11 Things Sterling Archer Taught Us About Freelancing

11 Things Sterling Archer Taught Us About Freelancing

Today just happens to be sandwiched between two important dates in my calendar.

First, my birthday is Saturday, April 9 — I’ll be 31.

But second, and more importantly, season 7 of Archer premiered on FX last Thursday, March 31…

If you’re not familiar, Archer is an animated comedy series intended for mature audiences… it’s tasteless, profane, and offensive — but it’s also witty and hilarious. And I love it.

Looking back on the first six seasons of Archer, I realize now that the cast was trying to share some really valuable lessons with us on freelancing.

So I decided to have a bit of fun with my blog post today… faster than you can say danger zone or just the tip, I present to you 11 things Sterling Archer — and friends — taught us about freelancing.

(1) You can ditch the 9-to-5 and leave your co-workers behind…

I mean, let’s be honest… it’s not like you’ll miss them anyway, right?

(2) …even if “society” tells you that self-employment can be risky.

Besides, what do they know, anyway?

According to one recent study,

About 60 percent of those freelancers [surveyed] said they earned more money from freelancing than from a traditional job they left.

(3) Besides, you’ve never been afraid to take a calculated risk, have you?

After all, you’ll never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go.

(4) But when you’re brand new to freelancing, you’re going to need to make some noise…

Don’t be afraid to turn some heads. Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be shy…

(5) Set goals to keep yourself motivated.

The early days can be long and hard — phrasing! — so find a reason to go the extra mile.

(6) Let excellence be the signature you leave on every job you do.

Go above and beyond for your first clients — even if you’re working pro bono at first to gain portfolio samples.

(7) Just remember, you are the boss…

Don’t be afraid to say no to a prospective client if you don’t have time to do their job, or if their job will consume more time than it’s worth.

(8) …after all, you need to prioritize.

Focus first on income-generating activities, and let everything else come second.

(9) Find a mentor if you need to.

The internet made the world a much smaller place. If you need coaching or mentoring, there are plenty of freelancers available to help.

(10) Embrace a career without physical boundaries.

Your first clients don’t have to be in your own backyard… thanks to the power of the internet, you can serve small businesses from anywhere in the world.

You might even learn a thing or two about other cultures while you’re at it…

(11) Just don’t be afraid of a little competition, okay?

You don’t need to be an expert to get started — you simply need to offer something of value to prospective clients. Something they either can’t do themselves, or simply don’t have the time to do.

So if you’re ready to start freelancing, allow me to assist…

START YOUR FREELANCING CAREER

If you’d like to ditch your 9-to-5 to build your own online, service-based business, I can help.

In fact, I’d love to send you some tools to get you started. Where should I send them?

Oh, and by the way, are you a fan of Archer?

Did I miss one of your favorite quotes or scenes?

Let me know the comments below.

(And just so there’s no confusion, I clearly didn’t create any of the images included in this post. You can find them here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

20 thoughts on “11 Things Sterling Archer Taught Us About Freelancing

  1. Happy belated birthday Brent!

    I would like to work freelance one day and your points have some great illustrations.

    Often, we are our only hindrance. We do not feel we have the ability.

    • Hi Phoenicia,

      Thanks for commenting and for the birthday wishes.

      I’m a big believer of the quote, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

      Is that the only thing that’s holding you back right now? You feel you don’t have the ability to succeed?

      If I can help you in any way, please let me know.

      Best,

      Brent

      PS: Are you a fan of Archer?

  2. Hey Brent,

    I just read that it was your birthday yesterday. Hope it’s not too late to say: happy birthday!

    Have never watched Archer before, but I did love this post.

    All these lessons are true for us freelancers. Actually, I was also pretty blown away by the fact that 60% of freelancers earn more than people with regular jobs. And they say freelancing is not a “real job”. 😉

    By the way, the last one is totally my kind of humor, ha! I might have to check it out sometime.

    “Barry wait. Slow down.” “Why?!” “So I can go past you!”

    I’m watching Parks and Recreation on a recommendation of Ana Hoffman and I have to say, it’s pretty hilarious, too.

    Hope you had a great birthday yesterday, Brent. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    – Jasper

    • Hi Jasper,

      Never too late to pass on well wishes, my friend! Thanks!

      Glad you enjoyed the post — and I do recommend you check out Archer. The first few seasons are on Netflix as I recall.

      People have all sorts of misconceptions about what exactly freelancing is. The thing is, it really can be anything we make it.

      Parks and Rec? That’s a funny show, too. I haven’t watched much of it, but from what I’ve seen, it’s great. I’m a big fan of Aziz Ansari, too. Have you ever checked out some of his standup comedy?

      Thanks for commenting.

      Best,

      Brent

  3. Hi Brent,

    Happy Birthday! Great post & I like the analogy although over here in Spain we don’t get Archer 🙁

    Some wise advice here. My favourite? Embrace a career without physical boundaries. It’s great working with people all over the world. As you say you can help people in other countries, but you can work there too.

    Have a great day on the 9th!

    Cheers
    Tony

    • Hi Tony,

      You don’t get Archer? We technically don’t in Canada, either. Guess you’ll have to illegally download it, just like everyone else. 😉

      I appreciate the birthday wishes. Thanks, Tony! And glad you found a little nugget of truth in this fun (and silly) post.

      Best,

      Brent

  4. Hi Brent,

    Goodness knows I ran with #10 😉 Fun post dude.

    Not watched Archer but I see commercials when I’m watching The Americans. It looks funny, and darn, no physical limits/boundaries exist if you dive into freelancing and grow a prospering business.

    Between your services businesses and products you can travel anywhere, when you want to. We arrived in NYC today. 2 weeks in the Big Apple. In late April, who knows where we will be? Amazing how this life took form, all with an empowered decision to run my own online business. Sure it was scary at first but guzzling down the freedoms of doing the freelance bit made the fear less powerful.

    Thanks Brent!

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,

      Archer is a great show, my friend — if you get a chance, give it a watch. It’s pretty funny.

      You’re right about overcoming the fear of striking out on our own fairly quickly. Once we get a taste for the freedom, flexibility and financial independence of building an online, service-based business, everything else gets a lot easier to digest, doesn’t it?

      Enjoy your time in New York! Let me know where you go next. (Better yet, I’ll just check your blog for updates…)

      Thanks for commenting.

      Best,

      Brent

  5. Hi Brent,

    Happy Birthday! We share the day, although not the year. A great day indeed!

    Interesting analogy to Freelancing here. I think sometimes that people struggle with Freelancing because of an irreverent attitude to it and what it entails. They feel great for taking the plunge and having left their job behind, so much so maybe that they forget that they still need to work at it. A lot harder in many cases.

    It’s made me rethink a lot about how I go about scheduling my time, for one. At least, not having a telly saves me time.

    – Tom

    • Hi there Tom!

      Same birthday, eh? You look like you were born somewhere around 1985, no? 😉

      Well, I hope you spend it doing something you love.

      “They feel great for taking the plunge and having left their job behind, so much so maybe that they forget that they still need to work at it. A lot harder in many cases.”

      ^ Oh, my goodness… a definite yes, Tom. We have to do a little more than just show up, don’t we?

      But if you don’t have a television, how can you watch Archer? LOL Guess you’ll have to (il)legally download it, just like the rest of us.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Brent

  6. Hi Brent,

    Well, I’ve never seen nor heard of Archer, but I like the images and captions above 🙂 And you’ve linked to some great advice on your blog. (I just googled it and found that it was on the UK Channel 5 back in 2014, so perhaps they’ll show some more.)

    I think it’s a nice change to have some posts like this. You can’t turn out 2,000-word epic each week – unless you’re Neil Patel.
    Actually, my first taste of your blog last year was when you published the Simpson’s post and I included it one of my monthly roundups. So it just goes to show how you can reach different people with a variation of your content. (Whether you wanted to attract people like me is another question entirely!? 🙂

    Happy Birthday for the weekend! Have a great day!
    – David

    • Hi David,

      Archer doesn’t officially air here in Canada, either… but by the time the end credits roll each Thursday, it’s available for download online five minutes later… or so I’ve heard. 😉

      “You can’t turn out 2,000-word epic each week – unless you’re Neil Patel.”

      Oh, yeah… Neil’s blog is insane. And the last few posts I’ve published have been upwards of 3,000 words… and just as you said, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do that every week or bi-weekly. But that’s a fun little fact about how we first connected through my Simpsons post last year! I didn’t know that.

      That Simpsons post is the only other one I’ve done in this style… huh! You learn something new every day.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, David! Chat soon,

      Brent

  7. “you’re going to need to make some noise…” – it’s always fun, even if you are not new 🙂

    Thanks for the quotes and introducing to Archer’s series, Brent!

    Marina

    • I feel like I’m introducing everyone to Archer for the first time… wow. I thought everyone loves Archer.

      Well, if you decide to check out the series on your own, enjoy!

      I appreciate you checking out my newest post and commenting… thanks!

      Brent

  8. Hi Brent,

    First off: Happy Birthday in advance! What a delightful post you have done and introduced me to Archer!

    I resonated with the first image “Oh my god, I’m surrounded by idiots” That was the wake up call I received long ago when I did work for a huge company. It didn’t take long…only a few years then I went off on my own. I didn’t exactly know what I was going to do, but somehow I’ve been on my own for decades. I just felt like a caged animal working for someone else. More than that, all that time doing nothing made me want to pull the hair out of my head.

    Fast forward to the internet business…indeed, everyone is in our backyard. The entire globe and it is fascinating to make friends everywhere.

    The other thing I like here is saying “Nope” because when running our own business that is one thing we need to be part of us. The strength to say no. No shiny objects, no I don’t have time, No I charge for that. lol.

    I enjoyed this and I thank you,

    -Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      Well, welcome to the Danger Zone! New episodes of Archer are on FX every Thursday evening.

      Thanks in advance for the birthday wishes! I guess it made me a bit lazy this week… decided to do a fun post instead of something really in-depth.

      “I just felt like a caged animal working for someone else.”

      ^ Now that I can relate to.

      It wasn’t that I had a bad job before striking out on my own… far from it. I just wasn’t working for me, and that always nagged at me. Plus, isn’t it just so satisfying to be entirely self-sufficient?

      I appreciate you checking out my newest post, Donna. Thank you! And thank you for commenting, too.

      Have a productive week!

      Brent

    • Thanks Amber!

      Oh, and Burt Reynolds actually guest stars on the show — he actually does the voice — and ends up dating Mallory Archer briefly. Good episode, too.

  9. Hi Brent,

    Yet another interesting post!

    Hey, I am not a fan or reader of Archer but after going thru this post and the connected link to the page i got some idea about the character. Good that you connected the activities of Archer to that of a freelancer. Yes, the 11 things Sterling Archer and his friends taught us through their actions you put it well in an interesting way, as you said in a funny way. The #1 thing itself is a real one and bit of a fun too! Yes, we can ditch the 9-to-5 and leave your co-workers behind… the only thing required is the consistency and a bit of a more hard work!

    Hey Brent the other connected links too are indeed a must read along with this post, I am sure the newbie freelancers can pick up lot of lessons from these series of posts.

    Thank you so much for sharing this interesting post just on the eve of an upcoming wonderful event! Hey here comes my advanced good wishes for that sweet day. Many Many Happy Returns of the DAY in advance!!

    Take care and enjoy

    Have a good day my dear friend

    Best

    ~ Phil

    • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post, Phil!

      Well, Archer actually has nothing to do with freelancing… but since I’m a fan of the show, I thought I’d pay tribute by drawing connections. 😉

      Consistency and more hard work…? Yes, that sounds about right! If only more new freelancers understood that it will be more work in the beginning, not less.

      I appreciate your well wishes, my friend. Thanks!

      Brent

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