In Freelance VO Survival: Pt 1 – Find Work, I told you how to get your new freelance business noticed, which leads to getting work.
- You are now a hunter! Work used to come to you unavoidably. Now you need to find work so your freelance business thrives.
- Tell everybody you’re a freelancer. One of the best methods of getting booked is to tell people you’re available and looking for work.
- Use multiple types of networking methods. Social media, e-mail, phone and in-person meetings are all business development tools.
What drives you to keep traveling the freelance path?
- Passion for what you do?
- To earn money?
- Meet new clients?
- The overwhelming desire to please?
In this article, I’ll focus on motivation or the end result you have in mind while doing your thing.
Self-motivation is an important trait to develop for growing your business and becoming a successful freelancer.
The Daily Grind
When you had your reliable, full time gig, the motivation to perform was typically driven by the manager you reported to. This was the person who had the company’s best interests in mind and reminded you constantly what you should do next. Of course you wanted a paycheck as well. Money is a good motivator.
As a freelancer, the weight of motivation falls squarely on your shoulders. You’ll move your focus from performance, which is still important, to survival. Creating a distraction-free environment to do your best work is a start.
Once you find work, you’ll notice immediately you can get more of it done. Working as a freelancer removes corporate diversions and reduces drop-everything-now interruptions.
The Same But Different
Being motivated to stay focused on what needs to get done for yourself is different than working to complete several, unrelated, time-sucking projects on other people’s timelines. Yes, you’ll have clients with needs and schedules and since you’re the boss of your business, you’ll have more say in how those schedules come together. However, the key to working is motivation. You own it now.
Keeping motivation going can be tricky. The discipline to be self-motivated sounds so hard.
I’ve developed motivation helpers that keep me consistent from day to day and allow flexibility to make adjustments when needed.
The Brain Cleanse
My day starts early with a walk. This is ‘me’ time and my motivation is to finish the walk feeling mentally ready for the day. I clear my head of junk that’s distracting. Think about the positive aspects of what I accomplished the day before and day dream about how I’d like to see my business in the future.
Fueled for Performance
My body needs fuel to perform so breakfast is important. Low sugar, high-protein choices are best. Crashing an hour after you eat is not a good thing. Find the foods that keep your body fueled for a couple of hours at least, and have a quick mid-morning nutritional snack that will keep you going until lunch. Keep your body motivated.
Consistent Game Time
Starting your day at a specific time will motivate you to get a good night’s sleep; get out of bed at a realistic hour; and complete your morning ritual. Determine what your core hours will be and surround them with one to three hours of support time. Be ready to do the first thing on your daily list and feel confident you’re going to get it done.
One of the best ways for me to get through the day is to make a list of to-dos. I’ve created a boiler plate framework that lets me arrange my schedule and add additional items as needed. I typically plan out my day the night before. This helps me stay on track and motivated to work as efficiently as possible. When I complete an item, I get the satisfaction of checking it off. It feels great!
Work, Reward, Repeat
Starting a project can be its own roadblock. That first effort can be tough to make. You might think about doing something else first, something more enjoyable than the thing you’re putting off doing.
Instead of doing the fun thing first, I recommend you reward yourself with it after you get the task done. This provides motivation to start work with the goal of completion for reward. Plus, if you use a list you get the bonus feeling of checking it off.
Your Personal Guide
If you could put into a short phrase what you set out to do in your freelance business, how would it sound? Mine is,
“Delight customers with ready to use, genuinely human, spoken word audio.”
With that In mind, I’m motivated to deliver consistent results with the target of exceeding my client’s expectations. My business is based on happy clients, who will then be repeat clients. And since they’re happy with what I did for them, they’ll tell other people to use my services.
Nothing beats a good conversation with a peer. Find groups or meetups of people you can have work-related discussions with. Bouncing ideas and issues off other professionals is a great way to brainstorm. Just because you are a freelancer, doesn’t mean you should be isolated and work in a vacuum.
If groups aren’t your thing, set up a 10-minute check-in phone call every morning with somebody to keep each other on track. Share possible solutions to tricky situations. Offer encouragement. Keep each other motivated.
Motivation Could be Right for You
With a few motivation helpers in place, you might find the quality of what you do improves. Keep track of what worked well as a motivator. Was it the walk before you started your day? Maybe it was setting a daily goal of contacting at least one new potential client. What works is the action you should continue.
What to Remember
- Know your motivator. You’ll have a least one thing that drives you to do the thing you do.
- Being self-motivated is liberating. You decide how to be motivated and become disciplined to stay on track.
- Motivation helpers make it easy. Find activities and develop habits that help keep you motivated. Stick with the ones that work. Be open to new ideas that might work better.
Looking for additional examples of motivation? An article written by Forbes Contributor, Paul Tassi, features several more ways to consider.
Is there something motivating you to continue what you’re doing? Leave your comments below.
Next time: (Pt 3) Rejection
There is no such thing as rejection immunity. But, there are ways to deal with rejection and criticism that will allow you to move forward and not take it personally.
© 2015 J. Christopher Dunn