Monday Spark: Find some big, hairy problems to solve.

overcome big problemsAs freelancers we often think about our work process in the following terms:

1. Gonna ask for some work
2. Gonna get a good brief
3. Gonna work on it ‘til the client likes it
4. Gonna send in my invoice

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty drab and soulless process. You’re grabbing any work you can, trying to please the client and then billing for your time.

It’s a way to make a living, but is it enough to bring out the best you can do?

Let’s look at the same process, but through a different set of lenses…

1. Gonna find me a prospective client
2. Gonna ask her to tell me about her biggest, hairiest marketing problem
3. Gonna brainstorm like crazy to ‘til we crack it just right
4. Gonna send in my best and boldest work to get the job done
5. Gonna stop grinning and laughing long enough to send in my invoice

You’re still making your living in the same way, but with a completely different attitude.

Instead of being someone who can write, design or code for a fee, you’re becoming a high-energy problem solver.

Instead of being one of thousands of freelancers who can write, design or code for a fee, you are becoming part of a very small group who are known to use their writing, designing or coding skills to solve big, hairy problems.

You still have the exact same skill set as you did before.

But instead of just waiting for any old work, you’re seeking out challenging, interesting work.

Instead of just waiting for the brief, you’re collaborating, and being creative before you even start writing, designing or coding.

Instead of stopping as soon as the client seems satisfied, you’re pushing yourself to do your very best work.

Instead of counting the hours until you can send in your invoice, you’re so powered-up by the intrinsic reward that comes from doing great work, you have to remind yourself to send in an invoice.

So…what do you want to work on this week? The usual stuff, or some big, hairy problem-solving?

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

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2 thoughts on “Monday Spark: Find some big, hairy problems to solve.

  1. Inspiring post Nick – thanks! There are a lot of marketers around who are touting ways to save time, be more efficient, etc, which is all well and good, but it’s so obvious sometimes that it’s at the expense of doing great work that I find it really off-putting. I appreciate your repeated emphasis on quality and really getting into the creative and gnarly bits of it all.

    • Julie, hi. You make an interesting point. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that the drive to increased productivity might tempt people to sacrifice the quality of their work. I don’t think it has to, but yes, I can see how it might. There is nothing wrong with being productive and efficient, but certainly don’t allow it to undermine the quality of your work.

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