The Secret to Success for Every Freelance Online Copywriter is to Stay Focused

Freelancers are notoriously vulnerable to distraction.

Instead of remaining focused on a single goal, with a clear plan, we leave ourselves open to anything that suggests the grass might be greener elsewhere.

Does this apply to you?

Before you say no, answer these questions …

During the course of the last week, have you …

  • Had a day when you were furiously busy, but at the end of the day had achieved very little?
  • Clicked a link in an email to just check out some other course, program, or copywriting “system”?
  • Thought about trying some other copywriting niche that is not directly related to the one you are working in now?
  • Accepted, or thought about accepting, a freelance project that really doesn’t align with your niche or your goals?
  • Worked 40 hours but were able to bill for only about 20?

If you answered “no” to all of those questions, good for you. That means you have a clear goal and plan for your freelance copywriting business, and you stick with it.

If you answered “yes,” or even acknowledged that maybe you do get distracted from time to time, you need to pause and think.

Remember, as a freelancer you are alone. It matters how you spend your time each day. And every hour you spend on a distraction is an hour you can’t bill for.

And that, perhaps, is the clearest distinction between freelancers who are driving in a straight line towards achieving a clear goal, and freelancers who are weaving around without any clear idea of where they are going.

The freelancer with a clear goal gets to invoice a lot more hours.

He or she doesn’t waste any time wondering if the grass might be greener elsewhere. She doesn’t get distracted. She knows where she is going, and has figured out how to get there.

If you want to get focused, and bill for more of the hours you work, follow these steps:

1. Decide on your niche.

Decide on what you want to do. Become a B2B online copywriter. Or a specialist in writing e-newsletters. Or a page optimization expert. Or a landing page expert. Just pick a specialization.

Do not just hang up a shingle and announce something like, “I am a freelance online copywriter and accept all work.”

It’s tough to market yourself as a Jack-of-all-trades. Besides which, companies don’t want to hire a Jack-of-all-trades. They outsource work because they need a specialist. They can probably find a Jack-of-all-trades in-house.

Be that specialist.

2. Establish a clear goal.

Decide on where you want your business to be three years from now. Visualize it. Imagine the kind of work you will be doing, the clients you will have, the income you will make.

You need a goal. If you don’t have one, you’ll be weaving around in a constant state of distraction.

3. Stick with the plan.

Everything you do, each and every day, should be aligned with achieving your goal.

If the time you spend on the phone isn’t aligned with your goal, put down the phone. If the time you spend on Twitter or Facebook isn’t aligned with your goal, log off. If the new course you are thinking about taking isn’t aligned with your goal, don’t buy it.

4. Keep learning, but keep it focused.

Self-education is essential for freelancers. You have to keep learning, so you can offer greater value to your clients. BUT, make sure that everything you do to upgrade your knowledge and skills is precisely aligned with your specialty and your goals.

If a learning opportunity is not aligned with your goals, it is simply a distraction and a time-sink.

To summarize …

Think about the most successful freelancers you know. The big names. The big earners.

They all have one thing in common.

They are focused.

They know where they are going, and they know they can’t afford to waste time on distractions.

Follow their lead.

[Ed. Note: Nick Usborne has been a copywriter for 30 years now, 11 of which he’s dedicated solely to online copy. He is also the author of Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts (formerly Million-Dollar Secrets for Online Copywriting), a step-by-step guide showing copywriters how to apply their skills to writing for the Web, and confidently present themselves to any company, large or small, as an expert who can transform their online presence.]

This article, The Secret to Success for Every Freelance Online Copywriter is to Stay Focused, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

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Published: June 23, 2010

2 Responses to “The Secret to Success for Every Freelance Online Copywriter is to Stay Focused”

  1. A very inspirational and focused piece. As always, Nick is right on target and I enjoy reading his words of wisdom, especially because in a few words he knows how to help those of us who may be struggling to find our place in the copywriting world. Thanks Nick for the inspiration, the direction, and the "kick in the pants" that some of us need to find our way.


  2. Thank you Mr. Usbourne, you showed me I need to stay focused on my niche of christian copywriting and that I do let alot of things distract me

    David Adame

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