In last week’s post I talked about my first big speaking engagement. (If you didn’t read that post, I suggest you do so now. Today’s post is a follow-up or continuation of that one).
That invitation to speak came my way out of the blue. It was a lucky break. And when invited to speak, I said yes.
That was my first talk in front of a large crowd – about 700 people, as I recall – and I can’t say it was my best presentation. Actually, it was my worst. But it was good enough to get me invited back to another conference, and then another, and then another.
For a few years I was speaking on an almost monthly basis. My copywriting and consulting business grew out of those events. That is how I met my best prospects, and how I got to make a good first impression. It’s also how I got to meet and network with a lot of smart people in this industry.
OK, now let’s circle back to the day when I was invited to give that first talk. As you will recall from my previous post, that invitation came out of the blue. It was a random event. Unplanned. Unforeseeable. And I had never given a talk in front of that many people before. Nothing even close. I had never even used PowerPoint before.
Imagine if I had said no.
Now imagine if I had kicked myself a couple of weeks’ later and promised myself to say yes the next time.
How long would I have had to wait for such a random set of circumstances to result in that invitation coming my way again?
Ten years? A hundred years? Never?
Maybe some other lucky break would have come my way. Maybe not. Without that invitation, maybe I wouldn’t even be in this business right now.
Here is the moral of the story – and a horribly mixed metaphor – lucky breaks don’t grow on trees. They are rare. Extremely rare.
This means that when they come along you first have to say yes, and you then have to milk them for everything you can.
My career has been built on a lucky break, but it has been built by me. I took the gift that chance presented to me, and then worked incredibly hard, and flew hundreds of thousands of miles, to milk every last drop of business from it.
Talk to a few hundred successful freelancers and entrepreneurs and, if they are honest, they can probably tell you a similar story.
First, they moved and networked within an environment where the chance of a lucky break presenting itself was higher than normal. And they kept their eyes peeled.
Second, when a lucky break came along, they said yes without a moment’s hesitation.
Third, they took maximum advantage of that moment and used it as a springboard to grow their business.
Yes, luck can play a big part in freelance success. But only if you are watching for it, grasp it, and make the most of it.
(I might continue on this theme next week. If I do, I’ll be writing about how to create an environment in which you are more likely to get a lucky break. And maybe about how the first lucky break is the hardest…and how the second and third come a little easier.)
NOTE: I did write a third post in this series.You can find it here.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…