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Who clients really want to work with…

You look lazy, and you don’t realize it.

99% of freelancers online are putting in the bare minimum effort – and it shows.

But I don’t mean HUSTLE. That’s a different thing.

It’s deeper than that.

I’m a huge, HUGE fan of standup comedy.

I was born in 1985. As the youngest of 4 boys, I was often heavily influenced by the media my older brothers and my parents enjoyed. And comedy was king in our house.

If you know anything about standup, you know that the ‘80s and the ‘90s were THE years for dudes standing in front of brick walls with a microphone and a stool with a glass of water on it.

I grew up watching and listening to some of the funniest comedians on the planet:

  • Bill Cosby (shut up, he was funny, deal with it)
  • Gallagher (way funnier than you remember)
  • Jeff Foxworthy (had way more than just his “redneck” stuff)
  • Steve Martin (often-forgotten, which is criminal)
  • Jerry Seinfeld (still hilarious to this day)
  • Rodney Dangerfield (go YouTube his stuff right now)

There were plenty others, of course. But those were some of my favorites.

Unfortunately, standup is not great now. There are a few, but not nearly as many as there were in the heyday of standup.

I have a theory as to why: swearing.

Don’t get me wrong. Swearing doesn’t bother me. And some of the most successful standups of all time had plenty of it.

However, the truly-successful, hilarious comedians could adapt their act for the mainstream. That’s how they built their careers.

They could clean up their act and go on Johnny Carson or whatever, and kill.

Eddie Murphy (also hilarious, but definitely filthy) had a whole bit on how Cosby accused him of being too dirty, and his argument was that he still had jokes.

“You can’t just do a Curse Show. I can’t walk out here and be like, Hello! Filth flarum, d***, p****, s***, and snot. Good night! Good night, s*** my d***! Bye Bye!

His point was, if all you’re doing is cursing, you’re lazy.

And I always believed that about comedy.

But as standup moved along into the late ‘90s and into the 2000s, more and more comedians just leaned into being dirty AS the joke.

I’ve always skewed towards cleaner comedians because the very act of building a comedy routine with the limitations of language forces you to be more creative. You put in more work, because there has to be more substance around what you’re saying.

And now that we’re 400 words deep into this analysis of standup comedy, let me get to the point that is relevant to you.

Freelancers in 2024 are seriously lazy

I see freelancers pitching every single day.

Whether it’s a writer that I’m coaching or a pitch in my X DMs, I’m watching very closely.

There are two camps that turn up all the time:

  1. The overly-professional freelancer who sounds like a dictionary when he communicates.
  2. The Bro Freelancer who talks like a 20-year old college kid playing beer pong in a frat house.

Neither of them can get clients.

And neither of them understand why.

As it turns out, clients don’t want to work with either of these bozos.

That’s because both of them are exuding laziness just by the way they communicate.

The Overly-Professional Freelancer

This guy’s pitch instantly makes eyelids heavy.

“Hello! I am a conversion copywriter who specializes in crafting email copy that engages with your audience and moves them to take action. With my expertise in consumer psychology, I feel confident I can increase your revenue by tapping into proven engagement techniques and delivering copy that gets results.”

I nearly fell asleep just typing that.

The reason this guy can’t get work is because he sounds like an AI bot (and he might be, actually).

He’s drier than a saltine cracker in the Mojave Desert.

He has no clue how to communicate like a human being – which means he’s out.

It’s a form of laziness to talk like this. That’s why it’s a turnoff.

And speaking of turnoffs…

The Bro Freelancer

This guy’s pitch is exactly the opposite.

“Yo Tom! Do you want more sales? My copy can fkn skyrocket your sales so they’ll be eating out of your hand. What do you say, dude?”

If you close your eyes, you can actually SEE this guy’s broccoli-top curls bouncing on his head while he types this out.

This guy is an instant turnoff because he has no idea how to communicate like an adult.

He’s putting even less effort in than the Overly-Professional Freelancer.

He thinks we’re living in a New Age of Business or something, where you don’t have to talk like a professional. That’s why he only targets online coaches and course creators who also are probably unprofessional dorks.

And he wonders why he can’t get clients.

Clients want to work with grownups

That’s it.

Social skills are not dead. Sorry, Internet.

There are 30m+ small businesses in the United States.

Each one of them has a Decision Maker that just wants to work with professionals who can engage in conversation like normal Human Adults.

Personal connection. Professional presentation.

If you can master this, you’ll book clients with the tiniest amount of consistent effort.

Knowing how to talk to people and adapt your conversation to them is an art, and it requires practice and patience.

When a standup comedian’s punchline is just the swearing, their ability to reach mainstream success is going to be hampered.

They have to put in the work to have real substance to what they bring to the table.

Freelancers have to do the same thing if they want consistent success.