The Hunger Games (2012)

You might think that there isn’t much of a connection between work-from-home entrepreneurs and a group of teenagers involuntarily being placed in a battle to the death. And, for the most part, you’d be right. That doesn’t mean, however, that freelancers can’t take home a few lessons from The Hunger Games.

Whether you’re a freelance writer like me, or you happen to be a graphic designer, search engine specialist, wedding photographer, or business consultant, there really are a few things that you can learn from Katniss and Peeta, as well as the circumstances of the near future world that they inhabit.

Your Humble Origins Don’t Matter

In The Hunger Games, two teenagers are selected from each of the twelve districts. These districts are largely broken up based on social class with the wealthiest coming from District One and the poorest from District Twelve. Although the more affluent teenagers are provided with better training and preparation, they are ultimately on their own when the “games” begin.

When you get into the context of freelancing, much of the same philosophy holds true. People with more money and better connections may get the better start, but that doesn’t mean that someone with more humble beginnings can’t rise to the top and find success. Overcome your shortcomings and turn your disadvantages into advantages.

It’s Survival of the Fittest

Twenty-four enter and only one can emerge. While I don’t believe that freelancing has to be a zero-sum game, you do have to fight your hardest to survive. Running a small business is no easy task and it’s an endeavor that can get increasingly challenging with time. To survive, you’ll need to keep your business in good shape.

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Your Morals

Even though Katniss Everdeen was thrown into a situation that encouraged violence and murder, it wasn’t something that she wanted to do. She was largely able to stick to what she believed to be the right thing to do, upholding her morals as best she could.

Just as Ellen Degeneres taught us to know who you are, the Hunger Games reminds us that you should stay true to yourself. If something doesn’t feel ethical to you or it goes against your strongly held beliefs, even if it may prove profitable, that something may not be worth pursuing.

Where Is Your Laser-Like Precision?

The bow and arrow features prominently in the movie and it represents a great way for you to go about your business too: with laser-like precision. While you could approach freelancing with a “let’s throw everything out there and see what sticks” kind of attitude, you may ultimately find greater success by narrowing down your focus to a single, isolated point.

What is your unique selling proposition? Being as specific as you can, who is your ideal client? What is your ideal project? You need to own your brand, but first you need to define what your brand is.

You Need to Adapt to the Situation

You are going to encounter circumstances that are new to you. That’s just the way it’s going to be, so it is of utmost importance to be as versatile as you can. Metaphorically speaking, you’ll need to fashion together a hammock in the trees. You’ll need to hunt down your dinner. You’ll need to fend off your adversaries. You’ll need to be resourceful and make use of your ingenuity.

Freelancing certainly isn’t easy and you aren’t always going to have the right tools on hand. The key is figuring out how to make use of what you do have and finding a way to not only survive, but to thrive.