As freelancers most of us will go through periods when nothing seems to be going right.
Not enough new work is coming in. The clients we have are giving us no end of grief. Our efforts at getting more work don’t seem to be working. The bills are piling up. And we start feeling very, very bad. Depressed even.
I hesitated to even start writing this article, because it touches on an issue that is very hard to deal with.
But at the same time, there is no point in waxing lyrical about this week’s latest success stories, when there are plenty of freelancers out there struggling to break even.
There are a ton of factors that can result in ups and downs in one’s work flow. Peaks and troughs happen to us all at some point.
But when work becomes a real struggle, and you are scared your freelance business might fail, ask yourself this question, “Is my heart in this?”
If your heart isn’t in it, it’s really tough to slog through the hard times.
If you honestly feel that the answer to that question is no, think back to better times. Think of the times when your heart was in your work and you got up in the morning with a smile on your face.
Back then, what was different? What kind of work were you doing? What kinds of clients did you work with?
If you can identify the kind of work that does make you put your heart into all you do, that’s a powerful thing.
I go through a three-part exercise to get myself out of troughs.
First, I look into the past and identify the work that made me feel good.
Second, I look into the future and imagine a time, not too far away, when all my work will comprise assignments that will make me feel good. I visualize that future as clearly as I can. I see how my business will be, how I will market my services and the kind of work I will be doing.
Third, I take a long hard look at where I am now. I discard all the clients and parts of my business I don’t enjoy and build on what remains. Sometimes this is very scary, because you will be discarding most or all of your current business.
But if your business is dragging you down, emotionally and psychologically, you really don’t have much choice.
And when you put your heart into what you do, everything changes.
Your work improves. Your clients love being around you. Your enthusiasm for your work becomes infectious. Companies which wouldn’t have worked with you before will work with you now.
Of all the “secrets” to freelance success, I believe the most powerful of them all is to have your heart in what you do.
Whatever it takes to get you to that place, start work on getting there.
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