The Secret to Success for Every Freelance Online Copywriter is to Stay Focused

Sidebar:  We all want to experience measurable progress with our freelance business.  Few things provide momentum as progress.  The problem is we might not be consistent in applying best success practices to our personal and business lives.  Well, the following article is just the reminder we need.

Nick Usborne, has been a copywriter for 30 years now, eleven of which he’s dedicated solely to online copy.  He is the author of many business books, including Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts.  I can personally attest to the fact that Nick is also an excellent business coach.  I hope his insight gets you back on track and fires up your dedication to grow your business.

Here’s Nick —-

Freelancers are notoriously vulnerable to distraction.

Instead of remaining focused on a single goal, with a clear plan, we leave ourselves open to anything that suggests the grass might be greener elsewhere.

Does this apply to you?

Before you say no, answer these questions …

During the course of the last week, have you …

 

  • Had a day when you were furiously busy, but at the end of the day had achieved very little?
  • Clicked a link in an email just to check out some other course, program, or copywriting “system”?
  • Thought about trying some other copywriting niche that is not directly related to the one you are working in now?
  • Accepted, or thought about accepting, a freelance project that really doesn’t align with your niche or your goals?
  • Worked 40 hours but were able to bill for only about 20?

If you answered “no” to all of those questions, good for you.  That means you have a clear goal and plan for your freelance copywriting business, and you stick with it.

If you answered “yes”, or even acknowledged that maybe you do get distracted from time to time, you need to pause and think.

Remember, as a freelancer you are alone.  It matters how you spend your time each day.  And every hour you spend on a distraction is an hour you can’t bill for.

And that, perhaps, is the clearest distinction between freelancers who are driving in a straight line towards achieving a clear goal, and freelancers who are weaving around without any clear idea of where they are going.

The freelancer with a clear goal gets to invoice a lot more hours.

He or she doesn’t waste any time wondering if the grass might be greener elsewhere.  She doesn’t get distracted.  She knows where she is going, and has figured out how to get there.

If you want to be focused, and bill for more of the hours you work, follow these steps:

1. Decide on your niche.

Decide on what you want to do.  Become a B2B online copywriter.  Or a specialist in writing e-newsletters.  Or a page optimization expert.  Or a landing page expert.  Just pick a specialization.

Do not just hang up a shingle and announce something like, “I am a freelance online copywriter and accept all work”.

It’s tough to market yourself as a Jack-of-all-trades.  Besides which, companies don’t want to hire a Jack-of-all-trades.  They outsource work because they need a specialist.  They can probably find a Jack-of-all-trades in-house.

Be that specialist.

2. Establish a clear goal.

Decide on where you want your business to be three years from now.  Visualize it.  Imagine the kind of work you will be doing, the clients you will have, the income you will make.

You need a goal.  If you don’t have one, you’ll be weaving around in a constant state of distraction.

3. Stick with the plan.

Everything you do, each day, should be aligned with achieving your goal.

If the time you spend on the phone isn’t aligned with your goal, put down the phone.  If the time you spend on Twitter or Facebook isn’t aligned with your goal, log off.  If the new course you are thinking about taking isn’t aligned with your goal, don’t buy it.

4. Keep learning, but keep it focused.

Self-education is essential for freelancers.  You have to keep learning, so you can offer greater value to your clients.  BUT, make sure that everything you do to upgrade your knowledge and skills is precisely aligned with your specialty and your goals.

If a learning opportunity is not aligned with your goals, it is simply a distraction and a time-sink.

 

To summarize …

Think about the most successful freelancers you know.  The big names.  The big earners.

They all have one thing in common.

They are focused.

They know where they are going, and they know they can’t afford to waste time on distractions.

Follow their lead.

End Note:  This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) Wealthy Web Writer, a free newsletter for learning how to effectively write online copy and market products on the Web.  For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/wealthy-web-writer.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009-2010.

Taking charge through goal setting

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Goal setting is one of those concepts people agree with in theory, if not in practice.  Many people agree that putting your goals in writing is an effective way to energize them.  I am one of those people.  I write down my goals for practically every project.

This is not to suggest that I am always successful in realizing each goal.  But setting goals is one way I hold myself accountable to a plan.   I have found that it actively engages me in the process of change.

This is why I thought I’d share a few of the benefits I have experienced from setting professional goals:

  •  Setting goals  reinforces my role as an entrepreneur.  This statement may not seem like a big deal, but it is.  Many of us who arrive at self-employment after many years of being employees can relate to this.  Goal setting is a powerful way to say you are now the one charting the course; the one who’s taking charge.
  • Setting goals puts me in control of focusing on my core values.  This is important because it allows me incorporate a broader range of performance measures beyond the traditional bottom line.
  • Setting goals helps me stay realistic.  I believe that enthusiasm is important to get any project off and running.  However, I am convinced that realism is what keeps a worthwhile project, like my writing business, on track for the long haul.
  • Goal setting helps me track my progress more objectively.  This is a plus because, in my opinion, few things are worse for professional development than “imagined progress”.  Pulling out my goal document and checking action against outcome makes progress (or lack thereof) real.
  • Goal setting is the best reason for a celebration.  My goals confirm that I am being purposeful. As I take action each day, change happens.  Hurrah!

There’s more.  But I’m sure you get the picture.

As we welcome the month of May, perhaps it is time for you to dust off some of those dreams and make them real by setting them in writing.  Start tracking them.  Before you know it, change happens. Celebration time.

 

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.