Too many people believe that there is only one skill required in order to be a successful freelancer. They think, mistakenly, that they just need to be good at their craft.
If you are setting up as a freelance copywriter, for example, you need to have strengths in three quite separate areas.
1. You need to be good at copywriting
2. You need to be able to market and run your business effectively
3. You need to be more or less free of psychological and emotional constraints and other-self-limiting beliefs
Number one is a given. You know that if you want to sell your services that you need to be good at what you do. If you want to get clients as a copywriter, you had better have learned the craft of copywriting.
More people stumble at point number two. I know some excellent copywriters who don’t achieve their potential because either they are not good at marketing their services or else they manage their business and finances poorly.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to expand your skill set. Read some books or take some courses. This is essential because as well as being a copywriter you are also a business person. And if you are unskilled in business, you will never achieve the results you hope for.
Ironically, it is the skill of marketing that holds most copywriters back. Either they don’t know how to market themselves effectively, or else they trip up on point number three.
Point number three is all about your own personal growth, or lack thereof. When we are young, at home and at school, we are handed a set of blueprints for our life. Our parents and teachers will, often unknowingly, draw a line around the level of achievement we can expect to achieve.
In a family in which nobody has ever earned more than $40,000 a year, it is likely that the child’s blueprint for life will cap their income expectations at $40,000. In a family where rich people are viewed as thieves, the child will often carry that same view into adulthood and put a constraint on their own success in life.
Some of us are blessed by family and teachers who hand us blueprints without borders and tell us we can achieve anything, and that it’s OK to be rich and successful. Many of us are not so fortunate.
And yes, as an adult, you can redraw that blueprint. You can change it, or at least try.
For myself, there are some constraints I have overcome, and others I’m still working on.
One self-limiting constraint I’m still working on is a weakness when it comes to promoting myself. I do it is a fairly passive way. I don’t blow my own trumpet, but I might invite you to blow it for me. Maybe that came from growing up in a middle-class English culture where blowing your own trumpet was viewed as being “beneath one’s class”.
I haven’t really managed to redraw that part of my blueprint. So I work around it and usually have others do the promoting for me. I get others to do my marketing.
After coaching dozens of freelancers I am in no doubt that this third pillar is almost always the weakest of the three. It’s what holds us back and limits our success. This is the one most of us need to work on.
And if you don’t manage to redraw that blueprint internally, do what I have done and work around the offending constraint in some way.
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