Chapter 11: How to Get Freebies Part 1: The Persona
So I’ve rambled on this far without really getting to the thinking behind
Freebie-Man’s many powers and it’s probably only fair that I start to spill the
beans on how they were formulated. Whilst there were no pits of radioactive
waste, radioactive spiders, or radioactive meteorites (in fact no radiation
whatsoever) there was some sort of logic and structure to my freebie grabbing
process which I will now attempt to dissect as best I can.
For most, getting freebies is a natural process, some people just love
to haggle down for the best prices, or they have a reputation that ensures they
can always get the best deals. They may be an A list star, spoilt brat child or it
may be a typically snobbish CEO who is known for always getting what they
want. Either way each of these people embodies a ‘persona’ that makes
people want to give them something for free. Therefore we can conclude that
the first step on our freebie grabbing journey is to create a persona of your
own, feeding in some of these elements from people in the media, to build a
stronger individual, who embodies the characteristics that will help you get
This works in three ways:
a) You will now embody the characteristics, and if they worked for those
individuals there is every likelihood they will work for you too.
b) It creates an element of role-play to the scenario, helping you to play
around with the freebie hunting/ haggling process. If you are usually a shy
person your new persona will give you the added strength to stop going back
to your previous routines.
c) It gives you a mask to hide behind in case it all goes wrong. Getting stuff for free is filled with rejection and people that think you’re a bit of a 'cocky
bugger', so you’ll need this new ‘persona’ to take all the negative energy,
leaving you free to continue your everyday life with no negative effects.
Whilst I am not in any way advocating multiple personalities, or that anyone
take it too far there are very simple ways to achieve the top three points. The
simplest way is to change one thing about yourself and use that whenever you
take on this new form. This could be anything as simple as wearing a hat, to
different makeup or a new accent. Think of yourself as a comedian putting on
an act, although you may not want to go as far as the Dame Edna’s of the
world and engage in any cross dressing (unless it’s what works for you, in
which case go for it).
If you are stuck for something to change, think back to the people for
whom getting freebies comes easily too, or someone that you see who has an
air of confidence about them. What makes them different? What makes them
stand out from the crowd? Naturally ‘Freebie-Man’ is my persona and
likewise when I created him as my freebie grabbing identity I went through a
The personality that I really wanted to embody was that of the new
age CEO. The likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and countless other Silicon
Valley CEO’s inspired me. Although they seem to lack outwardly strong
personalities, they radiate a charisma through their reputation and the
confidence they show is in the products they create. I could have also gone
down the Rupert Murdock or Alan Sugar route which would have created a
much more hard-nosed ‘persona’ whose power was based on results and cold
hard facts. Given that the new age CEO's more embodied my current self, and
would be less of a radical shift they made a more logical choice.
So in essence try to match someone that is who is a few steps removed
from yourself. They don’t have to be a figure in the public eye either, if you’ve always been proud of your mother, father, butcher, baker etc then you
can always explore what makes them the confident, successful people they
are and borrow from them too.
The one thing I decided to change about myself was my
clothes. If you watch any meeting, or presentation by a new age CEO then the
dress code is far removed from that you may expect. Gone are the days of
shirts and in are polo necks, jumpers and blazers. So when I fist set out in to
the world of Freebie-Man I didn’t go for the typical approach of suit, tie,
shirt, shoes, instead I adopted a brown polo neck, dark brown trousers and a
pinstripe suit jacket. This mixture of styles indicated that yes I was
professional (the jacket) but also approachable (the polo neck).
I first put this outfit in to practice at a trade show called the Spring
Fair. At first I have to admit I felt a little daft, I was outside of my comfort
zone at a huge show, professional businessmen were everywhere in their
pressed suits and I felt like an outsider. But as I spoke to more companies and
individuals I realised that in many ways that’s the point of the ‘persona’. Had
I gone alone as ‘Mike Essex’ dressed in my suit and shoes as everyone else
there, I would have been another unrecognisable face in a sea of people.
By going to the show as ‘Freebie-Man’ I therefore stood out more
(thus helping people remember me afterwards). It also gave me an excuse to
try to be different, to try and put the old mumbling and stumbling behind me
and become someone else.
Once the show was over I returned home and again slipped in to my
usual Mike Essex self. And really that’s the disclaimer of this piece, it’s
important that you remember to reel your 'persona' back in again once you are
finished with them. The ‘persona’ should be seen as a testing ground for new
ideas, and a chance to experiment with the things that may make you a better
person or improve your freebie grabbing chances. Ultimately you should try
not to lose yourself along the way, or to become obsessed with finding new
ways to change your 'persona' as you may lose a little something of what
makes you tick underneath. There will be some elements of your current self
that are also great freebie grabbing tools, or things that make you a strong
person so remember to keep them too.
Ultimately inspiration can come from anywhere and all I can suggest
is to just give it a go. Change one thing about yourself and go out in to the
world. Don’t try getting anything just yet as a ‘persona’ needs a
‘unique offer’ to truly succeed which I will come to later. But just see if the
world accepts you or spits you out when you try the new ‘persona’ out. If all
goes well, then great! Build on that and develop yourself further. And if all
goes wrong return to the drawing board, don’t be dispirited and try again.
After all rejection hurts…