1. Accepting a small role in someone else’s success, rather than creating big wins of your own.
Freelancers, the good ones, often suffer from what I call “the sickness”.
Which means they posses an unstoppable drive to conquer a complex skill such as direct response copywriting, and then hand it over to clients for a pittance, rather than create their own offers and cash in big.
There’s a psychological reason for this (too involved to get into here) that is essential to being a successful freelancer.
Once you recognize it, it is much easier to manage and use to your advantage. However, ignoring this trait (out of fear or ignorance) is why so many talented freelancers end up bitter, broke or disappearing from the scene altogether.
2. Letting fear and the “going rate” determine your pricing.
Most freelancers set their prices on a whim, based on the vague notion that there is a “going rate” for their service in the marketplace.
Or worse, settling on a number they are comfortable saying.
They often get stuck in those prices, however low, for fear that their clients will balk at an increase.
This cycle is difficult to break out of because their “happy” clients (who know they are underpaying) often refer them to their colleagues based on their “fair” price. Freelancers caught in this “bargain vendor” cycle of poverty allow fear of loss to rule their business.
The only way to make more is to work more hours. Which leads to burn out and ultimately, total loss of your business, and potentially your health and sanity. Not to mention, your family. And your friends. And your dog may even secretly wish you’d forget him at the park.
Instead, spend a minute figuring out what YOU want to earn, then reverse engineering what it would take to earn that amount. I assure you there are others earning that (and more).
Are they really that much more talented than you? Or experienced than you? Or did they just learn to say bigger numbers?
3. Sharing other people’s content, rather than creating your own.
If you want to stay a “vendor” forever, and never earn expert money and respect in your industry, then continue sharing other people’s content instead of creating your own.
“C’mon, Kev, how is sharing other people’s stuff so bad?”
Here’s why… linking to some gurus article or product or post, instead of contributing something real based on our own experience, can give you a false sense of authority.
You FEEL like you’re contributing value when you’re really just “me too-ing.”
And worse than numbing against your growth, constantly posting other people’s stuff creates a silent reputation that you are a voyeur, and not a player.
Creating relevant, original content has never been easier than it is today. You’re probably sitting on reams of it right now.
When you finally buy in to your own expertise, then everyone else can follow.
4. Ignoring your voice in the belief that “everything worth teaching has already been taught.”
I hear this all the time from freelancers, “What’s the point of teaching someone how I do _____ when the legendary __________ covered it so well 20 years ago?”
The point is that YOU are someone’s guru in waiting. And that someone will “get” the lesson more powerfully from you than from anyone else who’s ever taught it.
Why are people still writing books about WWII or making movies about boxing or gangsters or witty, attractive people falling in love (even though they seems SO wrong for each other at first)?
Because there will always be an audience for new content (and shitty romantic comedies). And no one else will tell the story exactly like YOU will.
5. Mistaking any advice as “good advice.”
Most freelancers work alone every day, in a tiny home office, or in the corner table at Starbucks, and believe that belonging to a free Facebook group (or 20) means they are “plugged in” to the business.
I’m not knocking marketing communities.
Heck, I run one of the most active ones you’ll find. However, if we’re being honest here… do you believe you are using the communities you belong to as opportunity to attract leads, develop your voice, and grow your reputation? Or is it a crutch?
In a harried world where we just want some answers, it’s easy to mistake any advice as “good advice”.
Yet, the reality is, even the best advice is lost on us when we’re not committed to results.
It’s a simple law of nature: We only get back what we’re willing to put in.
So, if you’re done waiting around for permission to take your place in your industry.
If you’re done shining spotlights on your favorite guru and want to feel the warmth of that light for yourself.
If you’re done feeling like you’re being taken advantage of simply because you haven’t learned how to get paid what you’re worth…
Whatever you do, though… decide that today is the day you quit following and look for ways to lead.
If you’ve got the goods, go get your due.
I’m rooting for you.