It’s 8:11 a.m. on a Tuesday. I did CrossFit this morning, showered at the gym and then drove to my favorite coffee shop to work.
I have no meetings scheduled for today and I’m current with all my client projects. I have three short bios to write for a client that I’ll get paid $250 each to write.
And I have a few other small tasks to do. But mostly I’m free to spend my time on revenue-generating activities. Things like prospecting, following up on open deals, nurturing clients and my own marketing.
But I don’t feel like doing any of that. Yet, I will.
I know from experience I won’t do as much as I plan to do, but I’ll do something.
And that’s what I want to write about today. Because this is one of the realities of freelancing.
There will be days when you don’t feel like working! (Gasp!). I know it’s shocking, right?
You have what some consider a dream job. You get to set your own hours and work from anywhere you want. But the key word in all of this is “work.” It is work, you know?
And even though I consider myself a hard worker there are days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed or working.
Sometimes I see these copywriting gurus flaunting the “lifestyle” of being a freelancer with big huge smiles strung across their face talking about how they make so much money and work so little hours.
That all feels so fake to me. But who knows, maybe they’re telling the truth. All I know is my own life.
Anyway, back to my topic (you can see I’m avoiding it, right?).
Let’s talk about motivation and doing the things you know you should do even if you don’t want to.
I know I should spend time prospecting today because my goal is to bring in $4,000 this week so I can make payroll on Monday.
(Side note: I’m the only guy on my payroll but I still say “make payroll,” not because I want to sound like a big company but because it reminds me I have a deadline to meet.)
I’m expecting one check for about $1,000 and if I get those bios done I can bill, and hopefully collect the $750 for that.
So really I need to collect about $2,250. Ah, now that doesn’t feel as bad ($4,000 in a week felt a little daunting). And honestly, I feel a little more motivated right now just realizing that!
So yes, [clears throat like an old Professor with a grey beard], “Yes, class the First Key to Staying Motivated as a Freelancer is to break down your big goals into bite-sized chunks.”
Of course, this is something I always know and do. 😉
But seriously, I think this is a good tip.
So now let’s talk about something I actually do have experience with. I’ve been a freelancer for over 5 years now. So I’ve had my fair share of unmotivated days.
What is motivation anyway? I don’t know. If you know, please tell me. I know it’s a word but really, what is it?
I think it’s an emotion. So that’s what we’re going with.
“OK, class,” Professor says as he looks at me like he knows I was lost in thought. “Motivation is a heart issue, not a mental one. And if you want to know the secret to motivation you must get in touch with your heart!”
“Ah, yes, this sounds good. Keep going Professor,” I think to myself.
“If you’re not feeling motivated you need to do and think things that get you to that place of motivation. Remember, you can’t overcome motivation unless you engage your heart. You need to get your heart in gear.”
“So how do I do that?”
“Start by meditating on why you want to do something. Why is it you think you should prospect today?”
“Well, so I can make more money, your excellence.”
“Ah, yes. Material gain. So it’s greed that compels you young sire?”
“No. I’m not greedy. I just want to make enough money so I can afford to pay myself a paycheck on Monday so I can buy food for my young children and diapers and wipes from Costco too, those are like $100 your majesty… oh, and also save for a home.”
“What was that last part lad? You mumbled.”
I looked down at my shoes and said, “Oh, it’s nothing really… I was just saying we would one day very much like to buy a home of our own. Right now we are living in an RV. But it’s a nice RV. It’s heated and has A/C and it doesn’t leak. But a home would be really nice. You know, one day.”
“What kind of home would you like to buy?”
“Well, sir, I would like to buy a home that has enough room for my office. An office that’s lined with books! A place I can go and shut the door behind me so I can think, read and write. I’d also like to have a soaking tub so at the end of the day I can take a nice warm relaxing bath with my wife. We used to have one of these tubs in an old rental house and loved it. And of course enough room for the kids to play… it’s all about the kids really.”
“Ah yes, of course, think of the children. So now how do you feel when you think about that home?”
“I feel, well excited! I want to do whatever it will take to get that home!”
“Even some prospecting?”
“Oh yes, if that means I get a home I could prospect all day! In fact that’s what I’m going to do today. I’ll get what I need to get done for my clients and spend the rest of the day prospecting!”
“Do you see what just happened?”
“Yes. Before I was so blind, but now I see the light. You are most wise Professor. My heart now beats with motivation! I can feel it brining life to my soul. Thank you so much, sir. How will I ever repay you?”
“Just remember to use your powers for good. And show others the way.”