Last month, I talked about the 3 truths everyone should know about freelancing. When I first took the plunge into freelancing, I was obsessed with how everyone else was doing it all. I was looking at everybody’s website and comparing it to my own, trying to figure out how they got so many likes on their Facebook page, where did all their Twitter followers come from, and how in the world did they take such amazing photos and write such compelling copy.
It was like being a prisoner to the comparison monster. Theodore Roosevelt said it best:
How many of you, my fellow freelancers, have locked themselves in the comparison trap and forgot about all the experience, expertise, and value you bring to the world? How many of you have started to doubt that you are actually doing the RIGHT thing?
Well, let me let you in on a little secret.
The people you’ve been comparing yourself against don’t have it all together!
Yes, by all means you need to be aware of your external environment and who your competitors are, but you don’t need to become obsessed with what they are doing. If you are so focused on the competition, whose focused on growing your business?
Pause and think on that!
Being an administrative consultant affords tons of opportunities to go behind the scenes with entrepreneurs. Opportunities to really dig deep into some of the most intimate details of how they operate their business, what they do on a consistent basis and what they don’t. How they treat their current clients, convert potential clients, and how they position themselves for success.
I continue to be amazed at how many of them have no systems in place, no processes for what they do, and couldn’t tell me how they achieved the success they have so far. It always reminds me of something my mother always says to me, “if you can’t tell me what you did to get results, how can you duplicate it?”
Do you find any of these to be true for you as a freelancer?
- You say there’s a method to my madness…
- I know how it works, I just can’t tell anybody else how to do it…
- You can’t take a real vacation because everything would fall to the ground…
- Emails are going unanswered for days or worse weeks because you just don’t have enough time to respond because you’re too busy doing everything by yourself…
- Every time you convert a lead to a client you have to manually complete the entire process before the client can start working with you…
- Your desk is slowly disappearing because you keep ignoring the mountains of paper that need to be attended to…
If any of this rings true, stop the madness now because it’s not working! You’re increasing your stress levels unnecessarily, you’re leaving money on the table, and you’re sabotaging your own success.
Here are three things you can do right now to systematize your success and organize your method of madness:
Manage your resources more effectively (time being your biggest resource) and remove any barriers.
Barriers are those things that prevent you from doing the most important work in your freelance business. Take some time to identify opportunities for improvement, map out the areas where you can streamline operations and processes, and complete an audit of how you spend your time. Then take action and adjust accordingly.
Create a standard operations manual.
It can be your saving grace for when you need to hire a subcontractor, take a much needed vacation or if something ever happened that would require you to be off the radar for some time. This is something you could easily share with a subcontractor or trusted partner in order to keep operations running smoothly.
Create a strategic thinking schedule.
This is one of my favorites and one that I encourage every freelancer to implement. This is a dedicated block of time used solely for thinking about your freelance business, your personal and professional development, and how you can create even greater value for those you serve. This can be an hour each week, a half-day once per month, or an annual retreat. However, you think best it is critical to implement this as part of the operations for your freelance business. Dr. John Maxwell said it best, “good thinkers are always in demand because they solve problems, they never lack ideas, and they rarely find themselves at the mercy of ruthless people who would take advantage of them.”
Let me know in the comments if you plan on creating a method for your madness…