It’s not always easy being upbeat on demand. It may even feel a little fake. But…

Upbeat group showing forced positivity

Whether I’m speaking on a stage, giving a live webinar or producing video-based training materials, I often encounter the same criticism…

“Nick, you don’t sound upbeat enough!”

And here’s a quote from a review for one of my courses:

“Lots of good stuff worth thinking about. I did find Nicks voice a bit ‘sleep inducing’ but otherwise clear. Thanks.”

Ouch. That’s not good. Feedback like that I take seriously.

In fact, before recording a lesson or lecture, I usually go through a series of physical, voice and mental exercises… all designed to give me a little more of an upbeat feel when I speak.

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Successful people don’t dabble.

don't dabble, be an expertGenerally, I’m not a big fan of dissecting what “successful people” do.

The promise implicit in “doing what they do” is that you’ll become successful too.

I think the road to success, however you choose to define it, is more complicated than that. A path taken by one person may not be the right path for you.

So let me qualify my headline by saying, “When I find myself dabbling, it’s a sure sign I’ve wandered off my own path to success.”

In other words, this is what’s true for me. It may or may not be true for you. (But I suspect it might be.)

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Self-respect is a cornerstone of freelance success.

Self-respect and looking good.The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-respect as:

1: a proper respect for oneself as a human being
2: regard for one’s own standing or position

I come across the term myself most often when I’m about to set off on some chore or other and my wife asks, “Are you going out like that? You should have more self-respect.”

She has a point. I’m sometimes a very scruffy dresser, particularly at weekends. My most comfortable clothes and shoes are generally old. Sometimes very old.

Last year a young man at a local store stopped scanning my groceries half way through, just to check that I had enough money to pay for them. I’m guessing it was because, judging by my scruffy weekend clothes, he thought I was down to my last few dollars.

That said, I don’t make the same impression professionally.

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What would happen if you improved on everything you did by a factor of 10?

a ten times iimprovementLet me give you an example.

Let’s say you’re a freelance writer, focusing on Business-to-Business clients, and want to create a free report to offer your website visitors when they sign up for your newsletter.

We’ll call your report, “The 7 Secrets to Converting Prospects into Clients”.

You create a short outline. You do some research. Maybe you download a few reports from your competitors’ websites to see how they did it.

You then write the report. Let’s say it’s 14 pages long. You get a cover designed. You’re good to go.

That’s the “factor of 1” version.

Now let’s look at what a “factor of 10” version might look like.

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Take total responsibility for your freelance career.

No excuses for freelancers.The life of a freelancer isn’t always easy.

We have our ups and downs.

Maybe we lose a big client. Or that big prospect we thought was in the bag slips out of our grasp at the last moment.

Meanwhile we’re complaining about all the new freelancers entering the market, and pushing prices down.

Or we’re moaning about how the companies we’d really like to work with don’t seem to be hiring freelancers.

And then there’s that client who wants to renegotiate our fees, downwards.

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Follow your own dreams, not someone else’s. (And be sure it’s an amazing dream.)

Follow your dreams.I have written about this before, but as it’s early in the year I wanted to tackle the subject again.

As the New Year gathers steam, we feel inspired to set new goals, maybe move forward in new directions, and take on fresh and interesting projects.

That’s all good.

But there is a caveat.

Don’t be lured into taking on someone else’s goals, directions and projects. They may be a perfect fit for that person, but not so much for you.

Let me explain.

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