When it comes to motivating humans behind a cause, organisations have culture – the manifestation of collective attitudes, beliefs and expectations of one another’s behaviour. But us freelancers, we like to keep it simple. We just have our values to keep us warm – the loners that we are.

Whichever scale we look at it, values underpin what you stand for and represent a moral compass guiding every business. So it’s about time I put mine down.

In case you’re wondering ‘why now?’ it’s recent experience and a TED-inspired revelation which provoked me to do this. I’ve been freelancing in Leeds for the best part of a decade now – so trust me, this has been a long time in the making.

This post is as much for you (a prospective client), as it is for me. As you’ll read, I’m pro-transparency and honesty. So this exercise won’t just help me stay true to my values, it’ll help you judge if we’re a good fit for working together on your next project.

I value:

  1. Our health and well-being
  2. Truth and honesty in cooperative working relationships and anything they produce
  3. Acting responsibly, sustainably and in harmony with nature
  4. Production of useful things that solve real problems and genuine needs
  5. Trust, support and autonomy
  6. A meaningful connection with the end-to-end process of creating something
  7. Fair and manageable projects with clear, realistic deadlines and resources
  8. An immersive understanding of the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ through observation and enquiry
  9. Diversity in the experiences work presents
  10. Respect and appreciation of effort

Now these embryonic values are out in the open, my next step is to cement these into my mission – the ‘why I do what I do’.

I’ll post them here in due course.

In the meantime, a little backstory to put this all in context

The background to this is a simple premise. We all have our personal values, basic needs we should fulfil if we’re to feel content in our lives. And your career, being a substantial part of that, defines your part in society. So your values deserve special attention, to make sure you’re getting what you want out of life.

Of course, morality’s renowned for being a bit of a grey area – so compromise and healthy negotiation has its place. But making your values explicit like this gives you somewhere to start. Some are immutable, others are fluid.

Put bluntly, for any project we do together to be truly mutually beneficial, you and I must put a nice big tick next to as many items as possible, on our respective lists.

Mine are above. What do yours look like?