But I did, and they helped me immensely. Here’s how you can implement them too.
Life as a writer is an unpredictable roller coaster.
One day, you might be planning for your next piece of content. And the next, you’ll sign a deal worth several thousands of dollars for a skill you’d never even known existed before.
When I quit my job to become a full-time writer, I thought all I’d ever do was stare at my computer screen and type away. But this couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Over the past nine months as a self-employed creative, I’ve had to learn and nurture so many skills, that I feel I’ve almost become a different person.
If you’re a writer or plan to embark on this career soon, read on for some actionable steps on the skills and mindset shifts you need to polish as a digital writer in 2022.
1. Keep redefining “Success”
“The content in this ebook is very basic and does not give actual actionable information. I’d like a refund, please.”
That’s what a person who recently purchased my 90-day freelancing guide said.
My first instinct was to feel hurt.
I’d poured my heart and soul into the guide, and prepared it with all the knowledge I’d accumulated over the past year and a half. It’s not easy to digest when someone calls all your hard-earned experience “basic.”
But then I reminded myself that the guide has actually helped 60+ people get amazing deals. It’s filled with testimonials from writers who loved it so much, that they swear it will change their life for sure.
But more than anything else, I refuse to feel bad because I know I’ve given it my 100%.
Sure, it might not be for every single writer out there. But for those who find it useful, this can actually be a life-changing resource.
So was this request for a refund a “failure”?
It was a success story because it helped me refine my target audience. It would let me identify which people would benefit the most by learning from me and how I can serve them better.
Takeaway: How to ensure you succeed every time?
Success has different meanings for different people. For me, “success” is when I can look back at a job well done and feel satisfied that I tried my best.
This might sound like way too much “Zen mode,” but it works like magic. When you define success by your own efforts, you’re taking away the power of other people’s opinions to hurt you.
How do you reverse engineer this and apply it to your life? Here’s a 4-step process:
- Define what “success” looks like to you.
- Understand that your work can’t please every single person out there.
- Be specific, and demarcate your target audience.
- Whenever you create, do it keeping your target audience in mind.
If you follow these four steps, you won’t ever fail.
Either your work will be a roaring success, or you’ll learn a valuable lesson that will push you ahead on this journey.
2. Polish your leadership skills
When I quit my job to become a full-time writer, I thought I’d spend most of my time writing or reading. Now, with a team of 4 writers, 1 SEO expert, and 1 content manager working with me, I realize I’ve become more of a leader and a manager.
When you start outsourcing work as a writer, here are some tips to make your journey as a leader more worthwhile (for yourself and your team):
1. Delegate efficiently
Every team member will have different talents, aspirations, and skills.
When you delegate tasks, keep these unique strengths and weaknesses in mind. Only allocate those tasks to the people who you know will be able to accomplish them with ease.
Knowing your team well will help you make this decision better.
2. Trust. Don’t micromanage.
In important projects, it’s easy to slip into micromanaging. But this rarely yields good results as your teammates might feel their creative freedom is being taken away.
It’s important to take a step back and trust every team member to do their job.
3. Set clear expectations
Let there be no ambiguity in terms of responsibilities, deadlines, and compensation. Have a clear record of where you make official communication, preferably through email or Slack messages.
This way, the writers who work with you can refer to these notes in case of any doubts. There would be no risk of misinterpretation, unlike in verbal communication.
3. Learn the art of balancing work and life
A two-hour flight. A four-hour walk down the Mall road in a quaint little Indian hill station. A game of table tennis with strangers who became friends. A night spent on the terrace around a bonfire with fellow travelers.
And even after all that, I took out my laptop to write a quick few words before I call it a day.
This picture and anecdote are from a recent holiday, but when deadlines call, you can’t make an excuse.
People have an idea that when you’re your own boss, you can have as many holidays as you want.
While a huge part of this is true, sometimes, a strong work ethic is what separates you from the millions of people trying to make it big as a digital writer.
This often involves working on holidays or working late into the night on a Friday. My friends find this annoying, but what can I say, when you make a commitment ( to a client or to yourself), you can’t break it.
Takeaway: Set your own definitions of “work-life balance”
Work when you have to, and make sure to take breaks. But never back out on a commitment no matter how tempted you might be.
Which of these points resonated with you? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments.