"Cat in the Hat" Third Printing Front Cover

I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.

As children, many of us read the books by Dr. Seuss. They were colorful little diversions, but they also offered some great life lessons. Green Eggs and Ham taught us that seemingly undesirable things can actually be really good and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas taught us that the holiday represents so much more than just tinsel and gifts. And now, as a professional freelancer, there are many more lessons that we can learn from Dr. Seuss that can help us better run our businesses.

You might remember similar blog posts that I have written in the past, investigating some of the key lessons that business professionals can learn from fictional characters like Danny Tanner, comedians like Ellen Degeneres and historical figures like Abraham Lincoln. And so, today we turn to these treasured stories from Dr. Seuss for some more words of wisdom.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

If you take the bold leap of faith into full-time freelancing, then you’ve already taken a rather unconventional approach to your career. Once you’ve done that, though, it’s far too easy to blend in as just another wallflower. You need to ask yourself why someone would hire you to do the job rather than the other contractor or freelancer. What is your unique selling proposition? What are you doing to stand out?

“Everything stinks till it’s finished.”

A work in progress is necessarily going to look rough along the edges. You’ll look at that e-book you’re writing or that website you’re designing, only recognizing its flaws and shortcomings. The hours will be long and the work will be challenging, but the final product will be something that will make you proud (and want to do it all over again).

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

Freelancing is about taking chances. I’m not saying that you should take on unnecessary risks, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new just because it is new. By taking on this kind of approach, you step outside your comfort zone, you broaden your horizons, and you elevate the value that you provide to your clients.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

This expands on that same philosophy. Never stop learning. Don’t allow yourself to stagnate. We live in an increasingly knowledge and skill-based economy. Keep bolstering your “savings account,” so to speak.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

One of my biggest motivations for starting a freelance career in the first place was that I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to set my own hours, select my own projects, and work the way that worked best for me. As a freelancer, you have that freedom to choose. You can take your career wherever you want to go.

The tough part is figuring out how to get there.