• Advice

4 Things Freelancers Can Learn From George Harrison

This week marks what would have been George Harrison's 71st birthday. The Liverpool-born musician was a prolific songwriter, film-enthusiast, follower of Hare-Krishna...and also one of the founding members of a little band called The Beatles.

Though we lost him far too early, “the quiet one” in the Beatles actually had a lot to say. Here are 4 things that all freelancers can learn from George Harrison:

Experience is what matters
"Experience is the main reason why we're here, I think, in the world – to gain experience. And from our experience we gain knowledge... and if we get any knowledge, then we gain liberation."

Not a single person ever began their career as a 360 freelancer. Each of us found freelancing in a different way and continue to freelance for different reasons. Some of us freelance full-time, others work a 9-5 and have side gigs. The important thing is to acknowledge that the learning process is never-ending.

Sure, there are some “enlightened” freelancers out there, but freelance life (and the world of work in general) is ever-changing. So, we’re all going to make mistakes, or regret not having handled certain freelance situations differently. The important thing is to be able to step back, learn from your experiences, and use them to help you move forward.

Focus on the now
“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.”

Setting goals is healthy, but we all know that life throws curve-balls sometimes. With the roller-coaster ride of finding gigs, nobody knows this more than freelancers. Since you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, spend your time on what you’ve got happening in the moment. If you’ve got more work than you can handle, take a few hours out to start thinking about subcontracting. If you’re experiencing a freelance dry spell, find some local networking events and get to know your freelance neighbors. Circumstances are never going to be absolutely ideal, so determine what you need to work on and attack it with all of your freelance might.

Give your clients the good part
“I think people who truly can live a life in music are telling the world, ‘You can have my love, you can have my smiles. Forget the bad parts, you don’t need them. Just take the music, the goodness, because it’s the very best, and it’s the part I give most willingly”

George Harrison may have been talking about music, but the fact is that any creative freelancer is telling their clients to take the smiles, and not the bad parts.

Your project should reflect your passions. It should be something that you’d be working on even if there was no one there paying you to do it. You’ve made an active decision to make the freelance leap, escape the 9-5 and make the world work for you, not the other way around. Since that’s the case, put the best part of you into your work and present it with pride.

Fame and money are not the goals
“I remember thinking I just want more. This isn't it. Fame is not the goal. Money is not the goal. To be able to know how to get peace of mind, how to be happy, is something you don't just stumble across. You've got to search for it.”

George Harrison didn’t grow up rich, but even when he made a little money (the man left nearly $10 million behind!) he still wasn’t entirely satisfied. He wanted peace of mind, happiness, and contentment in life. As a freelancer, you’ve already taken the first step towards building a life that works for you. As you pursue your dream and your business becomes more successful, just remember to take some time out for yourself, don’t get burned out, and appreciate where you are in life. Things might not be perfect, but at least you aren’t sitting in an office!