By: Joshua Danton Boyd
In the popular TV show Rome, the character Titus Pullo reassures the young Gaius Octavian Caesar that to be a middling swordsman is better than nothing. Caesar is quick to respond.
“There you are wrong. The graveyards are full of middling swordsmen. Best not to be a swordsman at all than a middling swordsman.”
This might be a slight extreme of course, but being in the middle of your industry is not a great thing. Sure, it might bring you some work, but will it be as fulfilling as being at the top of your field and getting those truly great projects and positions? Being sat in the middle will only grind you down until you become disillusioned with the unchallenging work and unsatisfying pay. So, how do you get to the top where you deserve to be?
Be Original and Innovative
It is often suggested that you should be creative to succeed. This, unfortunately, is just not enough. Anyone can be creative and even when they’re skilled it still doesn’t mean you’ll stand out. There are thousands of talented writers out there all battling for the same jobs. Being good at what you do does not make you stand out unfortunately.
To get noticed you need to be coming up with new solutions to old problems, new interpretations of old concepts and new ways to get better results. If you do one project that both goes against the accepted norm and is successful, you’ll gain more recognition than 50 jobs well done in the usual way. As you’ll probably know, your reputation and how far it spreads will have the biggest influence and effect on your success.
Show Off Your Knowledge
As with a lot of cases, to build your reputation you need work and to get work you need a reputation. It’s an annoying catch-22 which usually means having to work for free to build up a portfolio. This is obviously something no one likes doing. There is another option that can help to speed this process along so you can stop doing unpaid work and get to the good stuff.
If someone has a problem that needs fixing they find an expert to advise them. You need to become that expert. The Internet has allowed pretty much everyone to give their two-cents on any article and blog post that is ever published online. Everyone is also able to set up their own blog to give their opinions. If you get out there with all of your valuable knowledge by writing guests posts, commenting on blogs and writing your own you will start to be known as an expert of your industry. With this will come great recommendations, word of mouth spread and some decent work.
Show Your Skills
Every job you take has the potential to be the best thing in your portfolio. It can be easy sometimes to just do some mediocre work for a simple job. All you want to do is get it out of the way, get paid and find something interesting. It’s perfectly natural to think like that, but why not instead take this opportunity to show off your skills and do something different.
To give you some inspiration, check out this website. Something that looks great and interesting all for the sake of a simple stats and news site. The developer who made this knew exactly what he was doing and the fact this site went viral meant he was sure to have gotten plenty of work after. The more pieces in your portfolio which show originality and a huge talent the better.
Who would ever want to be a middling swordsman?