Curiosity Feeds The Freelancer

You’ve probably heard the saying “curiosity kills the cat …” You probably know the etymology of that saying.  I know parts of it – but that’s for another article.  For now, I thought I’d put a positive twist on the old adage.  Curiosity does not kill; it feeds!

Take the National Geographic (Nat Geo) network.  If any organization knows about the positive side of curiosity, it is Nat Geo, which makes it apt that their slogan is LIVE CURIOUS.  Those wacky Nat Geo explorers sure know how to do it well.  They know how to transport you to exotic places and surround you with fantastic information about our wonderful universe.  Looking at the hardships they often endure in the process, it might appear that curiosity indeed kills.  But what stories and adventures these explorers unfold, and with what flare!

Through indulging their curiosity, Nat Geo explorers let us into the mysteries of the deepest oceans, share panoramic views from the highest peaks, unearth wonders from ancient places and newest finds.  We get to marvel at the grandeur and depravity of humanity, and the miracles embodied in all things great and small.  In short, these curious explorers stretch our view and expand our knowledge of the world, one adventure at a time.

And so it could be for us freelancers.  We could do well to adopt the LIVE CURIOUS motto and see what unfolds.  It might not transform us into wacky Nat Geo explorers, but I think indulging your curiosity could spice your work and business in three fundamental ways.

  1. Boost your competency:  Indulging your curiosity means working outside your typical comfort zone.  It means doing that extra bit of research — more than the project scope calls for.  Yes, you may be pressed for time.  Yes, the client may have given you “all” the material you need for the piece you’re working on.  But by doing a little more research, you stretch your thinking on the subject-matter.  More likely than not, that extra knowledge will show through in the quality of your writing and presentation.  That extra oomph is your competence fueled by well-channeled curiosity.  Before you know it, each project is no longer just about work scope and fees; it is becomes a true learning experience.
  2. Reinforce your status as a resource person.  Personally, I think it’s a mistake for a freelancer to see herself simply as a “hired hand”.  That type of thinking is demeaning and limiting.  I like to see myself as a valuable resource to my clients.  I market my services as such.  With every project, I help them meet a need that is vital to their business success – and ultimately mine.  However, to be a resource person, you have to live curious.  You have to build your knowledge base consistently within, around, and beyond your niche.  In short, you have to become a perpetual student.  The great thing about learning is that it can be fun.  It can make your work that much more enjoyable and your skill much more versatile.  It is essential for establishing yourself as the go-to person for your clients, which is a great way to grow your business.
  3. Open up new opportunities.  Many of us freelancers chose the solo path because we wanted more freedom – flexibility in our work life and more control over our personal time.  It means freedom to explore new options.  For the lucky few, opportunities seem to come to them effortlessly.  For the rest of us, doors open when we go looking and knocking.  The great thing about being a freelancer is there is no need for committee or employer approval before you go exploring.  You just need to be curious, think curious, and go for it.

There’s more that can be said about curiosity, but I hope the foregoing makes the point.  A curious freelancer stands to enhance her competency, secure a strategic position as a resource person, and uncover new opportunities to grow her business by.  Curiosity may kill the cat.  But properly channeled, curiosity can feed the freelancer.  So, I’d say THINK CURIOUS; BE CURIOUS.

What do you think?

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009-2010.