The Most Critical Factor to Freelance Success

SUMMARY: I attribute much of my success to my ability to take action. For me, taking action is more important than experience, attitude, skill or personality.

goalsLaunching a successful freelance business requires a certain degree of competence in your craft.

It also requires goals, courage, determination, discipline and purpose.

But over the years, I’ve come to realize that you need something else. Something more important.

You need to continually take action.

Even when you don’t yet have all the answers. And even when you don’t feel like it.

The Mark of a Successful Freelancer

I attribute much of my success to my ability to take action. For me, taking action is more important than experience, attitude, skill or personality.

I’m not alone here. Virtually every successful (financially and otherwise) person I know is continually taking action.

There’s a sense of urgency about everything they do. Not in a negative, “anxiety disorder” kind of way. Rather, you can sense that these people know what they want. They exude determination and confidence.

And they almost always reach their goals.

I’ve not always been this way. When I was trying to get my business off the ground, I spent a lot of time worrying about things that I now realize are trivial.

I spent a lot of time trying to get my logo just right. My website presentable. My message clean and refined. My portfolio nice and balanced.

In fact, I refused to go out looking for clients until I had all these pieces in place. I wanted everything to be perfect.

Now when I look back, I realize that I was stalling. Partly out of fear of making mistakes. And partly because many of us don’t want to settle for anything less than perfection.

Yet had I taken action when all those pieces were just “good enough,” I could have started making money a lot faster. And left my full-time job a lot sooner.

When you fail to act quickly, even when all the pieces aren’t in place, you lose focus. Inertia sets in.

As the weeks go by, the chances of your succeeding diminish — rapidly! And before you know it, you’ve lost your inner drive and focus.

Are You Stuck in a Rut?

I frequently hear from aspiring freelancers who are stuck in the same rut. Some don’t even realize they’re stalling.

Just the other day I got an email from a budding copywriter who has been working on his business for the last year. He proudly admitted that he was on his second round of logos, company name, business cards and website copy.

He hadn’t landed a single project yet. But he had spent the last 12 months getting everything “just right.” And he still had a few weeks to go before he was ready to prospect for clients.

A Simple Challenge

So what’s the solution? I’ll tell you what I told this copywriter:

If you’re serious about launching a successful business, promise yourself that you’ll do the following:

inventory checklist1) As soon as you finish reading this article, write down three simple and quick steps you can take in the next three days to get you closer to your goal. Pick something you could do immediately, something you can do tomorrow and something you can do the day after.

2) Treat these three tasks as if your life depended on your accomplishing them (this attitude is key!).

These tasks shouldn’t take you long to accomplish. Pick tasks that will give you quick wins, even if they’re small, psychological wins.

For instance, if one of your goals is to leave your job for a freelance career, decide the date by which you want to cut the employment “umbilical cord.” That could be one of your task — making that decision.

Or schedule a lunch appointment with a colleague to investigate potential project opportunities with her company. Or perhaps you can order a domain name for your website.

It doesn’t really matter what tasks you pick, as long as all three help get you closer to your goal.

Why It Works

Don’t underestimate the effect these baby steps will have on your psyche. Taking even the smallest action will start building the momentum you need to help keep you on the right path.

And his initial momentum will give you motivation…which will encourage you to take more action…which will build even greater momentum.

So don’t wait to promote your business until you have a logo, business cards, a great-looking website and an impressive portfolio. Don’t wait until you’re inspired, motivated or have all the answers.

Whether you act now or stall for another year, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s OK. Mistakes are a part of launching any business. Don’t worry about them.

Just get started somewhere right now! And see how quickly you achieve your goals.

In fact, why not add a bit of accountability to the mix and list your three tasks in the comments area below? Tell us what you'll do over the next three days.

You have nothing to lose. If anything, we'll all give you some good encouragement to help you get started.