Editor’s note: This post was written by Sam Eddy, the founder of Fulfilling Aspirations. He wants you to know that changing your habits can help you accomplish big things. If you’re interested in knowing more, click here.
Ever feel like you’re stuck at being just a competent freelance writer?
Yes, you attract the type of clients you want and charge them what you’re worth. Yes, you stay in touch with former clients, sending them a short email to say hi. Yes, you no longer worry about sliding down the slippery slope of an ever-expanding project, because you have a clause in your contract that takes care of that.
You are doing all of things right but you can’t help but wonder:
Is this all there is to it?
What do I do to move to the next level? What’s going to make me the fantastic, in-demand, and kickass freelance writer I want to be? What tricks will help me get my clients clamoring, hook their readers, and bring me the success I want?
You’ve been trying to find answers to those questions for so long, that you’re even beginning to wonder if there’s really anything you can do about it.
There is. To prove it to you, I’d like to introduce you to a topic that can help you accomplish almost anything you want.
When trying to build a new habit, most people make one of the biggest mistakes of all.
They get too sure of themselves, which leads to jumping right in and doing too much. When they fail, they complain, and say it doesn’t work.
Well, most freelance writers struggling to move to the next level have exactly the same problem. They are so sure of themselves and their abilities like good writing and editing skills, being a grammar god, and essentially getting the basics right, that they think that is enough.
When they see their counterparts announcing their successes and living the dream, they wonder what they’re doing wrong, which leaves them feeling somewhat inferior and left-behind.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You too can become the fantastic, kickass, freelance writer you want to be. Here’s how:
How to move past being just a competent freelance writer
In her post 5 Steps to Create a New Habit, Tess Marshall of The Bold Life says:
“With my new habit, I changed our entire family. Each one of us has the power to improve our quality of life, one habit at a time.”
The lesson here is this: moving to the next level isn’t something you do all at once. It’s something you take one step at a time.
That’s profound, but it leaves a big question unanswered: what are the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be?
Well, let’s take a look at a few essential tips for building habits.
#1: Write to touch readers on an emotional level.
When most people try to change their habits, a common mistake is to think about the change in their heads or say it out loud. What they soon realize is they don’t actually do anything about it, which means they just wasted their precious time.
The better approach of course, is to make a plan, write it down and stick to it. That way, you know exactly what you’re going to do and when.
It’s counterintuitive, but that’s exactly what you need to do.
Instead of focusing more on things like the the rules of English you break or don’t break, instead of focusing more on bragging about the number of degrees and expertise you have in your subject area, focus more on writing in a way that touches people on an emotional level.
Because the truth is, the people who are going to consume your work don’t really care about all that stuff you’re concerned about. What will really move them is how you make them feel with your words.
So make a plan today to start writing in a way that touches people emotionally. Stick to it long enough, and you’ll start seeing beautiful results. Don’t waste your time on trivial things readers don’t really care about.
#2: Tell it like it is.
Another big mistake is to dive into the habit with absolutely no idea when to start. In other words, you don’t have a trigger.
A trigger is something that when it happens, you know it’s time to kick off your habit. Not having something like this in place leads to inconsistency, which means you increase your chances of failure.
When you write, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to treat your readers like dummies or use questionable tactics to get them to buy your client’s product or service.
The truth is, as soon as people sense they’re being sold or scammed, a trigger goes off in their brains, and they know it’s time to dust off their shoes and run as fast as they can. This will put your client in trouble, and increase your chances of being fired.
The better approach of course, is to be honest. Be so open and transparent, you are scared to deliver the finished goods to your client. That’s when you know you’re onto something, and that’s when you know you’re moving forward. Try it.
#3: Invest in yourself.
By rewarding yourself with something pleasurable only after you have done your habit, you’ll find that over time, the habit becomes easier because there’s something to look forward to.
Many freelance writers on the other hand, focus on things like having a good voice and being able to string words together perfectly. Yes, those things are important, but not as important as investing in yourself.
If you want clients to reward yourself with more work, you need to get trained so you better understand things like attracting attention with content and motivating buying behavior. Over time, you’ll find that the more you invest in yourself in the form of training and actually practice what you learn, the easier it will be to become recognized as the best in what you do.
#4: Think like a performer.
The other thing you need is positive feedback for when you find it extremely difficult to work on your habit. Without support, accountability and people cheering you on, it’s easy to give up.
The same thing is true for you.
Instead of writing yet another post or article where the only thing you do is deliver information and more information, change your approach and think more like a performer.
The truth is, your real job is to make your client’s reader interested in what you have to say. And that means telling jokes, solving her problems, and breaking her guessing machine.
Do that, and you’ll get positive feedback from readers. Do that, and you’ll have readers cheering for more of your awesome stuff.
And that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it?
#5: Give your clients a great experience.
When you don’t miss a single day for about a week or two, it’s possible to feel you can do the habit effortlessly and you might want to shift focus to another habit.
That’s a big mistake because no matter how good you think you’ve gotten, the habit isn’t yet a part of you and you need more time to make it stick.
Well, you need to avoid the same thing in your freelancing business.
Because you’re good at what you do, it’s possible to feel like that’s enough to carry you through. But the truth is it isn’t.
You see, even though taking your craft seriously is important, it is just the price of admission. You need to take it a step further by giving your clients a great experience.
That means replying promptly when they contact you. That means being friendly with service. That means caring about them and the results they get.
If you can do those things, you won’t have to search for work. You’ll open up your email one morning and find new clients upon clients begging you to work with them, begging you to take on their most important projects, all because people keep referring them to you.
And that’s when you realize: you’re now more than just a competent freelance writer. Article by article, blog post by blog post, project by project, you’re kicking ass and becoming that in-demand writer you’ve always wanted to be.
So what are you waiting for?
Go out there and become fantastic.
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Sgatto