Have you ever stood in a long line for a roller coaster?
You shuffle forward, one little step at a time.
If you like roller coasters, every shift forward comes with a little thrill of anticipation.
And if they make you nervous, each step might generate feelings of anxiety.
Eventually, all those little steps bring you to your destination. It takes time, and the steps are small. But each step brings you closer to your goal.
Marketing yourself and getting clients can feel similar. You might look forward to landing a client with excitement. Or the very notion may make you feel nervous. Maybe a mix of both.
But the way you get to that moment is to take meaningful action every day — those small little steps that eventually bring your moment to climb aboard the roller coaster.
One of the keys to building your freelance writing business is to figure out those meaningful actions… and then to take them.
It’s easy (and it feels safe) to get caught up in busy work — actions that don’t bring you closer to landing clients but feel productive. But it’s even more common to take meaningful action up to a point and then to stop before you do take the final steps — the equivalent of jumping out of line when you’re in sight of the roller-coaster cars.
So what does this look like and how do you prevent it?
Let’s say your marketing method is to send out warm emails.
Your first goal is to build a list of 50 possible prospects.
Each day, you get up and spend time researching five new prospects to add to your list.
After two weeks, you’ve built your list. Good work! That’s meaningful action.
Then you shift gears, and you spend a little time each day writing and refining the template you’ll use to reach out to your list. Also meaningful action.
After that, you decide before you actually send out your warm email messages, you need to start following the people on your list on LinkedIn.
So you spend a week doing that. Now, you’re starting to slip. Instead of taking the meaningful action you intended — sending warm emails — you’re shifting your focus and taking other steps. Those other steps feel like they could be beneficial, but you’ve laid all the groundwork to send out warm emails, and you aren’t doing it.
It’s time to hop on the roller coaster… in this case, hit the Send button on your first warm email message, and see where the ride takes you.
Whatever plan you’re making — for marketing yourself, launching a side business, increasing your income — identify the moment where you get on the roller coaster. Identify the steps you need to take to reach that moment. And then follow through. Consistent, meaningful action every day is the most reliable way to get where you’re going.
New on the Site
You know the drill. You set a New Year’s Resolution. And within a month, you’ve completely forgotten about it. What can you do to beat those New Year’s Resolution failure rates? Suzanna Fitzgerald shows you how to be more successful by letting go of whatever excess “weight” you’re carrying around. Check out her inaugural Reality Blog right here.
Having repeat business from existing clients can increase the health and profitability of your freelance web-writing business. But you want your repeat clients to be high quality ones. John Torre shares his tips for evaluating whether a client is a good fit for repeat business.
Ready to start your year off strong? Take our “strong start” challenge and check off six things to build your momentum. Share your progress and celebrate your successes in the comments.
Around the Web
If you’ve been wanting to set up a Facebook business page, but worry about getting it wrong, use this easy seven-step guide from Jeff Bullas to get started.
Want to make your writing more accessible? You’ll find some useful tips right here.
Here’s a slightly different take on goal-setting I think you’ll find helpful. A word of warning, though… Mark Manson uses profanity. If you don’t like that kind of thing, don’t click through.
This piece on Copyblogger is worth it for the quote from Ira Glass alone, but you’ll find lots of additional value, especially if you struggle with sticking to a publishing schedule for your own blog.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!