Being a freelancer or entrepreneur can be a tough experience.
We valiantly try to go it alone, relying on whatever internal motivators we can draw on to wake up each morning, accomplish what we need to get done, and go on to the next item on the list.
Yep, all too often we end up getting distracted, procrastinating until the last minute, or otherwise dodging whatever it is we know we’re supposed to be doing.
Case in point: I’m working on a brand new copywriting course. I’ve got the entire course sketched out in detail, and it’s going to be incredible once it’s done. Truly a game-changer for anyone who wants to shoot their copywriting results skyward.
But now that I’ve got it all mapped out and I’m starting to work on it, I feel daunted at the amount of work still ahead of me to finish it and make it the best it can be.
And that’s where, yes, even I–an A-list copywriter who’s spent months perfecting successful 40 or 50-page control promos or complex launches–can start to feel a little overwhelmed and engage in some of these non-productive bad habits.
Like, I suddenly have this overwhelming urge to organize every room and closet in my house, and go on a weeks-long, clutter-eliminating binge.
Not only that, I want to redecorate, repaint, and get new window treatments in half the rooms of my house. It’s almost as bad as the “nesting” phase I went through when I was pregnant with my daughter… 23 years ago!
Because it’s not just a new course I’m staring uphill at, I’m also writing my first screenplay. All this creative activity is something that excites me to the core… and sends me running for the hills at the same time.
So here’s how I’m dealing with it: I’m scheduling time on Friday afternoons and weekends to do my de-cluttering binges (and getting someone to help me). I’m also trying to avoid over-scheduling my weekends this next month so I have time.
I’m doing a creative writing “Power Hour” each morning to get in at least a full hour of work on my screenplay. It’s like an accountability group for creative writing that gets me in front of my computer first thing. It helps me chunk things down and set a mini-goal each morning that I can accomplish during one hour.
And for the past year, I’ve been part of a 4-person accountability group of other copywriters and marketers that keeps me focused on achieving my business goals. We meet every 2-3 weeks and each time each person sets 1-3 goals to accomplish by the next meeting (and then reports on their progress at the next meeting).
It all comes down to this: holding myself accountability for achieving the things I want to get done. And that means relying on outside help or support to do so.
If it wasn’t for joining Vicky Fraser’s Team Moxie Power Hour this past Spring, I’d still be spinning my wheels and getting nowhere with my screenplay. Now I’ve completed my research, finalized a detailed outline, and am writing my first draft.
It’s by having this reason to get out of bed early and be accountable to a group of fellow writers that I’m in front of my computer with “bed head” and a hot mug of coffee first thing in the morning… finally making progress on something that’s for ME that I’ve been wanting to tackle for nearly 5 years now.
And if it wasn’t for being a member of Brian Kurtz’s Titans Xcelerator (aka “Titans XL”) virtual mastermind (currently closed to new members, but you can get on the “early bird” list for the next time the doors open here), I wouldn’t have heard about the power of accountability groups.
After hearing about it on one of the Titans XL calls a year ago last month, I put together an accountability group with 3 of my fellow TXL’ers. We’ve been meeting every 2 to 4 weeks for a full year now. And the increased focus, support, and accountability I’ve gotten from this group has helped me accomplish many things.
Like working with marketing genius Hillary Weiss in her Power Position program to redo my branding and photos… revamping my website with a fantastic web designer… adding more structure and efficiency to my business with the help of a great project manger and virtual assistant… launching my popular new Research Beast course (see the P.P.S. below for more details)… and so much more.
The beauty of these kinds of accountability relationships is you can easily put them together on your own if you like at no cost. You just need to find a like-minded person (or 3) who will commit to an agreed-upon structure and schedule.
For example, the Titans XL Accountability group I’ve been a part of for the past year is something the 4 of us are doing completely independently of Brian’s mastermind. We purposely decided to keep it to 4 people (more would be too many).
And we decided to adopt the following structure for each of our meetings that was suggested to us by someone with experience doing these types of groups:
- One-word open (everyone says one word that jumps to mind that describes how they feel at the beginning of the meeting)
- Review goals set at the last meeting and report progress made/results
- Parking lot (time to discuss anything that you want help with or just need a sounding board for)
- Set new goals to accomplish by the next meeting
- One-word close (everyone says one word that describes how they’re feeling at the end… normally, everyone’s mood and outlook has improved dramatically since the beginning of the meeting)
Here’s another way to move forward faster with your goals if you’re a copywriter: find a fellow copywriter who may be willing to be your “copy buddy”. This is a give-and-take relationship where you each are committed to getting better at writing copy, and you give each other honest copy feedback.
This can work even if you’re both not very experienced, as long as you are both committed to learning, going through books and courses together, studying successful promotions, and most important of all: actually getting writing practice.
And if you still find yourself going it alone when writing copy, whether for clients or for your own learning, here’s a tip that can help a lot: read your copy out loud after you write it.
Seriously, doing this one thing can help you instantly spot confusing grammar or sentence structure mistakes… or figure out whether your copy is too stiff or flat, or isn’t flowing in a logical way.
If you can’t read your copy out loud smoothly or conversationally in a way that doesn’t have multiple confusing “hiccups”, then you know it needs more work before you hand it over to a client or mentor or “copy buddy” to review.
And if English is not your first language, this is especially important. If your English is less than perfect, you definitely should get someone who is perfectly-fluent to review your copy… because the #1 reason why non-native English speakers don’t get hired by U.S.-based clients is due to this language barrier.
It’s up to you as a freelancer, business owner, self-employed marketer, or student of copywriting, to make things happen. If you want to move forward faster… and minimize all the non-productive habits that often get in the way… then you must create accountability for yourself. And for that, you may need a little outside help.
Now, I’ve got a bathroom drawer that’s screaming for re-organization, so I’ve gotta run. (-;
In the meantime though, reply back to this email and let me know what’s worked for you to create more accountability for yourself. Or if it’s something you’ve been struggling with, let me know that, too.
Yours for smarter marketing,
P.S. Those aren’t affiliate links I’ve shared here… they’re just people and groups I’ve paid my own money for and that I’ve found extremely helpful. It’s my pleasure to pass them along to you.
The one that most copywriters, entrepreneurs, and marketers will probably find the most valuable is Titans Xcelerator. But like any mastermind, mentoring program, or course, it’s what you actually DO with it that matters.
So make sure whatever accountability, training, or support structure you create for yourself, you actually show up for. Do it for YOU. Because you don’t want to be kicking yourself 5 or 10 years later wondering what you could have accomplished.
P.P.S. Okay, that Research Beast course I mentioned earlier is, of course, my own course. And since I mentioned it, now I feel compelled to give you an incentive to get your hands on it if you don’t already have this valuable “secret weapon” in your copywriting arsenal. You can find out all the details here and use coupon code SAVE200 to save $200 off the regular price through this Friday.