Now it’s the beginning of 2020. Everybody is going back to work after the holiday season. For many of us, it is still an excellent time to settle down and figure out the new year’s plan.
The goals are great. Goals keep people productive. but other than knowing what to do as a part of our new year’s plan, I believe we should know how to do so that we can still be on track and don’t get lost.
Looking back into 2019, I’ve got 6 reflections on my first year of freelancing and would like to share them with you.
I would definitely put them in my 2020 and hope they are useful to you as well.
Let’s get started right away.
Keep a Regular Life
It’s simple to say.
Get up early, do workout regularly, have a stable and healthy routine.
But it’s hard to do.
Life is so colorful that no one wants to miss it, especially for the young generation. Partying, drinking, watching shows, there are a thousand ways to spend our lives.
Regular life is boring. Who wants to have the same schedule every day? Go to the same places, eat the same food, and sleep at the same time.
No, it’s not true.
What I indeed found out last year is that if you really want to achieve something that you are dreaming all the time, then you should make your life simple and regular.
Get rid of things that you can’t benefit from for your goals and spend time on the core part of your projects.
Physically, regular life can make your body function in a stable way and won’t be disrupted. You don’t spend extra time and energy to readjust your body to a good shape or status.
Mentally, living regularly can help people get rid of their stress because the messier your life is, the more stress you might get.
Tons of stories about those successful people are pointing out that maintaining a regular life is one of the most common things they share.
They tend to get up early, exercise a lot, and have a routine and stick with it for a long time.
I didn’t know what’s the benefit of a regular life until I started to try to get up early and sleep early last year. I felt that I’ve got extra time for each day, and it just made me more confident and feel good about myself.
A disciplined life is the first stone to your success. It might take some time for you to see the benefit of being simple and living regularly, but why not give it a try?
It costs you nothing.
Focus on What You Do, Not Others
You might hear lots of stories about how others become successful and make a lot of money. And to be honest, you might envy them but also look down on what they are doing.
The latest example that I heard is that one of my friends is so jealous that his friend is doing very well in the stock market and become rich.
You are like, “Why are they doing so good on that? ”
And you are thinking: “Should I give up my dream and do what they do? I can do as good as they do.”
Don’t think like that. It’s not useful to make you better at all.
Success doesn’t come as easy as it seems. Every victory comes from some extent of sacrifice.
If you enjoy what you do, then you should work hard and be patient. It’s grateful to have a period to work without external attention because that’s the time you can focus on what you do and do it hard.
If you really want to take another’s path, fine. I suggest you spend a portion of your time to do some real research (talk to people or read relevant books and papers) to learn a bit more. And you can also put some money to do some experiments to see if your new idea works for you.
If you fail, that’s fine. You admit you are not the guy and go back to work.
After all, one thing you should do is to wish them the best and keep doing your own stuff.
Offer Over-expectation Services
People like good services, but you are not the only one who can offer a “good” service in this competitive world.
What you can WOW your clients are the moment that they feel that you overly serve them. Beyond that point, they’ll come back to you again and again.
So what does an over-expectation service look like? How do you know that what you offer indeed beyond people’s expectations?
Average services are normal ones, which could barely get the job done, no more or less. You finish what your clients want you to do without too much thinking and inputting additional values from your side.
But people who can offer over-expectation services think twice before starting the job. They talk to the clients and try to pull out the actual needs of them.
After an intricating analysis, they think hard to come up with ideas that can fulfill the needs. It’s not just finishing their job. It’s perfecting it.
Be Responsive and Reachable
Be responsive even if you are going to say no to others.
It’s how you show your respect to others, and you can save time and get rid of uncertainty for both sides.
You probably don’t want others to call you “that guy who doesn’t answer the phone” or “the guy who doesn’t reply emails.”
Words spread faster than you think. Your clients might cancel your deal if they hear that you are not a responsive person, which means you are not easy to work with.
So stay alert to your email and phone, reply anyway even though it’s hard from your side. If you could not respond in a reasonable period, set up an automatic notice to let people know that you are busy or away from the Internet.
Open to Opportunities
This is one of the most valuable reflections that I got in 2019.
You never know what could happen after you say YES.
I don’t mean you can say YES to a house building project as only a photographer. What I meant is that you can try to say yes to the opportunities that are close to what you do or a little beyond your capability.
People might be afraid of doing so, which is understandable. Because people are so scared of making mistakes and hurting others. So it’s safe to stay in our comfort zone and always make things that we are familiar with.
But if we keep repeating what we always do, we can’t make progress, and we might lose our existed job as freelancers because others might do more than you can.
To be confident to say YES to those new opportunities, there are a few things that we need.
First, do some branding or marketing for yourself. Portrait yourself as a good person and a collaborator.
Second, always keep learning and spend time to accumulate useful learning resources, no matter it’s online courses, offline workshops, or even YouTube videos. It’s essential and practical because you know where to find solutions to solve new problems that you’ve never met before.
The Internet is incredible.
Third, dare to fail. Trying new things comes at a risk, admit that and keep going when something doesn’t work out.
Active to Reach Out
Following the last part, opportunities won’t always come to you. You need to reach out to them.
As a filmmaker, I can reach out to foundations, companies, producers, media outlets, or even my peers. The more I pitch, the higher the chance that I could get funded.
No matter what you do, you can always find your target clients/audience/consumer. Talk to them, show up in their gatherings and ask if there is anything you can do for them.
Rejections are the №1 typical thing you will encounter when you pitch to others. Don’t blame yourself or think that you’re not good.
The judging process is somehow a black box. There are so many intangible factors in deciding the final results. Sometimes you are just not lucky enough, it’s true.
Luckily, there are oceans of opportunities out there in the wild.
Don’t be shy, put your name out there and show people what you can do, they will see you if you keep trying.
It’s like a video game, the more you try, the better you play. I don’t believe there is any shortcut for freelancers or anyone to build up their career.
If there is any, then I believe it is the longest one: work hard and learn hard.