Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First …
Then Assist Others

I’ve flown on several different airlines this year, and they all give the same preflight safety spiel.

The flight attendants stand in the aisle and point out the emergency exits. They explain the seat belts and how to use the seat cushion as a flotation device. They instruct passengers to “put your own oxygen mask on first, and then assist others” if the cabin loses air pressure.

The only warning signs of hypoxia (insufficient levels of oxygen) are blurry vision, slight shortness of breath, mental confusion, and feeling weak and dizzy. However, at the average cruising altitude of commercial jetliners — 25,000 to 37,000 feet — unconsciousness and death can occur quickly.

There’s a reason they tell us to put our own mask on first: we’re not going to be of much help to anyone if we’re passed out or dead.

This warning is specifically addressed to parents who are travelling with children. It’s reminiscent of the advice new moms receive — remember to take care of yourself so you can continue taking care of the rest of your family.

Similarly, you need to take care of your web-copywriting business to keep it alive and functioning.

Here’s how you can be sure your business has its own oxygen mask on first:

1. Know WHAT to do.

The airlines keep a handy instruction sheet in the pocket of the seat in front of you. Wealthy Web Writer goes a step further. There are hundreds of how-to articles archived on the Wealthy Web Writer site. Simply type “self-promotion,” “marketing yourself,” or “getting clients” into the search bar to access all the information you need to get started.

These articles are helpful to both the freelancer just starting out AND the veteran whose self-promotion has gotten a little stale and needs an infusion of fresh ideas.

2. PRIORITIZE all those good ideas.

So many good ideas can be overwhelming … so much so that you don’t actually implement any of them. So, first, make a list of all the projects that would work for you and your target market. Then, decide which would give you the most bang for your buck.

I like to have a combination of small, mid-sized, and large self-marketing projects that I’m working on at any given time. For example, being active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn takes a relatively small amount of time. Finishing my e-book is taking longer. Researching and emailing prospects is a mid-activity level task. Following up and suggesting additional projects with existing clients falls in between social media and email.

However, social media and my e-book will take the longest to yield results, as they are largely visibility and credibility builders. Emailing prospects also takes some time to build the relationship. Pursuing additional projects with existing clients gets my highest priority because it’s the shortest path to added revenue.

3. SCHEDULE your projects.

Add yourself to whatever system you use to manage your client projects and deadlines. Treat yourself like your very best client — assign your projects and give yourself deadlines.

Break down your big projects (like an e-book or a website revision) into smaller pieces and assign deadlines for each piece. For example, you can break a job down by number of pages, number of words, sections … whatever makes sense to the project.

Or give yourself a deadline by which you’ll have sent a specific number of prospecting emails or sales letters … you get the idea.

The point here is to ensure that you’re making consistent progress on your own marketing while working on client projects at the same time. If you wait until the lull that comes in between clients, you’ll have to wait longer for the results.

You need to keep your sales funnel full of new prospects to avoid the feast-or-famine cycle that’s so common for us freelancers. Consistent self-marketing will do that.

“Even though the bag may not inflate, oxygen IS flowing.”

On the flights I’ve been on lately, the flight attendants reassured the passengers that even though the bag attached to the oxygen mask may not inflate, oxygen IS flowing. Self-promotion and marketing is like that …

Sometimes you see immediate results, but sometimes you don’t. This doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t working.

Some prospects just take longer to land as a client.

Again, the key here is consistency. Doing something regularly to keep your marketing moving forward in a planned, systematic manner.

Isn’t that what you would advise your clients to do? Of course it is!

Self-promotion and marketing is the oxygen mask that ensures the survival and success of your business. Don’t wait for the warning symptoms of “business hypoxia” … they may be too mild to notice. Put it on now, before it’s too late.

This article, Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First … Then Assist Others, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

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Published: November 14, 2012

1 Response to “Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First... Then Assist Others”

  1. What a masterful job, Michele. I'm tipping my virtual cap to you. Extremely well done!

    The last portion of your article really hit home with me. It's so easy to become preoccupied with results (the inflated bag) when we should be focusing on progress (the air flowing into it). Thanks for reminding us that visible results will never be achieved without daily progress...

    RNin2013November 14, 2012 at 9:27 am

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