How are you doing this week? I hope 2021 is treating you well. 😊
Today, I will be pretty straightforward, because I have a lot to cover and share with you. I hope you don’t mind that.
We all have admired Sherlock Holmes at some point in life. His obsessiveness, meticulous nature of working on something and power to interpret things. And he has a sidekick, too. The perfect package for being successful. Right?
I won’t focus on the importance of having a sidekick (:D) but something that he keeps saying to Watson, time and again.
Elementary My Dear Watson!
We don’t need brains to figure out what he meant by that- focus on the basics, the minute details, which can easily be missed.
So, what? You’ll ask me.
What has this to do with a freelancer?
That’s what I want to talk to you about today:
In a race to chase our goals or the ‘perceived goals’ (the ones that come because of peer pressure), we sometimes feel overworked, tired, dejected and start forgetting the basics.
I have said it again and again – that you shouldn’t follow trends.
The reason: Because when we keep looking at the outside, we start draining our soul and mind, at a fast pace.
You won’t even realize, and you’d waste the whole day, or a week, or even months, without even realizing, if you keep chasing perceived goals, eventually feeling pathetic and guilty, and leaving everything, all at once.
The problem with an outbound approach (looking on the outside): You start chasing new things (new skills, new activities, new initiatives, new strategies), without effectively cashing on your existing ones.
You forget what made you start in the first place. You get disconnected from your own personality.
A Better Way to Learn & Grow
I am not saying it’s not important to learn new things in life. It’s very important. But I also feel there should be a process of starting new things.
You should first hone your primary skill and make it productive/profitable for you. It should start giving you returns before you try something new.
To prove this, let's take an example of a writer who’s just starting his journey or has a decent client base.
I have seen many such writers chasing several lead generation strategies, all at once (to get more and more clients). In the end, they all end up burning themselves out, achieving nothing (or just low paying, soul-sucking jobs).
I have a simple philosophy towards learning/implementing new things and focusing on the basics in life/work, simultaneously.
Give 70% of your time or resources to the things that are working for you already and spend the result on something new (maybe, a new social media channel, a new strategy to pull clients, or learning a new skill). This balance shouldn’t be broken, if you want to earn tangible revenues from your freelancing career.
Else, you’ll be stuck in a loop of endless learning and experimentation, that might or might not work. And you’ll always feel overwhelmed about doing so many things, every day.
Cut the clutter and start focusing on the basics – things that will give you real results from your existing skill sets.
Did You Know?
Sherlock never uttered the famous line ‘Elementary, My Dear Watson’ ever. Although, he uses these words, but never as a phrase. The phrase is believed to have been first used in Psmith, Journalist, a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, published in 1915. (Source)
We better start focusing on the elementary, I guess. :D
How to focus on the fundamentals as a freelancer without being overwhelmed?
- If daily scheduling apps/time turners aren’t working for you, start organizing your life.
There’s a difference between planning your day and staying organized in your life.
Abhijeet & Binati Sheth had an amazing live session on Living in the Moment and doing a lot where Lazywriter Abhijeet talked about the difference between being organized and planning things.
- Create your inbound channel first, then focus on social media.
Use social media to just drive traffic to your inbound channel. Don't make it your inbound channel. Instead, build something for yourself: it can be a blog, a newsletter or anything unique you come up with.
It should be your own and it should have the potential to drive organic traffic.
I have been running a blog on my website since 2017-18, I guess. Before that, I had another blog that I managed for 6 long years (That was my first). Now, I have multiple self-owned assets. All of this helps me practice and improve my craft as a writer/marketer and help me with inbound leads, too.
I have said it before: Don’t be a slave of the medium. So, don’t fall into the trap of trends to post every day, if that’s making you feel miserable and overworked.
Remember, success comes only to those who feel positive from the inside. If you’re unhappy while doing something, there are high chances that you’ll fail.
I am telling this from my personal experience and sorry, I can’t corroborate the above statement with a source, but if you have read The Secret, you know it already.
- Start building relationships rather than just clients. It will reap long term benefits.
Why do we have to stay active on all the channels? Because we are all chasing maximum reach.
More Reach = More Visibility = More Chances of Someone Discovering You = More Leads = More Work = More Money
Right? But if you start building strong relationships with your existing clients, you won’t have to be a slave of any medium for reach.
Give them free advice, go the extra mile, be honest in your work, and bring results for them. If you can help them grow their business, they would help grow yours.
Such clients keep coming back to you over and over again, apart from spreading a word about you. (That fulfills your goal of more reach and more money automatically)
Word of mouth still works in 2020. Hell, I still rely on that heavily. You already know about it, right? If you don’t, check my blog on how I managed to pull everything off, without being on social.
Quick Litmus Test to Check if You’ve Been Focusing on the Basics of Getting Business
If the disappearance of internet suddenly (or a complete digital blackout) doesn’t scare you (you know you’ll keep getting clients and work), you’re doing everything right. 😊
I don’t want this to happen for sure. But let’s say if it happens, we should keep getting paid for doing what we love to do. Right?
I just hope we all start focusing on the elementary more.
If you already are doing all this, kudos, you’re in the freelancing world for the long run and will surely be successful in the 'real' sense.
I’d love to hear about your process of focusing on the fundamentals. Do write me sometime.
I am preparing a gift for you and hopefully will send it to you next week.
I know I am horribly late in giving you Christmas or New Year gifts, but I wanted to do something, so, make sure to read the next week’s newsletter to get that.
It’s not something huge (or something that would overwhelm you) but will help you (I hope that).
Till the next time… Keep freelancing!
Your freelancing companion
Liked reading this? I send one such post every week!