The competitive spirit part 2

If you’re a freelancer starting out and/or you’re thirsty to know how to make it work, this post is for you.

Against (or in addition to) my previous post about being zero competitive,  I’ve had a few conversations with friends about that post and they all think I’m just too nice and too modest so this time I’m gonna tell you about taking ownership and leadership of your business to achieve your goals:

This is your life, this is your journey now. The first thing you need to understand, if you’re working for yourself, is that this is your life now. You’re at the beginning of a journey, not a race so keeping a firm and steady pace is essential. There are no shortcuts and no free boosts unless, of course, you have rich parents, a huge bank account or all the contacts in your industry are given to you on a silver tray.

Passion is not enough. Many will say that if you have the passion you can do anything… bullshit! I love music, I love singing in the shower but my voice… no, just no! The same with talent, if you can sketch or paint it will require much more that to be successful. Hard work, expertise and knowledge of your craft and industry are more likely to get you somewhere.

Be the best. Do your research and see how many people in your field of expertise are in your street, block, neighborhood, town and region. You’re one more in that bunch so what makes you different? Work every single day to become better at what you do until you know you are the best at it.

Make a cult out of your business identity. A big part of being a successful freelancer is how much ownership you take of your business. Create a cult from it and nurture it every day by being that person running that business. It’s hard to explain but it’s putting together your branding, language, imagery and personality to make you and your business recognizable.

Trust your gut. I’ve learned the hard way that success is mostly about making pretty good decisions. I’ve also learned that following my gut is always the best decision. Know that this is your business and your ass on the line, listen to others as much as you like but learn to trust your instinct.

Do it alone. People say I have a very good heart, they also say I like to see everyone do well. That might be true but there’s a line between doing good and helping others and letting them get a free ride. Learn that this is your journey and there’s only space for one because nobody will care for it as much as you do.

Go against the wind. There are 2 kinds of people, leaders and followers. If you think you’re going to make a statement by being a follower, you have a serious problem! A key to success as a creative freelancer is to be and do differently than your peers. Personally, I hate trends. I hate following rules and I hate doing what everyone else does, that’s a quality I’m very proud of.

Death before bullshit. Everyone nowadays expects results, figures, followers, shares and likes. They’d even pay shit-loads of money for these results but they’re not realistic. I’ve never relied on any of these and never sold figures to my clients. I get valued for always speaking the truth even when it’s not what people want to hear. Get over the fear of offending people or coming across as a negative person. It’s not worth it, I’ve built a reputation of not bullshitting people.

Offer solutions, not problems. This is business 101, if you’re offering a service that comes across as a problem, then you have a problem. Go back to the drawing room and do the necessary changes so your services solve people’s problems.

Fall 7 times, get up 8. This is a Japanese proverb that I keep in my mind all the time. Failure is part of your journey but not the end. Failure is part of a business so don’t be afraid to fail. Simply get back up, understand what went wrong, learn from it, keep looking ahead, the goal is to succeed.

I read somewhere that success is an action, not a mindset; once I understood this I got hands on and haven’t stopped since. I’m always on the go, evolving, learning and changing my business for good. No matter how much I achieve, I’m never comfortable nor satisfied with it, I just work harder. The worse you can do is be on your ass waiting for success to land upon you, it’s not like winning the lottery, doesn’t happen!  

Until next time.