Are you sabotaging your freelance writing career?
You may think you are doing everything right – and that’s the problem.
In childhood, we’re taught that good habits will keep us in the straight and narrow. We’ll stay out of trouble, do a good job, and get rewarded. The problem arises is that habits are routines, often inflexible practices. And having learned them 10, 15 years ago, they may no longer be relevant.
It’s important to keep up with the world around you. If life keeps changing, isn’t it possible “good habits” need to change, too?
Without further ado, let’s talk about the top 3 good habits that can ruin your freelance career!
Humility Can Kill Your Prospects
That’s right – humility is a huge business killer when it comes to a freelance career. And there are several ways it can slip in.
When you talk about your accomplishments.
When you link to your portfolio.
When you send your rates.
In the above three situations, it is vital that you shove your modesty aside and be confident and strong. Your accomplishments showcase your hard work and knowledge, it isn’t rude to include them in your pitch.
Your portfolio and project updates are useful to clients who aren’t sure if you fit the bill. Don’t just tack them on to the end of your pitch, discuss whatever you can on social media (but of course, don’t break your NDA if you have one).
And your rates? Those dollar signs signify how you value your work and your time. If you give lower rates out of fear of seeming too expensive or needy, your clients won’t see it as a gesture of goodwill. It’s an opportunity. And they’ll want to keep you at those rates.
In the end, modesty and humbleness – these are great in your personal life. But in business, it’s a killer.
That said, don’t go around posting how great you are all the time. There is a time and a place to show off. The key is to know the difference.
The Long Way Isn’t Always Right
Remember in math class when your instructor insisted on you doing a long formula by hand, despite the fact, there is a much shorter one? Or in English class, when your teacher kept insisting you stop using contractions.
We’re taught in school that the long way of doing anything is the “best way”. This is wrong, and in the freelance world, this good habit can cause trouble.
The long way is great – don’t get me wrong. It’s great to know the inner workings of a formula or algorithm. But a client isn’t paying you to use the long-form solution. More than likely, they want ROI fast. This is true of quality copy and social media. Both forms need rigorous testing to find the best results for your clients, and while organic methods can be preferred, it’s slow. And there are no metrics to track how well you’re doing, except for the little engagement you get.
In Brendan Kane’s One Million Followers, he stresses the fact that testing content using social media is essential to nurturing a successful social presence.
The Puritan Work Ethic Is Dead
How many hours should you work today? While most of us slave away for 8 hours a day, we’re actually only productive for 3 of those hours. This isn’t to say humans are lazy – it’s just how we are wired. Sure, you could say that social media has limited our attention spans, and thus work productivity. But let’s be honest with our selves: The 8 hour day came out of necessity, not research.
During the industrial revolution, the norm was well over 10 hours a day – usually closer to 16! In 1914, Ford Motor Company changed the max hours to 8 – and found an increase in productivity. A century later, studies have found that the 6-hour work day results in even less stress and illness, and more productivity. That is, if the salary remains unchanged.
Personally, I’ve experienced this myself through tracking my time through Toggl and my mood via Daylio. Once I hit 6 hours, my mood starts to drop. So does my productivity. Not only do I have less energy for work, but also for hobbies, chores, and spending time with family. The longer I work, the more I want to do one thing: sleep.
So what does this mean for you?
Less is more.
It’s best to drop the content mills and find paying clients – not just for your wallet, but for your help. You can still work hard, work smart, and profit, without killing your health.
Still need to work 6+ hours a day? Here are some tips:
- Do certain actions on certain days: Only research on Mondays. Less task switching is better for focus.
- Take a 10-minute break every hour.
- When you stop work, stop thinking about it.
- Find what works and automate it.
What good habits ruin freelance writers?
These three are really just the tip of the iceberg. Good habits are great until their not – and a great personal habit could be terrible in the business world. The trick is to know the difference and create a balance.
So, what habits are dragging you down? Let me know!