Welcome to my first official day! My journey blogging my way through Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success starts here. It only took two-and-a-half months to get here, but oh man! Was it worth it!
In my earlier post, I introduced and outlined my plan to study the email course and blog about it.
Back when I first received it in my inbox, I spent four days reading the content on my smartphone. I didn’t take notes that time; I just read. By saving the analytical stuff for later, I opened myself up to the process and the story and behind it.
By the second go-round, I felt ready to dissect it. I made a list of the lessons’ assigned numbers and names. Then, proceeded to expose the inner workings of the first three lessons.
It occurred to me that Lessons 1-3 are a type of prerequisite to the rest of the course. They work together as a trinity. These first three lessons emphasize the importance of remaining focused on your business while laying down a solid foundation of support, motivating factors, and goals.
I haven’t asked Gina about it, but they could be the three components making up the solid foundation on which her growing, multi-faceted, and extremely profitable business is built. All three lessons each contain a motivational tool.
Each lesson calls the reader to action. In Lesson 1, we’re asked to think about, and identity, our why, or reason for starting a freelance business, write it down and reflect on it often. In Lesson 2, we’re taught to goal-set on a timeline to promote focus and a bigger-picture mentality as a business owner. We’re asked to create a list of friends willing to keep you accountable. And celebrate you and your achievements. Consider joining FB Groups and Mastermind.
Lesson 1: Determine Your Why
30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success wastes no time establishing the importance of locking your focus in on your new freelance business. Focus is incredibly important. Even still, we can become discouraged when things don’t seem to be going our way. The first three lessons of the course seem to be three key components of a much larger lesson. They are the only lessons in the entire course specifically dedicated to helping you establish motivational tools that will be there when you need them.
Now, you have a network of people who have your back. They will remind you of all your wins when you’re down. Running a business can be stressful so having a strong foundation is key to long-term success.
Motivational factors are powerful tools that can set a train back on course. They remind us of what’s most important to us in our lives. Then, we are more likely to prioritize the needs of others before our own. By restoring the big-picture mentality, our focus will shift back to tending to the new business.
For me, there are several reasons I’m building my business. Mostly, I’m tired. I see the stresses on my kids’ faces. I can’t hide much from my two teens, especially. I feel the tinge of pain in my gut when we pull up to McDonald’s. While the other kids choose Happy Meals, my teens order $1 cheeseburgers because they think I can’t afford to feed them proper meals.
I understand how they feel because I feel it, too. I don’t ever want to feel that way again.
My family, all seven of them, they’re my why.
Lesson 2: Creating Income Goals
Set your expectations high for what you want this business to be. Doing this early on, before you ever make a cent, sets a tone for your business. Don’t be afraid to expect a lot out of your venture. Steep goals are good for moving a business further along the path.
Gina says we should all have S. M. A. R. T. goals:
I have all sorts of goals. There’s so many! I’m going to start tracking them on a spreadsheet.
Set short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals:
Short-term 0-6 mo
• Get published in The New Yorker 5/2016
• Land first steady and regular client 1/2016
• Website 1/2016 $99
• Start UoP 1/2016 $1,700
Intermediate 6 mos-2 yrs
• Write own course to teach in classroom setting 11/2016
• Make enough money to cover all monthly expenses $3,000 8/2016
• Pay off truck on or before Valentines Day $5,000 2/2017
• Finish UoP degree in IT 6/2017
Long-term 2 yrs
• Travel to Spain $10K 2018
• Surprise my kids w/college educations 2020
• Buy a house 2021
In completing this portion, I found out that I have many, many income goals. It’s certainly more than I ever thought I had. By writing goals down, you’re writing them into existence and setting them into motion, this leaves room in the ole noggin for more.
Income goals should include the specific purpose for money. Focus is key to building a successful business. By giving the dollar amount a purpose, you know that you know the purpose for which you’re working.
Here are a few:
• Make $1,000 12/2015 Christmas Fund 2015
• Make $1,700 1/2016 Tuition @ University of Phoenix
• Make $3,000 8/2016 How much it would take to adequately meet my monthly expenses
• Make $8,400 11/2016 Average monthly salary in 2011
Create Plan for Meeting Goals
Create a spreadsheet and list all of your goals, their costs, and their due dates. Place Income Goals on a second tab, include anticipated income, and also add their due dates. Open a savings account specifically for this. Once you’ve plugged in all goals, due dates, and dollar amounts into both spreadsheets, run a total of the column with the sums. Do this for both.
Make weekly deposits into the new savings account. The amounts do not matter. The point is that a step forward is a step in the right direction. Update the spreadsheet with goals. Reflect the deposit into the Goal Account.
Review the status quarterly and make adjustments where needed, but try your best to honor your due dates. Set up reminders on your smartphone.
I’ll work on creating one in Google Drive. Once I finish it, I’ll post the link to it here.
Lesson 3: Surround Yourself with Support
As we prepare to jump into the final lesson in (what I’ve decided to call) The Motivational Trifecta portion of the course, I’m comforted by the fact that I can always come back here, to Day 1, and remember my first day blogging through the course with fond nostalgia.
Freelance writing is by no means an easy field to get in. Every day, we face rejection and are told, “Your work is crap!” Rejection can be hard on those who are brand new to this field. For some, it can be a turbulent experience.
4 Ways to Build a Support Network
1. Recruiting Your Supportive Friends
Name three friends who are like-minded:
• Billie Jo
• Mary Ann
Recruit a short list of friends or family that will support your goals. Ask them to be your sounding board when things get rough, celebrate your wins w/you, and keep you accountable when you get lazy!
If you’re married, discuss the importance of new business to the family. Ask them to be a champion of you and your career.
If not married, choose someone to be your accountability partner, share your goals with him or her, and your plan for meeting with them regularly. Ask them to be your #1 supporter.
Private Facebook Groups/Forums
Search Facebook for groups of people who are like-minded. Make Internet friends who work hard to make things happen.
Gain access to this private Facebook group with the purchase of the course.
4. Join Mastermind Group
Since I first saw this word two-and-a-half months ago, I’ve wondered how a Website with a name like “Mastermind” would look.
I should begin by telling you it’s not a traditional social media thing. It is a concept coined by Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich. There is no website, nothing to join or add.
Mastermind groups are born within other networking resources, such as Facebook groups. Usually, there will be a group of 4 who share a common interest. All of them have to commit to participating and dedicate 60 minutes/week to a Google Hangouts chat session.
You’ve just read about my journey through (what I call) The Motivational Trifecta portion, or Lessons 1-3, of Gina Horkey’s email course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. Personally, the three lessons work wonderfully together. Readers can mix around aspects of the course, and the lessons would hold true. They read like one long, but interesting, lesson.
Before doing anything, lock your focus in on what you want from your freelance business. All three lessons mention the importance of focusing in on your high expectations for your business. Focus is the most important of all academic virtues. Once it’s lost, it can be difficult to get back.
They designed Lesson 1 with this in mind. Your why can and will shift your focus back to what’s important.
While writing about Lesson 2, I realized that, although the material harps on the importance of setting and working toward goals, it did not provide students with any information about how to meet those goals.
I put together a list of instructions someone could use to build their goal-tracking spreadsheet. I’ll work on building one and will share it in Google Drive as soon as I get a chance. I’ll post the link right here when it’s done.
It’s not enough to own a list of things you’d like to do and have one day. Faith alone without action is dead. Keep your goals alive by logging them into the spreadsheet(s) as they pop in your head. Then, log weekly deposits in also. Remember, even if you only stash away $5, it’s the action that matters. It takes a mature person to stick to an agreed upon plan.
Lesson 3 detailed ways we freelance writers build our support system using only the friends we already have. I’ve always been one to work better alone than in a group setting. However, after completing The Motivational Trifecta, I feel like I developed a support system.
Also, Mastermind groups seem neat! If you happen to hear of anyone looking for an additional member, writer, or someone with a medical background, please add me!
Alas, The Motivational Trifecta has come to an end. Join me tomorrow when I continue my journey through My Sweet November.