How to catch your first lucky break as a freelancer. And your second. And your third.

lucky freelancerThis is the third in a series of three posts, all on the topic of how a lucky break or two can accelerate the growth and success of your business. (Post 1 and post 2.)

If you feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of luck playing a part in your business success, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The story we all tell ourselves – the accepted narrative – is that successful people make their own luck. That’s what makes them successful.

In part, that’s true. And this post is largely about how to make your own luck. But, as I mentioned in the first post in this series, sometimes you are just plain lucky. Something unplanned for and unexpected just comes your way at exactly the right time.

Does business success depend on being lucky? No. Can you blame a lack of success on the absence of being lucky? No. One way or another, you’ll get the level of success you deserve. But getting a lucky break or two certainly helps.

How to get that first lucky break.

In the first post in this series I talked about how I received a random, unexpected phone call that resulted in my first major speaking engagement.

That was my first lucky break, and it made a huge difference to my freelance business.

But while I was certainly lucky that day, I had also worked hard to become lucky. That guy could have called any one of dozens of people to take his place as a speaker, but he called me. How come? Because I had prepared the ground.

I was already doing some writing work for him and his business partner. I was in constant contact with them. I knew their business and they knew mine. I knew their ambitions and they knew mine.

So while I was lucky that he decided to duck out of speaking and find a replacement, the fact that it was me he called came down to the fact that I had been busy creating a fertile environment in which good things were likely to happen. He knew I might be interested. And he wanted to give me the chance, because he knew it would help me, and he liked me.

In other words, if you want to get lucky, do some serious networking with people who are in a position to help you. You may not know what that help might be, or when it might happen, or even whether it will happen at all. But having a strong professional network shifts the odds in your favor.

As a freelancer, this means getting out of your “working from home” bubble. It means being social and communicative. It means writing to people and phoning people. And I don’t mean that you should be prospecting. This isn’t about looking for or asking for work. It’s about building a powerful network of other business people. It’s about getting connected and making friends.

And the killer tip – which almost everyone will ignore, for their own reasons – is that the best way to build a powerful network is to meet with people face to face. One meeting over coffee is worth a million tweets or updates.

How your second and third lucky breaks come easier…

In my case, my second lucky break came when I got my book, Net Words, published by McGraw-Hill. I wrote about how this happened in my first post in the series.

But here’s the thing. I would never have had dinner with that guy, or heard about his publisher, if I hadn’t received my first lucky break. We were both speakers at an event when we headed out for that dinner.

Other lucky breaks followed, one leading to another.

How come? Because I used my first lucky break to meet a lot of other people in the industry, and they became part of my network.

Easy for me to say, right?

You might be thinking that it’s easy for someone who is successful to build a powerful network.

Think that, and you’re missing the point entirely. When I prepared for and got that first lucky break I was nowhere. I had decided to become an online copywriter, but on the day I stood up to speak at that first event I had no clients, no website, no business cards and no samples. I began that day from a standing start.

Or you might be thinking that networking is easy only for people who are naturally social. Not true. I’m 90% hermit. I don’t like to travel. I don’t even like to drive downtown.

It all comes down to this. If you want a lucky break or two – and you do – then you have to work hard to stack the odds. And that means getting out there and building a network.

So get out there and prepare the ground for luck to happen.

It will make a huge difference to your business.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

2 thoughts on “How to catch your first lucky break as a freelancer. And your second. And your third.”

  1. Good one, Nick. Meeting other business people also helps with the freelancer’s self-image and confidence. I belong to a couple of networking groups, one in my own city and one in a nearby larger city. I can’t tell you how valuable it has been for me to be in these groups. Every week I have to introduce myself. The repetition of your elevator speech, modified slightly each time, keeps it fresh and easy. I give out leads to other folks and I see that I am valuable to others as a resource. Occasionally, I speak. And I just make friends with people who are (in my view) much more successful. They often share business tips as well. And, of course, I get clients. I have to say, even if I didn’t get clients, I would still go for the friendships, getting out of the house, and confidence building.


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