4 Tips to Beat Analysis Paralysis

Struggling with getting started? Feel like a deer in the headlights when it comes to taking action on becoming a freelance copywriter?

Chances are you suffer from analysis paralysis.

Here are 4 tips to help you beat it:

  1. Realize you’re only human. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll never make a mistake.

    The fact of the matter is, people make mistakes. Lots of them. Would you be surprised to learn that some of today’s most successful copywriters have made some of the BIGGEST copywriting blunders anyone could possibly make? The only difference between them and you is that they kept moving forward despite them. Baseball hall of famers only hit the ball about 30% of the time. The other 70% they fail.

    The bottom line: the path to success is an imperfect one. You’ll get off course, to be sure. The key is in recognizing when it happens, and keep moving in the direction of your goals.

  2. Break big goals into smaller ones. Having big goals is important. But if that’s the only thing you focus on, it can be paralyzing. You’ll think “how will I ever get there!?”

    Instead, break your big goal into smaller, more achievable goals. Then focus on the one action you can do now to move closer to that goal.

    For example, if your goal is to earn $60,000 a year as a copywriter, that means you’d have to earn $5,000 a month.

    But let’s say you’ve never even written a promo! In that case, keep your goal of $5,000 a month on the back burner and figure out what the very first step you would need to take is.

    Maybe start with a goal to read AWAI’s Basic Copywriting program every night for 30 minutes. Once you’ve accomplished that, set a goal to write five headlines for your first sample piece. Once you’ve done that, set a goal to write a 500-word lead.

    Eventually, all these tiny, easy steps will lead you to that $5,000 a month goal.

    The bottom line: Start small and focus on actions you can do NOW to make that ultimate goal a reality.

  3. Create a safety net. The root of all fear is the fear that you won’t be able to handle whatever happens as a result of your actions.

    To allay that fear do this:

    Think of the worst case scenario that could possibly happen. And then create a plan beforehand to deal with it. For example, let’s say you landed an assignment and the worst case scenario is that your promo bombs, the client blames you for it and never wants to do business with you again.

    To deal with this, you might create a plan where:

    1. You realize that this has happened to many copywriters, even the great ones.
    2. You write an email to the client explaining you’d like to revise the copy at no cost.
    3. You follow up with a phone call to try and mend things with the client and explain how you’re sorry the promo bombed and you’d like to make things right by giving it another shot, at no cost.
    4. If that doesn’t go well, you simply acknowledge that you’ve done everything possible to correct the situation and move on to more reasonable clients.

    This “emergency” plan to handle the worst case scenario becomes your safety net. It gives you something to fall back on … and ultimately the confidence to go out on a limb and try something that may make you a little uncomfortable.

  4. Track your results. Write down what happens as a result of your taking action. Eventually you’ll discover what’s working and what’s not. When things don’t work out, it simply means you’ve got to try a different angle. A different approach. Eventually, you’ll arrive at your destination.

Ultimately, only action will get you through analysis paralysis. But remember, start small. Eventually, you’ll build momentum and before you know it, you’ll have achieved your goals.

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Published: May 22, 2009

1 Response to “4 Tips to Beat Analysis Paralysis”

  1. Guillermo, thanks for this piece today; it was timely and clearly written. Paralysis comes in other ways, too, and I have written about it in my next blog post.
    I'll keep your points and heed them!

    Ann Jordan-Mills

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