“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts…” Winston Churchill
I didn’t see that coming… WOW!
After all, Francisco knows me.
We work together on the Homeowner’s Association Board of Directors. We closed two real estate deals together a few years ago.
This was no cold-call scenario.
I hadn’t planned to bring up my new business, but he approached me… “So Val, what are you up to these days?”
Like a kid holding a shiny First Place trophy — I smiled big and stood taller, “I’m actually a copywriter now… specializing in case studies.”
Francisco smiled back, “I’m sure my company needs case studies… maybe for our commercial electricity programs. I can recommend you to our marketing team.”
I played it cool, “Great, I’ll follow up with you next week.”
I rushed home… pulled out Casey Hibbard’s AWAI Case Study Writing Mastery & Certification handouts — and prepared to impress Francisco with my expertise.
That was May 23, 2020.
Over the next three weeks, I sent two emails, left two voice mail messages, and texted once. He didn’t respond.
Francisco knows me… yet I didn’t even make it to the proposal stage.
After the initial disappointment, self-doubt burrowed deep in my psyche.
Did Francisco know I didn’t have any clients? Had he guessed I’d only written one Spec Challenge case study? What should I have said… or done differently?
I was paralyzed — so I did what any new freelance copywriter would do. I took more AWAI courses.
And while I waited for my confidence to grow, I didn’t tell anyone else I was a copywriter… until August 2020.
The mental shift happened when I completed the AWAI B2B Biz Launcher program with Ed Gandia in July.
With what I learned in that program, I spotted more than a few self-sabotage techniques in my behavior.
So first… here’s my list of what not to do —
- Do not claim failure
- Do not question your decision to write
- Do not doubt your writing skills
- Do not succumb to negative self-talk
- Do not embrace imposter syndrome
- Do not assume a prospect will become a customer
- Do not wait any amount of time — let alone three months — to put yourself back out there
Beyond the Business Launch
There were Biz Launcher outcomes I could touch, like a functional website… or a list of every relative, friend, friend of a relative, acquaintance, and former colleague to contact about my business.
However, my biggest a-ha takeaways for long-term success as a freelance copywriter were:
- protect my mindset
- take daily action
These two things helped me move forward after my setback… and will protect me from spinning my wheels after future setbacks.
My actions are now framed by a principle described in the book, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy — reap a big reward from a series of small, smart choices. This principle, combined with daily rituals to tackle prioritized tasks, has helped me increase my productivity. I call this my “action principle.”
Tier One tasks include client onboarding, client work, managing project schedules, and updating CRM entries. Tier Two tasks are the marketing activities — from LinkedIn posts, to networking and discovery calls. Other tasks are mostly low-hanging fruit.
Here’s an overview of my daily small, smart choices —
- Complete morning meditation
- Say my “Why” three times
- Work on Tier One tasks
- Take a 20-minute exercise break
- Stop for lunch
- Sort emails after lunch
- Take a “nappuccino” (caffeine then a 20-minute nap) break about two hours after lunch (Daniel Pink says this combination is the ideal technique for preventing sleepiness and enhancing performance in When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.)
- Work on Tier Two tasks
- Log daily accomplishments and wins during the last 10 minutes of the workday (because progress motivates)
- Confirm the next day is one of my six workdays (If I’m not careful, I find myself working every day!)
- Update the planner for the next day
- Create reminder alarms for scheduled activities or appointments
- Add to the Gratitude Journal (one person and one thing)
- Send a brief thank you email, or text, to one person
- Turn off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime
- Read a mindset-improvement book for 15 minutes
- Complete bedtime meditation
The Magic Penny
These are the small, smart choices I’m consistently making…
Some days I do better than others.
But even when I’m struggling to stay consistent, I remember… better has no destination, better does not mean perfect, and better has no finish line! (Driven, Douglas Brackmann)
When I get weary of doing the same things over and over, I look at the index card taped to my desk. The Magic Penny story (The Compound Effect) is on the card.
Here goes… if I were given the choice to instantly accept a lump sum of $3 million cash… or to receive a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days — which should I choose?
Not gonna lie. I’m thinking — take the lump sum and run! Who knows where I’ll be in 31 days?! 🙂
But if I take the penny, it grows like this —
- Day 1 = $0.01
- Day 5 = $0.16
- Day 10 = $5.12
- Day 20 = $5,242.88
- Day 29 = $2,684,354.56
- Day 30 = $5,368,709.12
- Day 31 = $10,737,418.24
Our small actions have the same compounding effect.
Give it some thought…
Whether you’re dealing with a setback or not, you have the power to make huge gains in your life. You just have to ask yourself, are you willing to consistently make small, smart choices?