We make no apologies for this tongue in cheek tribute to the 50th anniversary of James Bond. We’re an all round, British blog for free agents, after all, and isn’t 007 the top free agent of all time?
In fact, we think that great freelancers and independents share many of the same traits as Mr Bond. If you are in any doubt as to your duties as a free agent secret agent, here are our top tips.
1. Get to know your target
Go undercover, and research their habits. Know them and their business almost as well as they do. Amazing what you can find out on the interwebs. You don’t need to invest in any spying equipment. Don’t do anything illegal.
Pat Fearing: “What exactly do you do?”
Bond: “Oh, I travel… a sort of licensed troubleshooter.”
2. Blend in
You’ll need to hit the ground running, and it’s best if the employees of the organization see you as part of the team. So you’ll need to develop the ability to blend in, and reassure everyone that you aren’t a threat. They’ll soon be spilling the beans to you. Make everyone feel like you’ve always been there.
3. Learn to read the office politics, but don’t get involved.
There isn’t an office without office politics. It’s important that you get to know the dynamics of the company you work with. Your client might need an ally, but it’s important to listen without prejudice. Being a useful listener is important. Get involved and you risk ending up on the wrong side of the client.
4. Be a diplomat.
A little like the above point, act like a diplomat. Learn the unique language of the company that you are working with, and translate into that language when you are communicating. Make them feel like they are part of the process by sharing your progress at every step of the way.
5. Gadget up.
You may not be able to afford the Bond car, but get yourself kitted out appropriately. Obviously you’ll need an elegant and trustworthy laptop, but you’ll need to be able to access intelligence on the move.
6. Alter your daily routine each day
Not a problem for the free agent. You don’t have a set routine, and you vary your journey. You work to suit your clients and your lifestyle.
7. Get the team to watch your back.
Teamwork is absolutely essential for the free agent. You can’t be everywhere all at once. Besides, having a team around you that complement your skills gives the illusion of a much bigger operation.
8. Be on the ball.
You’ll need to be resourceful. You won’t always have the tools and resources that employees have. Thinking creatively about problems like how to solve your clients’ issues and how you keep business coming in is the hallmark of a great free agent.
9. Stay free agent fit
You won’t be much use as a free agent secret agent if you don’t look after yourself, so observe some sensible eating habits, even if you are based at home with lots of temptation. Get out and about for a walk if you are stuck at the PC for too long which will keep your mind agile too.
10. Be ready for the impromptu dinner party
Socialising and networking is essential for the free agent. It’s how people get to know you. Be ever ready so that your new contacts know how to get hold of you and can find out more about you. Always maintain your composure. You never know when you might pick up some client intelligence!
We could end with a whole load of Bond clichés, but we won’t. But does this sound familiar?
Bond: “In my business, you prepare for the unexpected.”
Franz Sanchez: “And what business is that?”
Bond: “I help people with problems.”
Franz Sanchez: “Problems solver.”
Bond: “More of a problem eliminator.”
Goodbye Mr Bond.