Freelancing and consulting: Enjoy the game!

Last week I wrote about call reluctance for freelancers and consultants and how it is impossible to prepare adequately for everything that may come up in the sales conversation.

In response, one reader commented that phoning for assignments is like playing chess. You have to play on the fly; you can’t plan too many moves ahead.

I’m no chess expert, but I know that the experts do look ahead and calculate the moves back and forth that may proceed from the very next move.  With more experience, they become skilled in predicting what will happen and in applying this knowledge to the upcoming move.

So experience does help!

However, we gain experience over time. We can’t figure it all out before we start; we have to learn as we go.

This is especially true as we make our first move. When we sit down at the chessboard, we have little insight as to how the other player will respond to our typical first move.

So my first observation is that it’s best to jump into the game rather than sit on the sidelines as we attempt to master the whole thing before we make our first move.

And now for another observation on how to freelance and consult: Let’s stay in touch with the gaming aspect of our career.

It’s so easy to lose touch with the fun and excitement of our professions and instead get uptight about everything that may go wrong.

When we depend on our work for our livelihood, the uncertainty of the future can be maddening. What if we don’t get more work quickly? What if the proposals we have submitted don’t pan out, or worse yet, never get a response? What if the client doesn’t pay, or at least, pay promptly?

Or for really moody days:  What if I never get any work again? What if I starve to death? Am I doomed?

If we keep at our marketing, we will get work. Terrific assignments. The stuff we most enjoy doing. Fascinating projects that take us in new, unanticipated directions.

Let’s try to conceptualize our businesses as games. We play by the rules and we test new strategies as well, analyzing what works best and putting it to work.

Let’s enjoy our businesses. Let’s turn down the pressure we place on ourselves by a notch and turn up the fun. After all, we have chosen our work so let’s choose to do it with glee.


I’ve learned a lot about how to land great freelance and consulting clients and I continue to explore new ideas, which I share on this page and in my newsletter. Please sign up for the free newsletter—you will also receive Three Secrets to Freelance and Consulting Success: Start Making Great Money as a Freelancer or Consultant for High-Paying Corporate Clients. (Cancellations fully honored. Email addresses managed with complete integrity.)

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2 comments on “Freelancing and consulting: Enjoy the game!
  1. James Brown says:

    Hi Diana,

    I really enjoy your blog and I’m wondering if you could put share buttons on it. I’m putting your link in my social networks now.

    The call reluctance thing has many different aspects to it. I suffer from call reluctance and since I started an online course in NLP, I’ve been able to pinpoint why and it has nothing to do with “rejection.” So this leads me to believe that others may think it’s rejection but maybe it is something else.

    For me, it’s the main “state” I am in during the day. Frustration! Frustration with emailing people and getting no response, frustration with having been in freelancing for 4 years and being up and down like a yo-yo. I think you see where I am coming from. So with picking up the phone, I don’t really get nervous. What happens is the little chatterbox in my head starts talking and says nonsense like, “what’s the point, people will just say send me some samples to get rid of me.” Internal conversations like that, kill any thought of picking up the phone. Even knowing of at least 10 copywriters who cold call and make a great living, doesn’t shut the voice up.

    So I am studying NLP in order to make the voice go away and be replaced by a voice I want to hear, “Pick up the phone, you have a lot to offer and some people will be so glad you did!”


  2. Amin says:

    James, that’s a great comment. I love NLP for that reason alone – the ability to change your perspective on something.

    Have fun with it and remember that rejection is nothing personal. The prospect simply doesn’t know you well enough to reject you personally.

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