Being an entrepreneur or freelancer means you’re different from most people. You know have something valuable to add to the world and you’re prepared to do what it takes, even if that means being uncomfortable 95% of the time.
As a business coach for creative professionals, I know first-hand that doing what it takes is a pretty tall order. Not only do you have to take care of the day-to-day stuff, such as new business development, client and project management, and marketing, you also need to make your BIG ideas – the ones that will move you closer to your goals and build your business – happen.
The problem with big ideas is this: they’re really hard! They require us to be OK with how little we know, put in countless hours learning what we need to know, and still risk landing on our faces at the end of the day. Is it any wonder we’re sometimes happier working IN our business (the day-to-day) rather than ON it (blazing trails)?
But no one said blazing trails was going to be easy and if you’re going to be in this game, you may as well go for glory. So today, I’d like to share 6 strategies that help me forge ahead on the big ideas. I hope they help you too.
1) Get your thoughts out of your head
The reason our big ideas often don’t amount to anything is we get overwhelmed and psyche ourselves out before we even start. The trick to getting things done is getting them out of our head and breaking big ideas down into baby steps. If you haven’t tried the Mind Map technique, try it out. It’s brilliant for visual types.
Simply take a piece of paper and write your goal, e.g. Your Business Name, at the center. As thoughts come to mind, draw branches from the central point and write them down (in as few words as possible). You can create sub-branches for additional thoughts/action items.
Your first draft will probably be all over the place, so review, refine and consolidate your ideas. Try and use as few words as possible, so it’s easy to take in at a glance. Now, because you’re visual, and you like things to look pretty, create a more aesthetically pleasing version that you can easily update on-line. I use Coggle.
2) Declare your 90-day goal
Embracing the 90-day goal has been a game changer for me. It’s long enough to complete a pretty sizeable project, but short enough to maintain a sense of urgency and force you to take consistent action. Pick a project from your mind map and make that your 90-day goal.
3) Make a plan
Hoping for success isn’t enough. You’ve got to take determined action. Make a plan for how you’re going to execute your idea and do a little every day. If you have a spare hour, resist the urge to answer emails and work on your project. You’ll be amazed at how those hours add up.
4) Invest in resources and support to help you reach your goal
No one was born knowing how to write a book, create a product or market their business, it’s something they learned and eventually became great at. Be OK with not knowing what you don’t know and invest in programs, courses or coaching that will teach you those skills. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of heartache and get better results in less time.
5) Ask others to hold you accountable
When we state our intentions out loud, we’re much more likely to make things happen. Join a mastermind, join, an accountability circle, or create your own. The only necessary criteria are your group should include like-minded professionals, you should meet or speak regularly (ideally, weekly) and you are all committed to helping one another grow. I owe much to my accountability group and couldn’t do without them.
6) Keep going
I know I’m using a lot of Anthony Robbins quotes today, but he seems to be summing up all my thoughts perfectly! This one keeps me going when I start feeling sorry for myself. Find one that works for you, tape it to your computer and keep on keeping on.
If you have BIG ideas, but lack the structure, focus and exact steps you need to make them happen, I have a free-gift for you. Download my free guide “How to Find High-Quality Clients & Get Paid What You're Worth” and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today!
Justine Clay has been helping freelance creative talent build thriving careers for more than 15 years. She began her career in creative representation and, in 2010 Justine launched her coaching business.
Working with freelance creative professionals and entrepreneurs of all types, Justine teaches her clients how to position, market and profit from their creative expertise through one-on-one coaching, her Creative Business Bootcamp on-line course, talks and workshops.