It’s July 4th, which for those of you here in the US, means you’re probably out swimming, grilling, or doing fireworks as this is hitting your inbox…
(At least, that’s my plans for the afternoon!)
So here I am at 5:16 AM, getting this ready to go out later.
And I thought, for today, I’d republish an article I wrote many years ago, shortly after launching my freelance copywriting career.
It’s about a different kind of Independence Day.
It’s about entrepreneurship (whether you’re a freelancer or starting a bigger business).
And about that moment when you take the leap, and declare your own independence.
Your Personal Independence Day
By Roy Furr
February 15th, 2010, will always rank right up there with my birthday, the day I got married, and my children’s birthdays as one of the most important days of my life.
That’s because it’s the day I went out on my own in my copywriting business.
It’s the day I wriggled out from under the heavy hand of a boss and J-O-B – to never work for anyone else for the rest of my life!
It’s my “Personal Independence Day.”
And while I can talk to you about all the virtues of having your own personal holiday (of which there are many!), I really want to provide a helpful lesson in this article.
And that lesson is the power of setting a date for yourself.
Setting a Date is Crucial to Your Success
You see, before I went out on my own, I spent a lot of time dreaming about becoming a freelance copywriter. I went through all the motions that I’d convinced myself would be necessary to set up my eventual success:
— I read all the books and programs.
— I started writing regularly, and even getting clients in my spare time.
— I dreamed and dreamed of what my life would be like “someday.”
But all these things seemed to do was breed discontent. You see, while I dreamed, I wasn’t achieving. My dreams kept growing, but my achievements didn’t follow suit.
Maybe you’re in a situation where you feel much the same way.
Yet when I actually set a date in my mind after which I would be a freelance copywriter, I got my tail in motion. I turned all these vague thoughts and dreams about how I’d like my life to be into specific things I needed to do to make my dreams reality.
And what happened? I ended up achieving my dream two full weeks prior to the initial date I’d set! In late December 2009, I decided it would be by March 1st, 2010, that I’d be out on my own. What really happened is that due to a flood of new projects, I was forced to quit my job early and set February 15th in stone as my “Personal Independence Day.”
Why Setting a Date Works So Well
“Great, Roy,” you may think, “setting a date worked for you. But it’s not going to work for me because … ”
I’ll stop you there.
It will work for you. And here’s why: Setting a date forces you to take action.
If you make excuses instead of setting a date, you’re just letting all those doubts and so-called reasons you’ll fail fester and grow. But when you set a date after which you’re going to go out on your own, you’ll face those doubts head on.
You’ll solve what needs to be solved.
You’ll ignore what needs to be ignored.
And you’ll move forward, day by day, until you achieve the success of going out on your own. Our human will has a stunning way of making things happen when given a deadline.
Just take a look back at your own life at some of the deadlines you’ve done whatever it took to meet. For me, they were:
— College term papers due the next day led me to staying up all night to get them done – and getting A’s for my midnight work.
— Product launches the boss wanted out yesterday led to me writing long product descriptions, editing, posting them to the website, writing and sending a launch email, and a thousand other little tasks – all in 4 hours.
— Needing to pay bills led me to taking more hours at work, working tired, taking on additional projects, and busting my butt to scrounge up the extra cash it would take before the bill came due.
And that’s just a quick sampling. When you tell your mind something needs to be done, and it needs to be done by a certain date, your mind will usually find a way to make it happen.
When You Set Your Date … Everything Else Lines Up
My own personal story is a good example of how everything else lines up once you set your date.
You see, when I set my Personal Independence Day in December of 2009, I thought I’d need a couple of months to get everything in order. That’s why I’d originally planned for March 1st.
Yes, I’d already learned a lot about copywriting. Yes, I’d had a few clients already. Yes, I’d already set up my business legal structure.
But I was a little short on cash to pay the bills I’d need to cover in my first few months, and I didn’t yet have a steady stream of projects. (How could I book projects when I didn’t know when I’d be able to do them?) I knew I needed this time to get all these things in order.
So I gave myself two months – and immediately proceeded to tell everyone I could think of about my coming “Personal Independence Day.” Peers, clients, potential clients, friends, and so on. I told them I was looking for projects, and if they knew anyone, they should send them my way.
Almost instantly I was getting requests. Not just “when you’re available” requests – but “can you do this now?” requests. And because I still wanted to build more financial cushion, I said yes. I started doing work early in the morning, late at night, and on the weekends. But even this was not enough. Soon I was booking my schedule well into March and April.
The momentum built and built. The missing pieces were coming together. Doubts and reasons it wouldn’t work were erased.
And by the end of January, I realized I’d given myself too much time. That I needed to get started earlier.
That’s when I revised my date to February 15th … The day that’s become my “Personal Independence Day.”
Yet without setting this date, I don’t know if I’d be a freelancer today. After all, it was the process of setting the date that put everything else in motion. If I hadn’t set the date, it wouldn’t have happened on February 15th, or March 1st, or possibly any day since.
How To Set Your Personal Independence Day
Okay, so you know what a Personal Independence Day is. If you’re still reading, perhaps you’re convinced not only that you should set one, but that it could be the most powerful thing in moving you forward to working for yourself.
But how do you set your date?
Well, there are a lot of considerations … Not the least of which are:
— Are you mentally prepared to be a freelancer?
— Do you have the basic knowledge you need to write good copy?
— Do you know how to sell your services and keep clients happy?
— Can you financially afford to make the leap?
— How much time do you need to get all these things in order?
The good news is, you can probably make it all happen quite a bit sooner than you think. It just takes some planning time and some dedicated effort. And if you’re serious about becoming a freelance copywriter … and building a thriving copywriting business … it’s time and effort you should take today!
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI). For a complimentary subscription to AWAI’s free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.
It’s funny what a deadline can do…
I’ve taken to setting quarterly deadlines for my business. And more big things are happening faster than ever before. It’s a painful learning curve to get it right. And there’s no guarantee you’ll hit every deadline you set.
However, I’ve consistently found that when I’ve taken the process seriously, it’s created monumental leaps forward in whatever it is that I want to achieve.
And when I’m floundering on something, not getting it done, not achieving what I want? It’s probably because I didn’t set or am not honoring the deadlines I laid out.
(Yeah, I do that too.)
If you’re looking to launch your freelance copywriting career…
A good start would be The Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid. If you pay shipping, I’ll buy you the book. Read it (it’s quick — easily less than two hours). Then set your date.
And if you want to go deeper and really establish an offer for your copywriting business that will sustain you (I’ve lived on one offer since 2010), check out The Copywriter’s Roadmap to Building a Core Offer.
Alright, that’s it. I have a couple more quick work tasks to accomplish before the kids get up for the day, and then it’s work off, family time on.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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