“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” – Dale Carnegie
Hello from the freezing city of Marrakesh, and thanks heaps to Kelly for shouting me a coffee last week—much appreciated!
The key to building a successful and sustainable freelance business is to make sure you’re doing what gives you energy.
No surprises there.
But if you’re like 99.8% of freelancers, you’re either working so hard (or struggling so hard to get work) that you completely forget to check in on whether you’re still enjoying things.
I want you to think back to that wondrous day when you quit your 9-to-5 and skipped merrily into your new life of freelance freedom.
You woke up late.
Worked from bed with a pile of your favorite snacks.
Hung out with your pets all day.
Relished the fact that you no longer needed to wear pants.
Giggled gleefully because you’d never again be summoned to an executive meeting for a formal warning about using inappropriate humor at the office.
After a while, all that freedom-y stuff gradually started to feel, well…just like being at work again.
So what happened?
It all comes down to a tiny but powerful word starting with F.
No, not that one.
This cute little word is a critical part of freelancing, but it’s one that nobody really talks about.
And it’s one that can easily slip away if you’re not paying attention to it.
I don’t mean “fun” as in taking a break to walk the dog, or doing other stuff you enjoy once you’ve finished work. You should already be doing that.
I mean building fun aspects INTO your business.
Whether that’s a sprinkling or a triple helping with extra toppings, that’s up to you.
But you’ve got to keep some level of fun happening in your business.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
Here’s a few things to think about if you’re looking to bump up the fun factor as a freelancer.
Is your personal brand authentic to who you are? Or have you just created something you think clients want to see?
I initially thought that being a freelance tech writer meant I needed to be very straight and professional. So naturally I hated everything about the brand I built around myself.
Once I removed the stick from my butt and learned that it was “okay” to show up online as my derpy, colorful, weird self—my business actually started to feel fun again.
And it started to move mountains in terms of better pay rates and clients.
The boring clients I hated stopped knocking. And the cool clients I really wanted to work with took notice.
Paying attention to whether you feel comfortable in the brand you’ve built is super important.
Once your personal brand is on track, your marketing gets easier.
Showing up on social media, writing emails, and talking to clients gets easier.
Being yourself online just gets…well…easier.
And more fun.
Now you can say what comes naturally in your marketing, instead of spending ages trying to construct something that isn’t really you.
This is a biggie, and something that you need to review at least once a year.
Do you actually enjoy the type of writing you’re doing?
Have you come to loathe your core services or packages?
Maybe you want to switch from blogs to email copywriting?
Or be a white paper writer?
Or change niche altogether!
Switching up your services helps you get the fun factor back in a BIG way.
If you’ve got a niggling feeling that your services are to blame for sucking your will to live, it’s time to change them.
Website copy used to be my bread and butter, and I loved the challenge of seeing a new site come together.
But over time, that changed, and I began to hate them. So it was time to focus on other types of copy, and say no to websites.
The result? I’m now focused on shorter projects that are much more fun to work on.
Now you’ve reviewed your services, it’s time to review your clients. You need to get really clear on who you want to work with (and who is a big NOPE).
Think about the best project you ever had. How can you replicate that client?
Profile them in detail and think about all the defining features that made them enjoyable to work with.
Now go and get some more based on those parameters that you’ve laid out.
And say NOPE to any clients that are miles away from what you want for your business.
Your desk is your sanctuary and a place that you’ll spend a ridiculous amount of your life at.
As well as making sure it’s a comfortable and productive space, you can also:
- Buy some fun desk toys
- Put some humorous quotes on the wall
- Grow a cute desktop garden
- Treat yourself to some new stationery and notepads
- Experience the sick thrill of joining a client call wearing your Star Wars pyjama bottoms
I travel full time, so I don’t have the luxury of creating a great desk setup, but I do carry this tiny, squeaky green pig around as my freelance support animal.
|Say hello to Super Best Pig|
Even tiny elements of fun can make a big difference to your work day.
Fun doesn’t mean that your business gets easier—but it does make the daily grind a heck of a lot more enjoyable.
Go forth and sprinkle some fun on your business this week!
Ask Me Anything!
Q. I’ve been getting lots of leads from my new website (yay!), but honestly most of them are a total waste of time.
They either can’t afford my rates, want to hire me for stuff I don’t do or don’t know about, or they don’t really know what they want at all.
It’s frustrating and I’m wasting literally hours on these calls. Help?
A. Okay, I’ve checked out your contact page, and I can give you a huge and instant win that will help you take your time back.
AND you can set this up in about 10 minutes.
It’s your new best friend, the intake form.
This helps clients self-select whether they’re a good fit for you or not before you’ve even spoken to them. It’s a lifesaver, trust me.
You can set this form up directly on your contact page or you can create a free form using Typeform or Google Forms that you can either link to from your contact button, or email to prospective clients when they get in touch with you.
Here are some examples of forms that fellow copywriters have set up on their websites.
This will give you an idea of how to set a form up for yourself, plus the types of questions you should be asking:
- My own client intake form (I keep things fairly simple)
- Eman Ismail (uses a Dubsado form that links from her contact page)
- Chris Collins
- Ami Williamson
- Michal Eisikowitz
- Annie Bacher
Just remember that your intake form should ask the questions that are most important to you in deciding how best to qualify/disqualify new clients.
Social Posts Of The Week
- Joe Zappa laid out his path from charging $0 to $1,500 an article, and exactly how long it took him to get there. The answer may shock you…
- Mel Barfield gave potential clients 5 reasons NOT to work with her this year.
- Bill Hinchen shared some gross Wednesday Science facts about echidna snot bubbles and spider anuses (anii? anoos?), and we became mortal enemies over our opinions on mouldy cow juice.
- Tim Urban’s TEDX Talk – Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator has been watched 51 million times.
So basically, you HAVE to watch it if you haven’t already. Especially if you’re a fellow procrastinator—because you’re going to relate hard to every second of this 🙂
Meme Of The Week
Thanks for reading!
Anything you’re stuck on? Need some specific advice about your freelancing biz? Just hit reply to this email—I reply to everything 🙂
P.S. If you enjoyed this newsletter and want to support it, you can: