Earlier this month, we discussed what freelancers can learn from Conan O’Brien and today, we divert our attention to another popular TV host: Ellen Degeneres. Her career has had its ups and downs, but she’s definitely on an “up” right now. How does she do it?
Laugh. Dance. Play.
First and foremost, Ellen knows how to have fun. Yes, she is still a savvy businessperson and she has done very well for herself, but she has never lost sight of the value of fun. During her show, she laughs a lot, dances a lot, and plays a lot. She plays pranks on her guests and she dances with her audience.
Among all the serious issues that can take up the lion’s share of your time, never forget to have fun too. If you’re not having fun, none of it is worth it. Remember to enjoy the journey and remember to smile more often.
Seize Every Opportunity
Ellen’s career has taken her to many different places. I will admit that I wasn’t really a fan of her sitcom and I didn’t watch her daytime talk show for the longest time, but I have become a fan in the last few years. Maybe it’s because I work from home and now I have the opportunity to watch more daytime programming.
Whatever the case, Ellen has learned to be versatile and take the great opportunities that come her way. In addition to her daytime talk show, she was asked to replace Paula Abdul on American Idol. That’s a great opportunity for her to get in front of a new audience and it’s another opportunity to expand her personal brand.
Freelancers need to take on the same philosophy and strategy. I thought that I was going to focus mostly on web-based work, but I am now a published author too. It was a great opportunity, so I took it.
Own Your Identity
Know who you are and don’t sacrifice your morals for monetary success. Ellen realizes that her coming out of the closet years ago plays a big part in how the public continues to perceive her to this day. So, she owns this. It’s not the entirety of her identity, but it is a significant part of it.
In much the same way, freelance writers need to find a unique voice that can then be sold to potential clients and colleagues. The best and most successful writers have a distinct and recognizable style. It becomes a part of their identity and their brand.
Treasure What Is Truly Important
Even though Ellen is making boatloads of money these days, she stays very grounded and real. She can still identity with her audience, despite the monumental chasm that lies between them in terms of income. That’s because Ellen still treasures the things in life that are the most important.
Money is nice. Fame is good. But, above all else, value your family and friends. The little things are what make life worthwhile. Enjoy those small successes and little victories.