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  • Diana Schneidman

How can I know if I will succeed at freelancing?

Recently I worked with a new client who asked this very question before embarking on a telephone campaign for freelance writing assignments.

A good question. A natural question. One we all ask when starting out.

Of course there are no guarantees in life.

But here is what I know:

It worked for me. On several occasions I found myself in touchy financial situations after termination from a full-time job. I needed some freelance work and by golly, I restarted the flow quickly using my three-step system. [insert link]

Now I’m not saying I was rolling in money—or even work—in no time flat. I’m simply saying that an effective system, implemented with intensity, works!

Determined and consistent effort pays off; spotty effort doesn’t. This is the inverse of the point I just made. If you don’t put forth much effort to get assignments, you probably won’t get much work.

Here’s where networking can be dangerous. You leave your prospecting tasks behind to go network and find your head nodding sympathetically to accounts of how hard it is to find freelance, no one is hiring, and the rare someone who is hiring expects to pay third-world wages.

Instead of passively listening to their woes, ask how many people they have contacted. I guarantee that it’s less than 100. Quite possibly they have contacted no one individually and have even limited their outreach to email (or even Twitter!) rather than direct phone calls. The problem is them, not the marketplace. (This doesn’t mean you have to set them straight. Continue nodding but don’t take what they’re saying to heart.)

Success rarely happens overnight. No matter what your Outlook in-box tells you, everything takes time. My system takes 30 days, which isn’t very long in real life, but that’s 30 years in online-marketing time. So you need a little patience.

Too much assessment wastes phoning time. Questioning the process after every call is like weighing yourself after each celery stalk. Misleading and discouraging.

If you reevaluate whether you should keep phoning after every call, you are bringing more doubt—not more wisdom—to the process and fueling procrastination. Quit thinking so much and put judgment aside. The vast majority of calls will not yield work—and certainly not immediate assignments. But the process as a whole will be effective!

Finally, here is what I most know: If you don’t try it, it certainly won’t work! Proactive, consistent marketing pays off; inaction does not!

Originally posted 5-27-09

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