You have this great idea for an e-book. The topic is one your target audience will lap up. You have a plan to use the e-book to build credibility and gain high-quality leads. You can completely visualize how everything will come together to take your business to the next level.
But, you have project deadlines to meet. Family obligations to take care of. Daily marketing that must be done.
At the end of each day, you find yourself no closer to starting your e-book project. Much less finishing it.
Whether you want to build your business, create a side income, or learn a new skill, the things that will be the most transformative for your business often require a chunk (or many chunks) of dedicated time to execute. Which is why, so often, they get put on the back burner. Months, or even years, later, you’re left wondering why you never acted on that great idea you had.
The best way I’ve found for countering this is a simple two-step process.
First, set a monthly or quarterly challenge for yourself.
Second, schedule at least two hours a week to work on your challenge and treat it like a client meeting.
Why a monthly challenge?
I recommend a monthly challenge because most of the big things you can do to move your business ahead can be accomplished pretty quickly — at least more quickly than you thought — once you get started.
I see this happen to so many web writers. And maybe it’s happened to you. (I know I’ve done this.) You build something up — like creating your Information Packet or launching your website — to the point where you feel like it will take weeks’ or even months’ worth of work. The whole thing becomes larger than life… and not in a good way. And so you put off starting.
By setting it up as a challenge and then committing at least two hours a week to working on it, a few good things will happen.
You’ll get started. This is often the most important barrier to break through.
You’ll turn it into more of a game than something you “should” do, which makes it more fun. And when it’s more fun, you have less resistance.
You give yourself a clear deadline to work to, but the challenge is to get as much done as you can in that time you’ve scheduled. You don’t fail… you only make progress.
You put momentum on your side. Once you start to see something coming together, it’s no longer this looming thing you dread. It’s exciting and tangible and you can’t wait to work on it again.
So what kind of challenge should you set for yourself?
The challenge you choose to undertake each month could be anything. You’re only bound by your imagination.
A few guidelines will make this exercise more productive:
Choose a challenge that interests you.
Choose a challenge where you can clearly see the benefit to your business or your personal life — not one that someone else said you should do.
Set up a reward for if you complete your challenge. It could be as simple as taking a day off to go have a celebratory picnic in the park, play a game of golf, or take in an afternoon movie.
Use the following 25 ideas for inspiration in setting up your own challenges. But remember, tailor your challenges to your own interests and needs. This is about building your business, not meeting someone else’s expectations.
Write the copy for the launch — or relaunch — of your professional web-writing website.
Reinvent yourself on LinkedIn. Create a new profile. Add to your portfolio. Update your picture and experience. Get as many recommendations as you can.
Write the copy for the launch of your Money-Making Website.
Create your Information Packet.
Design a social media strategy for your business.
Create an Editorial Calendar for the year.
Build a list of 200 companies you’d like to work for.
Create a presentation you can give to local business owners.
Learn everything you can about Facebook ads.
Create a content marketing strategy that’s built to serve your audience’s needs.
Write an autoresponder series for your e-letter.
Create a bait piece.
Do as much research into your niche market as you can (competition, lingo, current pain points, industry news…).
Hand copy as many successful direct-response packages as you can.
Write an e-book.
Outline a novel.
Research and create a list of niche trade shows or industry events you might attend.
Apply to 100 job post listings that are looking for freelance writers.
Reconnect with 20 people you haven’t talked to in more than a year.
Put together a new project idea for each of your active clients.
Learn how to create a video for social media.
Learn how to do a screen cast.
Create an infographic.
Set up a YouTube channel.
Write a case study about your most recent project.
Any one of these things could help to move your web-writing business forward, bolster your skill set, or help you accomplish goals outside of your business. And when you set it up as a challenge and schedule time to work on it, even if you don’t fully complete the challenge, you’ll be much further along at the month’s end than you were at the beginning. That’s a good thing!
Plus, thinking of these kinds of projects as a challenge makes them fun. I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when I’m having fun.
So, tell us in the comments… what will your April challenge be?