Monday Spark: Perform at a higher level by connecting with other freelancers.

I’m at a conference right now, preparing to give a full day of presentations.

I’m surrounded by dozens of freelancers, busy talking with each other about their lives, their work and their hopes for the future.

Some are meeting each other for the first time. Others are catching up with people they have met before.

And all of these people are creating for themselves an advantage over freelancers who stay at home. They are not marketing themselves. Nor are they picking up new clients. But what they are doing is invaluable. They are creating relationships with other people who also work for themselves, and spend most of their time at their desks at home.

Why is this important?

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Get in the driver’s seat of your freelance business, or fail [VIDEO]

freelance business controlMost freelancers fail to achieve the level of success they deserve simply because they don’t take control of their own freelance business.

They follow the old model of being in the “service” of their clients. They take a subservient role, feeling grateful for every crumb of work that comes their way. In fee negotiations, they cede power to their clients, and buckle under when pressured to charge less.

The new and better model is to be the freelancer who sits firmly in the driver’s seat.

This freelancer has a plan for his or her freelance business. She sets goals and chooses her clients carefully. She markets herself in a way that associates a high level of value with her business.

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Sometimes you need more than just a second monitor. You need a floor.

documents arranged on floor

I used to work with a single monitor. Then I discovered my productivity made a big leap by adding a second monitor.

And now I have discovered the essential benefits of a large floor.

documents arranged on floor

I am currently working on two big projects, one of which requires putting together a large body of existing content and formatting it into a cohesive whole.

I tried doing this on my two monitors. But I made slow and miserable progress.

Then I decided to print everything out, almost 300 pages of it, and lay it out on the floor under a number of different chapter or section headings.

From the moment I did that, everything changed.

How come? Because I could SEE the whole picture. I could see everything at once – the sections, how much content was under each, and so on.

Also, something changes when you are walking around, looking at each pile of paper. The physical act of walking, of bending down to move a page from one pile to another, makes a difference.

Hard to explain. Perhaps the closest I have come to this kind of revelation is when I first started using mind maps. With a mind map, you can see the entire structure of the full project. And as anyone who uses mind maps can tell you, mind mapping actually changes how you brain works. You perceive things differently. You see and understand connections and structures in a whole new way.

My use of the floor had the same effect on me.

For this project, it was absolutely the right move to make. I was able to work faster and smarter. A barrier had been taken down. A struggle was overcome.

Floors aren’t exactly high-tech. But I think next time I am working on a multi-section project I’ll do the same.

In fact, I think I’ll use the floor for much smaller projects too.

If you want to see something in its entirety, even when relatively unformed, I suspect it’s hard to beat using a printer and some bare floor space.

If you have had the same or similar experiences, let me know.

Note: If you are working on large writing projects, be sure to check out my writing productivity guide, Writing Rituals.