We’re not going to hide this: being a freelancer comes with many challenges, including an unpredictable workload, financial instability, as well as conflicting client expectations and demands. You’re the ones in charge when freelancing. This means that it is your duty to be proactive and take responsibility for your decisions.
What does being proactive mean? Well, a proactive approach involves seeking out opportunities, seizing them, and trying to create change by improving yourself and those around you, instead of waiting for problems to be miraculously fixed. Proactivity requires foresight, and foresight requires imagination and fearlessness.
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates
The good news is that being proactive is a skill that you can develop and strengthen. It comes down to shifting your mindset and patterns and noticing the point at which you are starting to fall into reactive mode. Instead of doing the bare minimum, you should try to look for new ways to improve and grow your freelancing business. After all, you’re the boss, right?
Here’s what you can do about it:
Organize your freelance work schedule ⏰
Creating a schedule should always start with identifying when you’re most productive.
Hmm, is there a list of tasks that you have been avoiding so far? Exactly, those are the kind of tasks that you need to take up first. Get the harder tasks out of the way. Prioritize the work that needs to be done first, so you’ll be able to effortlessly stay ahead of the game.
When we fill our workday with distraction, we lose our edge and fail to see the fine line between what we think is important and what truly is. Put your phone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. Proactivity involves discipline and time management.
Think about the big picture 🧠
It’s important to consider your ultimate goals. These are not essential for staying motivated, but they also help you to establish a timeframe for your career management and progression.
Start by choosing a clear destination. That way, you can make sure the steps you’re taking are in the right direction. What do you want to accomplish this year? Are you thinking about the big picture, or about immediate results? Write down your goals.
Being proactive will help you to be more prepared for situations and stress less. You’ll have a plan and you’ll be prepared for possible outcomes. This will also make you a problem solver. Proactive people are also more driven and will set goals to achieve their path.
Don’t forget it’s okay to fall behind or to change your goals if you need to. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Do you know why we are reactive? Because we don’t pay attention to what’s happening around us. We’re not focused. We’re constantly distracted by everything.
For example, if you are a copywriter who typically works with non-profit organizations you may notice that they aren’t as concerned about revenue as they strive to play a major role in philanthropy. Typically, they set goals around a specific type of outcome.
Wherever you’re a beginner in your freelancing journey, consider what types of goals you should set and the types of measurable objectives that will help you accomplish them.
Look for all possible outcomes 🧐
We can’t always control the outcome, but we can influence it in our favor or learn something from it. The freelancing industry can be unpredictable. But you can turn things in your favor.
When you have a proactive mindset, most of the issues that come up seemingly out of the left-field are already something you’ve considered. Brainstorm creative ways to solve or prevent problems in different scenarios. Whether we realize it or not, brainstorming is at the root of every venture we undertake, be it a design, project, or decision. Build on ideas. Combine concepts to create new solutions. Evaluate each idea to determine which are feasible, innovative, and best suited to achieve your goals.
Understand your clients 🗣
You need to listen to what your clients need instead of thinking first from your perspective. Then learn how to pitch your ideas in a creative and thoughtful manner to get their attention.
In some cases, clients expect you to know what they want. While this may seem unfair, it’s the nature of the freelance game.
Anticipating their needs, showing empathy, and solving problems before they’ve realized them are all proactive approaches.
You should ask for more details, instead of waiting for clarifications.
Master the art of follow-ups ➡️
Be specific about what needs to be followed up on and when you will get back to them. Then, get back to the clients in the promised time frame even if there is not a resolution. You must keep your word.
Following up is a process that involves creating your luck, so when you need an opportunity or a lead, you’ll already have invested the time and energy, and can now reap the benefits. The art of the follow-up isn’t annoying if you do it the right way.
If you’ve successfully impressed them with your work ethic, they’ll obviously return to you whenever they need a freelancer.
This past year has been challenging. But we can learn a lot from these past twelve months.
Being proactive is not about filling up your schedule. It’s about creating balance in your life. Don't sit on the sideline and wait to see what happens. Challenge yourself to take initiative. Make it happen.
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