I really agree with this, a lot of people do not take action, they have many ideas but they never take action on them, in the freelancing world its all about action.
The Most Critical Factor To Freelance Success: Taking Action
Launching a successful freelance business requires a certain degree of competence in your craft. It also requires goals, courage, determination, discipline and purpose.
But over the years, I’ve come to realize that you need something else. Something more important. You need to continually take action. Even when you don’t yet have all the answers. And even when you don’t feel like it.
The Mark of a Successful Freelancer
I attribute much of my success to my ability to take action. For me, taking action is more important than experience, attitude, skill or personality. I’m not alone here. Virtually every successful (financially and otherwise) person I know is continually taking action.
There’s a sense of urgency about everything they do. Not in a negative, “anxiety disorder” kind of way. Rather, you can sense that these people know what they want. They exude determination and confidence.
And they almost always reach their goals.
I’ve not always been this way. When I was trying to get my business off the ground, I spent a lot of time worrying about things that I now realize are trivial. I spent a lot of time trying to get my logo just right. My website presentable. My message clean and refined. My portfolio nice and balanced.
In fact, I refused to go out looking for clients until I had all these pieces in place. I wanted everything to be perfect. Now when I look back, I realize that I was stalling. Partly out of fear of making mistakes. And partly because many of us don’t want to settle for anything less than perfection.
Yet had I taken action when all those pieces were just “good enough,” I could have started making money a lot faster. And left my full-time job a lot sooner. When you fail to act quickly, even when all the pieces aren’t in place, you lose focus. Inertia sets in.
As the weeks go by, the chances of your succeeding diminish—rapidly! And before you know it, you’ve lost your inner drive and focus.
Are You Stuck in a Rut?
I frequently hear from aspiring freelancers who are stuck in the same rut. Some don’t even realize they’re stalling.
Just the other day I got an email from a budding copywriter who has been working on his business for the last year. He proudly admitted that he was on his second round of logos, company name, business cards and website copy.
He hadn’t landed a single project yet. But he had spent the last 12 months getting everything “just right.” And he still had a few weeks to go before he was ready to prospect for clients.
A Simple Challenge
So what’s the solution? I’ll tell you what I told this copywriter:
If you’re serious about launching a successful business, promise yourself that you’ll do the following:
- As soon as you finish reading this article, write down 3 simple and quick steps you can take in the next three days to get you closer to your goal. Pick something you could do immediately, something you can do tomorrow and something you can do the day after.
- Treat these 3 tasks as if your life depended on your accomplishing them (this attitude is key!).
These tasks shouldn’t take you long to accomplish. Pick tasks that will give you quick wins, even if they’re small, psychological wins.
For instance, if one of your goals is to leave your job for a freelance career, decide the date by which you want to cut the employment “umbilical cord.”
Or schedule a lunch appointment with a colleague to investigate potential project opportunities with her company. Or perhaps you can order a domain name for your website. It doesn’t really matter what tasks you pick, as long as all three help get you closer to your goal.
Why It Works
Don’t underestimate the effect these baby steps will have on your psyche. Taking even the smallest action will start building the momentum you need to help keep you on the right path. And this initial momentum will give you motivation…which will encourage you to take more action…which will build even greater momentum.
So don’t wait to promote your business until you have a logo, business cards, a great-looking website and an impressive portfolio. Don’t wait until you’re inspired, motivated or have all the answers. Whether you act now or stall for another year, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s OK. Mistakes are a part of launching any business. Don’t worry about them.
Just get started somewhere right now! And see how quickly you achieve your goals.
About the author: Ed Gandia is a freelance copywriter and the publisher of the biweekly newsletter, “The Profitable Freelancer.” To get a free copy of his report, “7 Steps to Landing More (and Better-Paying!) Freelance Jobs” visit www.TheProfitableFreelancer.com.
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April 8th, 2008 at 11:29 am
April 8th, 2008 at 3:14 pm
This post is so true that it hurts. As a person who works with freelancers and small businesses all the time (including my company),I see so many times when a business could be hugely successful only to waste away due to inaction.
Anyhow, this is a great post, and something all of us need to keep in mind. Thanks.
MikeApril 8th, 2008 at 6:12 pm
Ed, i couldn’t agree more.Funny thing i was reading one of Donald Trump’s books today and he said the same thing.ACT! I think everyone should do that, not only the ones working in the internet industry.I am one of those ‘must-be-perfect’ guys and i will take these advices for good as i have nothing to loose.Hopefully i will come back after 3-4 months to thank you ( and Trump :) ) for opening my eyes.
April 9th, 2008 at 6:29 am
I totally agree – and the worst thing is you never get it right the first time so even though you spend months working on your website you will still need to change some details when you launch it.
April 9th, 2008 at 10:07 am
Great post, Freelance Folder is rapidly becoming one of my favorite resources for advice on the web. (You are, in fact, on my list of Blogs I Love With a Fiery Passion.)
The thing I did when I was uncertain about the way I presented myself (no website, no business cards, decent portfolio) was ask for references from family and friends. That eliminated the first ‘impress them with your stationary’ step, since I was already in the door and could just show them my work.
April 9th, 2008 at 6:18 pm
Very timely post for me Ed. I’ve been talking about starting up work as a freelance tech writer for the last two years. Now I’m actually doing something about it.
I purchased my domain in February, I’ve come up with a logo and right now I’m working on the website copy. (if you go there now you won’t see anything, but stay tuned, it will be ready soon!) My goal is to have everything ready to go by mid-May, when I go off on a well-deserved vacation. Giving myself deadlines has definitely helped.
When I get back from my trip in May (& my day job has calmed down somewhat), I’m going to start actively looking for freelance work. My goal is to make $100 a month from my freelance work by my birthday in mid-December. I know that seems a long ways away, but as you said Ed, it’s just a matter of DOING IT. So one thing at a time, and I will get closer to my goal of working freelance full-time. I can’t wait!
Ed Gandia at The Profitable FreelancerApril 10th, 2008 at 3:21 pm
Glad to hear this message has provided a bit of inspiration and motivation to take action.
@Mason – Hey, I love those 2 posts of yours. Great stuff in there!
@Mike – I have no doubt that action trumps talent, skill or good hair (no pun intended!).
@Tei – Another great thing about approaching friends and family is that when you’re starting out, self-confidence can be an issue. Approaching those you know helps boost confidence while giving you some great samples and possible testimonials.
April 17th, 2008 at 4:02 pm
Amazing thing. I am a action man, but in the last two weeks I lost a little bit my motivation and enter in a momment of inertia. I Felt it, but I was in denial and reading this article make me realize that and ir gave me a bost of mtivation.
Thank you very much.
April 17th, 2008 at 6:19 pm
A couple of days ago I’ve read something like “Don’t just be a thinker, think and act!”.
That is the plain truth.
July 13th, 2008 at 1:39 pm
This is a fantastic post that addresses one of the biggest challenges we face when starting out, and most of us don’t even realize it. I believe something similar is addressed when we talk about the Law of Attraction – don’t some of those rules say that, in addition to positive thinking, you must take some sort of positive action in the direction that you want to go, just as though it were already happening? I think it’s the same principle, and it really does work. You spelled it out perfectly. If we continuously take steps towards reaching our goals, we greatly enhance our chances for success.
July 14th, 2008 at 5:58 pm
Thanks for your comments, Angela! You’re absolutely right. We need to continually take steps towards our goals…even when we don’t feel motivated to do so. The action (and the results you start getting) will then bring on the motivation. In other words, don’t wait for “the right time” or for when you feel up to it. Do it now! Tomorrow may never come.
November 28th, 2008 at 6:31 pm
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November 28th, 2008 at 10:52 pm
Keep Up The Good Work
December 15th, 2008 at 12:07 am
BrilliantPleasure Looking At Your Site Guys
August 16th, 2009 at 6:59 pm
How do you know Ed, whose an extraordinary freelancer and whose just freelancing is there catagories of freelancers i.e. work at home, self employed, unemployed and so on. Thee just seems to be more people that are successful independants and wealthy than there are people like myself who can’t get a bite, I own equipment have talent Have experience in photography, webdesign, operational managment and a great deal of charisma I’ve bought some books my names on every mailing list, and I remain very possitive, What am I doing wrong?
November 19th, 2010 at 10:01 am
This is very excellent information being shared, thanks alot for sharing it! I will make use of this. I am 17 years old and help people make money online and succeed, if you want to know how a young school boy is making serious money then contact him now!
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