a famine, you’ve got to keep your head down, keep working, and keep working to find work. When you’re lucky enough to be feasting, make sure you don’t feast too much and deplete your financial or emotional reserves.
Rain or shine, you’re still a freelancer, so stay the course and think ahead.
2. “Come Together”
Now, if you’ve heard this one or paid any attention to the lyrics, you might raise your eyebrow at my choice of this seemingly nonsensical Abbey Road hit. Just stay with me on this, though; I swear there’s a good freelance tip among the incoherent phrases and “gobbledygook,” as John Lennon himself once called it.
“Come Together” is the perfect representation of the freelance spirit: you get resourceful, you work in the ways you know how with what comes out of you creatively, and you work together with other freelancers to make incredible products in a generous and collaborative community.
While many of the lyrics can be left to your own interpretation, a few of them state very clearly that freedom is essential, and that that freedom can be achieved by banding together.
3. “Hello, Goodbye”
This song, released in 1967, may not have a freelancing tip embedded within it, but poses an incredibly important lesson to any freelancer, especially one who’s just getting started.
While the tune is fun, and the lyrics catchy, it’s an upbeat example of the opportunities available for miscommunication and confusion in human interaction. A word can have multiple meanings, and people associate different feelings to different words, which makes clear communication utterly essential when interacting with clients and other freelancers.
4. “Here Comes the Sun”
When discussing a group as dynamic and powerful as the Beatles, it’s no surprise to find that some of their years of collaboration and production were fraught with tension, restrictions, and disagreements. During a particularly tumultuous recording period, George Harrison retreated to the garden of well-known musician Eric Clapton, where he felt such relief that he wrote one his most beloved songs, “Here Comes the Sun.”
This song and story pose as a priceless freelance tip: take a break when you need one.
The pressures and demands of a freelancer’s lifestyle can sap creativity and toss your morale down the toilet… and sometimes the only solution is a break. Whether it’s a walk around the block or a week in Greece, it’s up to you to determine what you need and what you can afford.
Either way, you’ve got to take care of yourself in order to stay creative and productive.
5. “Don’t Let Me Down”
This 1969 B-side was written as a plea from John Lennon to Yoko Ono, begging her not to let him down as they embarked on their new relationship together. Though catchy, it’s a jarring reminder of the trust that two people place on one another as they build a relationship.
Now, while you might not have a client desperately singing to you, you will encounter clients ready to put their full trust in your expertise. It’s important to remember that they have likely thought long and hard about deciding to hire you, and that you now have a lot of responsibility to uphold.
Honor your deadlines and promises, and do your best to satisfy the clients who have chosen you in this tumultuous sea of freelance competition. Most of us know what it feels like to be on the losing side of a relationship, and the last thing we want is for our clients to feel that way, too.
6. “Got To Get You Into My Life”
We’ve often compared freelancing to swimming in a massive ocean… only this ocean isn’t full of water; it’s full of other freelancers. If you want to keep from drowning, it’s imperative to build your brand and hone your craft so that you can provide a service that makes clients fall in love.
The song “Got to Get You Into My Life” is a cry of affection and need from Paul McCartney’s soul-inspired lead vocals. In the song, he’s surprised to discover something he never knew he needed… and doesn’t want to live without it.
How can you make clients want to sing this to you? What sets you apart from the crowd? Your brand is your life-raft in this freelancing ocean, and if it’s not bright enough to be seen, you’re going to be floating for a long time.
Things are always open to interpretation.
Of course, the lyrics of these songs are open to interpretation; that’s one of the most glorious things about music… and one of the most glorious things about freelancing. You might not make sense for one person to hire, but you could be the perfect fit for another.
The Beatles clearly didn’t start their music careers to teach us how to freelance, but I’d say they’re a prime example of how to be successful:
Never get complacent with your work, don’t be afraid to try new things, and never stop creating.
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