You only need to go one step at a time, but you do have to begin
You’ll never be ready.
No one’s ever ready.
But you still have to start. Take the first step.
That makes today the right day for you to begin the freelance business that’s been calling to you. It can be full-time, part-time, or extremely part-time.
This one’s easy and I urge you to implement it by making the choice to read this article and put yourself on the path to starting the freelance business you’ve been thinking about. Today.
What is the freelance work that’s been calling you? Writing? Editing? Photography? Videography? Coaching? Bookkeeping? Landscaping? Read the first paragraph of this article if you haven’t settled on one thing and you need ideas to jumpstart your thinking.
Tap the energy
Find the excitement, the joy, the passion, and the motivation within to fuel your venture. Recognize that feeling and practice returning to it as needed. There will be days when you will fall back on discipline, commitment, will power, and just showing up. That’s important energy too. Understand both; use each as needed to propel yourself forward. Energy mastery takes all self-employment further, faster.
Envision the big and the small
Pave the road to long-term achievement and daily successes by imagining where you want to go. What does that look like and feel like for you? What are the broad strokes and the fine details? Use tools you already know are effective for you in this regard, but experiment with new things like meditation, walking, journaling, vision boards, possibility thinking, and idealizing.
Clarify as you can
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to know everything, including what you all want from your undertaking, in advance. You can and will gain clarity as you go. While some days will be blue skies and open road for miles, some days will be driving in a blizzard at night. Even then, you will have headlights permitting you to inch forward.
Work with the rosebush
A rosebush provides a holistic image for the entire kit and kaboodle that is a freelance business. It helps to remember that it is a living entity that exists in cycles and has multiple stages of growth and decay happening at once. Coach Steve Schlafman’s Rose, Bud, Thorn exercise can help us take stock on any given day. Reflect on…
A rose: “A highlight, success, small win, or something positive that happened.”
The buds: “New ideas that have bloomed or something you are looking forward to.”
A thorn: “A challenge you experienced or something you could use more help with.”
I’d add fallen petals and decaying blooms. Some things are meant to float away or die off.
“Travelers there is no path, the path is made by walking.” — Antonio Machado
So, you commit, you find an energy source, you visualize, you clarify, and you reflect, but it’s all in service of the eventual action. The baby steps and quantum leaps. What do you need to do to get results? Have a bias towards action, to creating and following the path, but you don’t need to know it all in advance or engage superhuman efforts.
Make each action effective
Make each of those actions you take effective, and the successes will accumulate. One thing at a time. There’s no need to rush — there’s no business like slow business! Let the right, successful actions build up and your business will grow. Once you have this down, work on supercharging your actions, meaning consider actions that build additional success into them, that lay the groundwork for future opportunities. For example, supercharge successful presentations by experimenting with the right calls to action to wrap up the events. Supercharge every business meeting with practices that cultivate and extend relationships.
Be a beginner
You don’t have to pretend to be anything other than a beginner. In fact, it’s a productive mindset to remind yourself that you are learning how to do this thing. You can be realistic and go easy on yourself. Check in: Are you learning? What are you learning? What do you need to learn? How are you going to learn that? Who can help you learn that?
Make yourself right, right now
You’re learning, you’re a beginner, and you can — and should — make yourself right, right now. Not behind, not overwhelmed, not confused. Right! At this very moment. You have made the choice to start a freelance enterprise in pursuit of more money, more freedom, personal expression, something different, something better. Soak it in, stabilize the gain. This is how and where you center yourself when things aren’t going how you want. Figure out how you are right, right now. Come to believe it. Then re-build from there.
Create structures and systems
From the beginning, work on creating structures and systems for how you work best and for your business to function optimally. These will be tweaked as you go but start with the habit of constructing them and using them. Make checklists for repeat situations. Collect your systems info in a binder you can easily refer to. Have a once-a-week meeting with yourself for review, planning, and strategy. (Here are my enduring productivity hacks from 30+ years of self-employment.)
Rally a mutual support group
You can get where you’re going alone, but you’ll get there faster and with less stress, more fun, better ideas, and more opportunities, if you assemble a mutual support group for the journey from the beginning. Agree to meet at least once every 2–4 weeks, ideally in person, to check in with each other. Discuss goals, successes, needs, struggles. Share ideas, support, contacts, laughs, shoulders to cry on. Maybe wine, beer, or dessert too.
Fantastic! You have started your freelance business today by thinking about all of the above. Now, what step or steps will you be taking tomorrow?