What Elle Woods Taught Me about Freelancing
I have a secret to tell you: I look up to Elle Woods.
Although it may not seem that I have much in common with a Malibu Barbie-esque sorority girl, I immediately fell in love with the Legally Blonde character. I’ve seen the movies, I’ve read the book, and I’ve even seen the musical. In fact, when I really, really need to work, I queue up the soundtrack from the music on my computer. (Don’t judge me.) And when facing a busy, challenging day, I’m not above telling my friends “I’m about to go Elle Woods on day.”
I’ll be the first to admit the storylines are cheesy and that it wasn’t Reese Witherspoon’s best work. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t found a little inspiration for my freelance career through Elle Woods:
You’d be surprised at how far a smile and determination get you. In real life, someone with a 4.0 in Fashion Merchandising and four years of sorority style hijinks does not decide to go to Harvard Law School at the last second and get in. But instead of listening to people tell her what she couldn’t do, Elle just did it. And I took the same stance when my parents kept asking me if I was going on job interviews the first year of my freelancing career.
Stand out. Elle Woods has pink scented resumes. Stacked together with all those other resumes from lawyers, it must have been like shouting in a library. But standing out is the best way to make waves and be noticed. The alternative is being lumped in with everybody else. Some of the things you see here on my blog and website aren’t in line with the laws that the experts dispense. That’s okay. I’m doing this my way. And at least you’ll be able to see me when I’m standing in a crowd of others doing it the other way because they read a book that said they should.
Be Yourself. If you were ditzy sorority girl who had finagled your way into Harvard law, you’d probably try to play that down to fit in. But what does fitting in get you? It gets you over looked. Who you are is the little something you bring to the table that no one else can. Use it to your advantage. When I look at my most popular posts on this blog, they are all about me. There’s a reason for that. People respond when you’re the most authentic.
There’s always a mean girl. Or a mean blogger. Or a mean tweeter. Or a mean client. The Internet makes it easy to be meaner than you’d be in real life. Elle always handled her mean girls with grace. No matter what they said or did, she didn’t let it get to her. I don’t either. For every mean tweet I get or rude response I get while commenting, I just realize that those people probably aren’t as awesome as I am. And that can’t be that easy to live with, can it?
Take your dog everywhere you go. Bruiser the gay Chihuahua is Elle’s constant companion. In fact, the second movie’s premise is built around Elle quitting her job as a high powered lawyer because her company used animal testing on Bruiser’s mother. As her loyal supporter, Bruiser gets a special place in the book and movies because he’s always been there for Elle. I feel the same way about my little gang of freelancers. When I’m having a bad day or need a little help, I can always send out smoke signals via email, Twitter or Skype. And I’d do the same for them if they needed it. (Ok, maybe this lesson should have been called Relationships are important. Whatever.)
Negativity is for ugly people. Or untalented people. Or lazy people. Or people with nothing going for them. Because those are the people who can expect everything to go wrong every day. Those are the people who have nothing to smile about or nothing to look forward to. People like you, me and Elle don’t have those types of worries. So it’s easier to get up with positive outlook every morning.
Sometimes you’re gonna show up to the party dressed like a Playboy Bunny and look like an idiot. We get embarrassed, suffer setbacks or have our feelings hurt. But you have to get up and get back on the horse. If Elle had left school that day, she would have never realized that the actual prize was not her ex-boyfriend. I’ve had my embarrassing and disappointing moment, too. But I’m still here. I’ve survived every mistake and misstep I’ve ever made, and you will too.
So the cat’s out of the bag. Elle Woods inspires me to freelance. What fictional character does the same for you?