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.
In fact, if you put a group of freelancers together in a bar, and kept them lubricated with beer, you could listen to them moan and complain all night.
And that’s OK. Pour some beer down a group of people from any profession and they’ll find plenty to moan about.
But what isn’t OK is when that negative, moaning attitude becomes a permanent mindset.
Occasionally I’ll come across a freelancer who does very little other than moan. Worse still, they get into the blame game. Everything bad happening to their freelance career can be traced to someone or something else.
It’s the economy. It’s cheap clients. It’s an apparent absence of good work.
And soon they descend into a state of self-pity and misery.
That becomes their permanent state of mind.
And when you are immersed in the negative, and blaming outside forces for everything that goes wrong…you’re in a place you’ll likely never escape.
Over the years I have found myself going down this slippery slope a few times.
Most recently I was in the middle of a big project with a partner, and then he suddenly pulled out. My investment in the project, for which I never got paid, was well into 5 figures.
After being royally ticked off by what had happened, I got into a serous binge of self-pity.
And that’s when I decided to get serious about the “total responsibility” thing.
The idea is that you take total responsibility for everything that happens.
I lost that five-figure payday? It’s because I didn’t tie the deal down carefully enough before I got started. And that’s the truth of it.
I lost a long standing client? Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention to what they needed from me. Maybe I took my eye off the ball. And hey, sometimes you lose a client for reasons way outside your control. It happens.
Or I could moan about how many newer copywriters are charging peanuts and putting downward pressure on my own prices. Moan about it? No thanks. I’ll just work harder at offering a level of value that attracts higher fees.
The point is, if you want to do well as a freelancer, you need to take total responsibility for everything that’s happening.
No moaning. No blaming.
When you take total responsibility, you’re in control. You’re no longer a victim of circumstances and outside forces. You’re no longer passively waiting for the next bad thing to happen.
When you take responsibility, you’re in the driver’s seat. You are the boss of your own future and destiny.
Does this mean you can’t have a few beers and moan with your buddies from time to time?
Sure you can. Have a moan fest once a quarter. But for entertainment purposes only.
And maybe introduce your friends to the concept of total responsibility, and the freedom it brings you.
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