Ever feel like you just aren’t making any progress in your freelance business? Do you seem to be working endlessly but aren’t any closer to reaching your goals?
Well, let me tell you about someone who knows how that feels … I’ll call him Jack.
Jack and his co-author got 140 rejections for a manuscript they wrote. Imagine — 140! Finally, number 141 was interested, but it was a small publishing house with virtually no marketing department. So, Jack and his colleague decided to take action, because their goal was to have a best-selling book …
Every day for two years, they took 5 actions to put their book in front of people. They sent out copies to editors hoping they would print a review, wrote press releases, sent copies to celebrities, gave talks, called in to radio shows (often in the wee hours). The list was quite long but each and every day they completed 5 things: 5 radio shows, 5 celebrities, 5 editors, or some combination.
Sound daunting and time-consuming? Thinking you don’t have the time to do what they did? Let’s look at it more closely. Sending 5 copies out to editors or celebrities took them at most an hour, probably less. Calling in to a radio show on the regular line — not as a scheduled guest — to discuss the book might have been a few minutes or more, depending on the response from the show (but think how many people they reached in those few minutes). So, while each action directly related to getting the book known and read by millions of people — they didn’t have to take up a lot of time.
In the end, each action may have been small. But, all together, the actions added up to success beyond what they could have ever conceived with their original goal. You see, after one year, they made the bestseller’s list. After two, they were on the way to selling 8 million copies.
You may not have heard this story before … but you’ve probably heard of Jack. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen co-authored Chicken Soup for the Soul. To date, the series has been published in more than 40 languages, and sold more than 112 million copies. It’s created an entire line of specialty books, such as Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, and become a brand for a line of pet food, CDs, DVDs, flowers, greeting cards, and much more. And, it all started with one goal and 5 daily actions!
Based on that experience, Jack coined “The Rule of 5” in is his New York Times bestseller The Success Principles. That book outlines 64 principles to live by that lead to a successful life (and by successful, he means reaching your goals — doing, being, and having what you want).
I’m sharing this story with you as a secret to getting out of a funk, and making steady, daily progress towards the writer’s life. Let me run through an example of how I am applying “The Rule of 5” to my goal of becoming a six-figure copywriter.
Here is a short list of action items directly related to reaching my goal:
- Researching 5 new clients and sending my direct-mail package out (generating more leads)
- Practicing 5 headlines (getting good at my craft which will increase my ability to impress clients)
- Reading 5 articles on copywriting techniques, trends, and ideas (strengthening my skill set and expanding the value I can offer clients). [Editor’s Note: This is one of the many advantages Wealthy Web Writer Platinum membership offers — immediate access to a wealth of web-writing resources. Learn more.]
- Writing 5 pages of a new buzz piece (to increase lead generation)
- Responding or starting a conversation in 5 different blogs or forums, etc., in my niche (builds my reputation and I learn more about my prospects)
- Sending 5 follow-up emails to leads (nurturing future clients)
- Completing any combination of the above, always following “The Rule of 5”
Does any of this sound like something you could do each and every day? If so, then great! Implementing this idea will have you on your way — making steady progress towards your goals. However, if you are still working your full-time job trying to transition to a freelance career, this could still be overwhelming. Don’t worry, it can work for you, too.
If 5 things are too much, then take a look at your goals and the time you do have. Decide what you can reasonably manage each and every day. Maybe it is only two things, maybe it is an hour you set aside dedicated to whatever you can get done in that block of time.
When I was still working my corporate job with the goal of quitting and becoming a full-time writer, I had very little time. Still, I committed to two things each day.
Within several months, I had figured out how to quit sooner than I thought I would. The road to my goal has been up and down since then, but I can relate my progress directly to how often I am following this simple “Rule of 5” idea. Daily action is now part of the routine I put in place to reach my goal.
The point is to be consistent and keep your commitment to yourself. Don’t let distractions sneak in and take up the time you’ve dedicated toward your goals.
I’d like to close with a quote from The Success Principles. This is the advice Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen received from Ron Scolastico when they asked about how to make their book a bestseller:
“If you would go every day to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp ax, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it would have to come down.”
Your goals are the tree, your actions the ax.