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.