Have you ever had that feeling, as a freelancer, that you don't know where the money for the next month's bills are coming from? Every month, huh? And, whether or not it's the magnetic power of the law of attraction, somehow something always comes up!
It can't possibly be the law of attraction, actually, because if you're afraid of not being able to pay the bills, or worrying about lack - apparently that's the worst possible thing you can do! It's too many negatives! You're supposed to believe in abundance, and be positive!
I have had the great fortune to have some ongoing work over a number of months, where I can rely on a regular income. Small, but beautifully formed, and much appreciated. But as yet, I don't regularly have enough of that work that will cover the bills. As yet. And - yet - miraculously, I have never been overdrawn, and have always paid my bills over the last four years! Yes. Thank you. I applaud myself and take a bow.
Mostly, I've achieved this by juggling. Getting short term, short jobs that can be done fast and pay quickly, to supplement my modest income from regular loger term work. And so far, I haven't had to sell the family jewels. Which is just as well, because there aren't any. I do have a few art deco plates in the loft, though.
And when the longer term, monthly paid jobs run out, I get some more. This is surprisingly laid-back behaviour for a Taurean, security-loving worrier (as was). I used to think I needed a 'proper' salaried job to assuage my anxiety about covering the cost of living. Consequently, I wasted nearly 30 years! You see, I've always wanted to write, but somehow had the mistaken belief that I wouldn't be able to make a living from it. Wrong! It just goes to show that you can do anything you put your mind to, if you really go for it! NLP did a lot to get me into this way of thinking - removing barriers caused by limiting beliefs, thinking positively, persisting and being creative.
The way I started to convince myself that earning my own living was a possibility was by listing all the possible ways I could make money. I had a lovely little hardback book (which I still have), with sections with different coloured pages. I had one section of pages of 'ideas for businesses', one set of pages of 'my skills and talents', one 'moneymaking ideas' - and ways I can monetise my other ideas. It opened up my mind to the range of possibilities. For example, in my skills, etc - I could train, coach, write (with a whole section on all the different things I could write). In my moneymaking ideas list, I could sell any e-books I'd written, or even sell my vast collection of books at a car boot sale if I wanted to!
From that, I started to break down the steps it would take to achieve any of those ideas - like - promoting my business - different ways to let people know what I was doing. People to approach, ways to approach them - word of mouth, newspaper advertising, flyers, referrals.
Pretty soon, I was on fire! And in fact, it seemed there was nothing to stop me and everything to gain by just 'going for it'!
Best thing I ever did. So, if you have hopes and wishes or dreams, turn them into aims and goals by writing a plan of action - and taking action!
A kick up the backside
Is it too hot to work? You know those temperature restrictions - probably something to do with the declaration of human rights - where, if it gets above or below a certain temperature in your workplace, you can revolt?
Well, I've been revolting for quite some time now.
I have complained to my boss (that's me) and threatened to walk out. Except it's hotter outside. And the sunshine glares on my laptop screen, making it uncomfortable. Also, this thunderous weather has given me two migraines within a week. That's used up my allocation for about three years' worth of migraines, all within a few days.
It's been the hottest summer in recent history. And it's barely summer.
Yes - there are electric fans. We've got one in the bedroom, where it stays because it's too stuffy. What with six of us sharing a bed. Two humans, two Jack Russells, and two cats take it is turns to have a shift of sleeping on or in the bed. We're overlooked by neighbours opposite, so we can't exactly draw back the curtains to let any air in, even though the little windows are open as far as they can go. Which isn't all that far.
So, anyway. How to motivate oneself for work. Especially when you're a self-employed freelancer.
Number one - don't get distracted by your website and feel the urge to write a blog when you should be finishing off your novel. Except it's editing - not the creative stuff! And that's not very inspiring.
Basically, people are motivated by pain or pleasure. The trick is to identify what works for you.
Do you like to work for rewards - the pleasure? E.g. - finish this work and you'll get satisfaction, money, fame...
Or are you motivated more by the threat of punishment - pain? E.g. - if you don't finish this work, you'll get the sack, not be paid, starve, lose your house...
Once you know if you're the kind of person who is motivated more TOWARDS good things (promises), or AWAY from bad things (threats) - you can use this knowledge to give yourself the kick up the a$$ you might need.
Ready for the next tip? OK. So - think of your values. What do you value in life? What's important to you? Use these as leverage to motivate yourself.
Let's pre-empt your responses. Here are some things you might value in life. Can you use them to motivate yourself to buckle down, even in the heat?
Having leisure time / spending time with family or partner.
OK - so - do your work, and then you can have some well-deserved leisure time! Reward yourself after a certain number of hours or days, with a certain number of hours or days off. And that doesn't mean 'work for an hour: take a week off'. Try working for two hours, then taking a 15 minute break. Or whatever works for you.
Use your knowledge of your 'towards' or 'away' motivation to persuade yourself to work enough to 'go for' working for 7 hours so you can take that time off this evening, or threaten yourself that if you don't work now, you'll have to lock yourself away for a week and never see your kids...
Use that pain or pleasure - stick or carrot - approach to work to your best advantage.
Just think of the £ and $ signs you're ringing up with every hour you work! If you're into spreadsheets and numbers (which I'm not), use a timesheet. Calculate your productivity in terms of money - like cost per hour. Decide that today you're going to earn £200 - and work to reach that. Or if you're paid on a project basis (rather than hourly rate) break down the whole into proportionate tasks, and see how much you'll earn if you work your way through those tasks.
If you're a 'towards' person, you'll be motivated by the money you'll make.
If you're an 'away' person, you'll be motivated by the fear of not having any money - of poverty, being homeless - if you really take it to the extreme!
Make work fun! Play your favourite music (you can use earphones if you share an office), sit in a comfy seat or lounge on the floor or on a cushion. Use those little basketball hoops you can attach to the desk and place it above your bin, so you can throw away rubbish, AND score! If you work with other people - lighten up and start the day with a joke or a chat that makes you smile. Share funny stories through the day (as long as it's in your 'break' time, and you don't get distracted by you-tube for hours)!
Getting serious here, but maybe honesty and integrity are important to you. If you're working for a client, consider them and the duty you have to do a great job for them. Or even if you work for a boss in an organisation- remember that you're being paid for every moment you're there. Wasting time is like stealing from them.
Anyway - I could go on and on - but you get the idea.
The idea is to recognise your motivations, and persuade yourself to work in accordance with them. Press your own buttons!
Let me know how you get on!
Let's face it - I'm a writer. So you'd think I'd write - right? In fact, you'd think I'd have been blogging since the olden days... handwriting a parchment with a plumed quill, flagging down the nearest pigeon and strapping my scrawls to its scaly leg.
Nope. I've been a bit slow on the uptake. I've been writing for other people, of course - ghostwriting novels, autobiographies and scripts. More of that to follow - it's how I've earned my living full-time for the last four years - that and lifecoaching and training. But writing for myself? Directly to people, in my own voice? Without getting paid for it? Nope. Facebook has been the limit of my musings. Or Twitter, with its 140 character limit. And, ironically, I've been ghostwriting other people's blogs instead of my own. Why haven't I been blogging myself silly for the last decade? I think because I saw it as something I hadn't the time for - an indulgence, like an ice-cream. I had a compulsion to make sure that I could pay the bills. And the crazy thing is - I love ice cream! It's an essential pleasure. Sometimes, you've just got to afford yourself that luxury. So, here I go!
But what am I talking about? Blogging isn't even a luxury. These days it's also an essential marketing tool. But although I've been business-like and promoted myself and my services, I've never been big on being 'The Big I Am' and REALLY pushing myself, like those in-your-face American videos, webinars and emails tell you to do. The red font, the exclamation marks (although I am a lover of exclamation marks!), the imperative tone and phrasing... the twenty chances to buy my services through the links periodically dropped into the text - 'BUY NOW! - YES, LINDA, SIGN ME UP - I'D BE A FOOL NOT TO! - I REALLY NEED YOU - YOU ARE THE ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS! - GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!!!!!'
That's just not me. I'm straightforward, honest and always work with integrity. And they're not just words. I am honest to the point of daftness. "Oh, I know I gave an estimate of £200, but I enjoyed it so much it went really quickly. So it didn't take as long as I thought. So here - please take 25% of that back. No - honestly. It was a pleasure. Wait. In fact, it was such a pleasure that I should be paying you! Here - let me give you it all back - and please invoice me for £200!"
Well, maybe I'm exaggerating. Maybe I'm not THAT daft. But you know what I mean.
What I'm saying is - I'm blogging now not for the hard sell. In fact, I'm finding it quite fun. I'll probably do it again.
Reasons to be blogging:
- Express yourself!
- Raise your business profile.
- Improve communications with clients and prospective clients.
- Let people get to know you, your thoughts, your personality.
- Do something different!
That's not a definitive list, of course. If you were paying me to write this blog, I'd be doing research and making erudite comments and giving you soundbites that you can tweet to colleagues. But this is my blog, and it's essentially me and what's on my mind just now.
What you see is what you get. But that's not all there is to me, of course. Or this blogging mullarkey. There's still a lot beneath the surface, and lots to come!
For more professional information and details of my 'proper' work - see: