Happy New Year! I hope you and your friends and family enjoyed a lovely holiday break! I spent the holidays with some of my favorite people and I was sad when everyone returned home. But, I’m eager to take on the challenges of 2018! I’m sure by this point someone has already asked you about your New Year’s resolutions.
I’m not a New Year's resolution kind of gal. That’s probably because I’m already very goal oriented and I keep tabs on the direction I want to move in at all times. When the new year rolls around, there really aren’t any resolutions to make since I’m already working on a plan to achieve certain targets or keep pace in other areas.
But, while I’m not making any resolutions, there are five key takeaways I’d like to share. These are philosophies that I try to keep in mind all year long to keep me centered and motivated.
If you make one New Year's resolution, let it be this one: Be there for people. Everyone needs positive reinforcement. One of my ongoing goals is to be there for people whenever they need me. That goes for family and friends but it also goes for the editorial community. If I can offer some advice, make a connection, or be a sounding board for someone in the business, I’ll do it. We all achieve more when we’ve got the power of numbers behind us. Who will you be there for in 2018?
Being there for your friends, family, and community isn’t enough. To really make an impact, you have to be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. That may mean critiquing a colleague’s work for real. You may need to point out the project’s flaws and how your colleague can strengthen his or her work. The same goes for family members. If someone is walking down a path that concerns you, it’s time to have a frank discussion. Will your concerns and kindness always be welcome? Um. No. But, if you love and respect your friends, family, and colleagues, you owe it to them to be real and honest. Otherwise, what’s the point of the relationship? Be the person who will be honest when it really counts.
It took me years to figure this one out. It’s awesome to have goals, dreams, and aspirations but never be afraid to change your mind. You aren’t locked in to anything. Life is like a river. It can meander and take you in directions you didn’t think possible. There is no shame in changing your mind when your game plan no longer feels relevant. Just wipe the slate clean. Set a new goal and break it down into achievable steps. You can be sad that something didn’t work out but don’t fixate on it. Move on and see what else the world has in store.
My husband says this all the time and it’s absolutely true. You don’t have to be the most talented freelancer out there in order to be wildly successful. Honestly. I’m not the smartest person in the world. I’m not the most fantastic writer you’ll ever meet. I don’t have all the skills I wish I had. I know that I absolutely cannot outrun the bear. But, luckily, I don’t have to. Instead, all I need to do is outrun a whole bunch of other freelancers. I can do that by working harder than they do, being more reliable than they are, treating others respect, and referring my clients to other freelancers when I can’t do the job they need done. The longer I freelance—and I’ve been freelancing in one capacity or another since the early 1990s—the more I realize how few really polished freelancers are out there. I’d psych myself out if I got up each morning thinking that I had to outrun the bear. I’m really glad that I don’t even need to be in that race! And neither do you.
I may give you advice here at Full Time to Freelance, but I always try to temper it with this statement: Do what works for you! My game plan might not be right for you, and that’s OK. I’m living life—and setting my freelance agenda—on my own terms. I’m doing what feels right to me and what works for me. I may be a total failure if I tried to implement what works for you. That’s why I try to present a lot of viewpoints on this blog so you can find a few nuggets that really help push you to the next level. But, the key is knowing that you don’t have to adopt anyone’s advice unless it’s useful. I try to live life on my own terms because, as far as I know, we only go around once.
Want to earn six figures? Take advice from a freelancer who does. Andrea M. Rotondo is a project manager with expertise supervising remote editorial teams. She’s also an editor/writer with more than 25 years of experience working with top brands like Ancestry.com, Fodor’s, the National Education Association, and Cruise Critic.