In comments, Philippa Willitts admitted to being such a perfectionist she set a goal to “Make more mistakes.”
I love it! Here’s why:
When you start any endeavor, including freelance writing, you’ll never start if you don’t write and submit. My first two submissions, one to Family Circle and the other to Woman’s Day were rejected with the standard form rejection.
But I’d broken through my own fear of failure and actually completed the process from writing through submission to, in that case rejection. The fact of doing that was way more important than the fact of rejection.
The very same thing is true if you want to bring in clients – you’ve got to find ways to market yourself and if you don’t try something, even if it doesn’t work the first or fifth time, you won’t have clients respond.
It’s hard to get worse at something you practice. Think about it – the only way you’ll get better at writing and better at selling your writing is if you write and market, over and over again. When I look at some of my early published writing I’m a bit embarrassed. It isn’t awful, but it sure could have been better, except it couldn’t. It was the best I could do at the time.
When I look back at some of my early marketing efforts it’s the same thing. While practice certainly hasn’t made my marketing perfect, it sure has made it better.
If you’re not failing at least some of the time you’re probably not expanding. Cathy Miller has a great post she calls Solid Business Writing Lessons From Ice Road Truckers. Take a look, both at the message and how she gets there – two lessons for freelance writers.
The blog, Fail Your Way To Success, has some interesting statistics that they got from from the Sales & Marketing Management Institute:
- 87% of all leads are never pursued
- 48% of all sales leads that are pursued are dropped after the first call/meeting
- AND YET… 80% of all sales close after the fifth contact/meeting
Translating that to freelance writing it means that:
- You’ve got a ton of potential markets out there you’ve never tried – how many have you skipped because you were afraid to fail and not trying meant you didn’t fail?
- You’ve allowed a single rejection to stop you from trying that market or the failure of a particular marketing method kept you from ever again – probably because you’re unwilling to fail a second time.
- You probably shouldn’t stop trying with a particular market or marketing method until you’ve tried at least five times.
In a very real sense a failure really is an opportunity to learn. Sure it doesn’t feel that way but you’ll never ever know what you can achieve if you aren’t willing to risk making mistakes, getting egg all over your face (although that is usually your perception, not the world’s) and failing.
What risk, what mistake are you willing to allow yourself today?