|Are you worn down by the well-travelled path?|
How many times have you found yourself following a familiar working pattern, even though it no longer delivers the same level of positive results?
The routine runs like clockwork – set-up, prospecting, emails, social media, yadda yadda. If you’re not paying careful attention to your business you can fail to spot the trends for a gradual decline in individual revenue streams, the increase in wasted time, and a lack of meaningful growth (more one-off gigs that took an hour to prospect are not growth unless they lead directly to a significantly better rate or a better class of referral).
The first challenge is to stop. Shut down the monkey mind that equates multiple activities with progress, switch off the self-doubting monologue about your limitations (education, location, time constraints, take your pick…) and take a breath.
Einstein nailed it in 1951* when he wrote: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
As readers of this blog will know, I rely on my trusty spreadsheet – not the graphs, but I could if I wanted to. I can see what work I’ve completed for which clients, when, and the value to my business. It's one of the means I use to prioritise my time. There is an interesting correlation between that value and my enjoyment of the work, but this may just be a quirk of mine.
A few tips
- If you use freelance sites such as People Per Hour, regularly review your profile. Look for best practice by checking out the profiles of freelancers who won the jobs that you didn’t. Perhaps they are presenting similar skills in a better way or targeting their clients better?
- If you’ve been writing regularly for a client, check whether the way you present your business aligns with their business.
- Go back through your profile / business resume and weed out any information or links that are no longer relevant. This can include dead links (for dead websites), content that - for whatever reason - doesn’t convey the impression you need to attract the clients you want, and vague terminology. For example, a seasoned writer of what?
- Experiment with different styles of communication. Try on different personalities for your business and see which ones fit, and whether you might benefit from varying your style according to which businesses you approach.
- Mix things up. Try varying your start and break times (you have breaks, right?). Disrupt your working pattern and introduce more creativity into your thinking and your approach. New ideas are the lifeblood of writing and you are more likely to encounter them if you’re not fixated on the familiar.
What can you do today to make a difference to your freelancing business?
Freelancer and author
* Albeit not definitely attributed to him as the author, despite the power of the Internet!