The Justice League for Freelance Success – Part One
When I was growing up, one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was the Justice League.
It featured an all-star cast of America’s greatest superheroes. Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and many more graced the halls of the Justice League Headquarters. Working together, they fought crime and assorted villainy.
(Now, I’m not a diehard comic book guy. So if I’m a little off on the details, please forgive me and feel free to make any corrections in the comments below.)
Remembering the Justice League the other day got me to thinking about our pursuit of a successful freelance career and the writer’s life.
While you can get most assignments done on your own, it’s much easier with a little help from friends.
Being a freelance professional can be very isolating. In fact, that’s the default mode of a freelancer – to work alone … sometimes for days and even weeks on end.
But it’s not the best way to work – not for you and not for your clients.
Below are six reasons why working alone for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your freelance career.
In part two of this article, I’ll give you the remedies for these problems: forming your own “Justice League.” But for now, let’s take a look at what can go wrong …
- You Get Idea Shortages – Creativity, as I described in my article “The Anti-Writing Secret I Learned on My Way to Becoming a Six-Figure Writer”, is, in its simplest form, just two old ideas joined in a new way. But in order to see new ways to join ideas together, you need some sort of catalyst. The best catalyst is conversation that challenges what you take for granted and makes you think in new ways.
- You Hit the Knowledge Ceiling – Eventually in your freelance career – much sooner than you think – you won’t know where to turn to further your education. And you might not even recognize you’ve got a lot more to learn. You likely won’t even realize it without a little help from friends and mentors turning on the lights for you.
- You Experience a Crisis of Confidence – One bad call from a client. One rejection. Both can set a freelancer back days, weeks, even months if they’re left alone with their own self-pity. It’s hard to realize others have experienced the same, or worse, struggles, only to come back stronger. That is, unless you talk to those people. Fact is, everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – suffers from rejection, blown opportunities, and client struggles as a freelancer.
- You Get Too Confident – Stay in the freelance world long enough, and you’ll hit on a string of successes that will blow your mind. Left to your own devices, you could be tempted to rest on your laurels … and set yourself up for a very hard and painful fall. You need perspective from the outside to know when things are out of balance on the good side too.
- You Get Production Blinders – Working alone is great, but sometimes we lose sight of the quality in the work we produce. After spending days or even weeks on a project, it becomes very difficult to know if you have a masterpiece or a dud. You’re just too close to it. You need a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective.
- You Get Overwhelmed – A freelance business can get downright overwhelming. Sometimes it’s due to too much work. Other times, it’s the famine that can drive you mad. And if you are the sole breadwinner, like I am, it just multiplies the pressure. You’ll need to make some big decisions about when to take clients and when to turn them away … about how much to charge and about whether or not to hire help. These are very dangerous decisions to make alone.
Don’t let the list get you down. Remember, in part two of this article, I’ll show you how you can turn each of these potential freelance pitfalls into an opportunity to explode your success as a freelancer.
By finding and uniting forces with your own “Justice League.” Hey, if Superman and Wonder Woman need a little help sometimes, don't we all?
Until then, let me know in the comments below about your biggest challenges as a freelancer.
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