You’ll wait for a lot of things when you are working as a freelancer. You’ll wait for someone to call you back. You’ll wait for a reply to your beautifully crafted email pitch. You’ll wait for likes on your posts. You’ll wait for someone to call.
You’ll wait to get paid.
You’ll spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen to you. And if you do that, you’ll be waiting a very long time. Much longer than you are likely to have the patience to wait through.
Waiting is not the way to carve out your niche.
You cannot, of course, control other people as much as you may wish that you could. You will still be “waiting for an answer” on any number of queries and pitches you have sent out to leads, prospects, friends and long-shot ‘Hail Mary’ passes that are still worth doing even though they almost never amount to anything.
But key to flipping the concept of waiting on its head is to be focused, not on the results you are waiting for, but the actions that generate the waiting in the first place.
Yes, you want to see huge uplift to your latest offer online. But the important factor here is not the waiting for the uplift, but the fact that you actually put an offer online.
Todd Herman says that the key to long-term, sustainable success as an entrepreneur (which is what every freelancer is) is this simple formula: offer, offer, offer. Keep changing up your offers to the markets, through constant and repeated (focused) experimentation, until you find something that hits. Then, as Sean Wes recently wrote, you hammer it. Push hard on what works and abandon what’s not working.
That’s so important it bears repeating: push on what works; abandon what’s not working.
If you are getting even the faintest whispers of a promise, put more effort and energy into that action. Conversely, if you’ve tried and found no response at all to something, than stop doing it.
Now by stopping, you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But if something “fails” to elicit a response of any kind, than rethink what you are doing and your approach towards it. If you still think it’s something important and meaningful to you and your business, change something and try it again.
Take a blog post for instance. Maybe try republishing using a different headline, or a shorter text. Add an image. Take an image away. Try it on a different platform. Try sending it out at a different time of day. Repurposed content is still content. If after a few tries something continues to fail, drop it. You may not understand why it’s not working. Be patient. It will come to you.
If it’s something that’s worth doing, it will resurface as you try new things and somehow, through the magic of the subconscious, and the ever changing nature of the internet, at some point that core idea will emerge at the right time, in the right place, for the right audience, in the right format and you’ll have a win.
Note, you’re not sitting around after pushing the publish button waiting for a response. You’re actively doing something with your idea.
Data precedes dough
The same goes for whether you are making a sales pitch, or reaching out to potential collaborators. Leveraging your bias for action, you keep trying and working towards your goals relentlessly. Responses, when they come (and they will come) will fuel you in information first and then, eventually, money.
First you do.
Then you learn.
Then you do again, applying what you’ve learned
At some point, part of the learning yield includes money. People starting responding to your offers with offers to hire of their own.
That’s when you’ve hit the proverbial vein gold miners search for. Once you do, you work the vein. You may not be able to tell if you’ve landed on Smaug’s horde, or it will just drivel down to nothing. You can’t predict the future. You do, and keep doing and with every attempt, you take something back with you that informs the next action.
Even if that lesson is simply, do it again. Try doing it louder, wider, with more amplification.
Or maybe the opposite, do it with more precision, more targeted, more directly towards where you are seeing the growth.
Regardless of whether more is more, or less is more, or more is less – by doing you learn the difference.
And you don’t stop. You’re not waiting around for something to happen to you.
You are what’s happening to you.