In business, it’s easy to look around trying to find a secret weapon to help you shortcut your way to success.
What if the actual secret to creative success is nothing more than hard work and patience, combined with relationships, all mixed in with that little bit of luck (that will come from perseverance) that you show up at the right place at the right time?
The secret weapon is that you have to do the work. You have to be willing to get vulnerable, embrace discomfort, and start trying.
But putting forth your creative ideas to get what you want doesn’t have to be a terrifying proposition. By embracing the Easy Yes, getting what you want is simpler than you realize.
Here are 10 steps to getting what you want in business (and life) for you to keep in mind as you go about your day. It’s time for you to get what you need.
1. Do your homework.
Yes, you have great ideas, but that doesn’t mean you should pitch them without doing research first. Spend time gathering data that will back your idea up. Why are you the best person for the job? What empirical evidence can you offer that will back your idea up? What best practices can you point to from other successes?
2. It’s not about you.
When pitching, put your emphasis on the other person and what you have to offer.
Don’t start out talking about yourself and what you can get out of the job or the publication. Start with the pitchee, and clearly outline what you offer and what’s in it for them. Not clearly framing your pitches the way they want to receive them is one of the most common freelance proposal mistakes. So, how do you know what will truly be of value to them? Preparation is GOLD. Do it.
3. Keep it simple, sweetheart.
We have a tendency to automatically devalue the things that come most naturally to us, and these things are often the ones that the world needs the most.
It is easy to discount these as they seem completely commonplace and boring to you. But this is where your greatest knowledge and strengths lie – you are the expert here. The things that are easy and evident to you, are not as clear to everyone else! Trust that and let your writing be fun and easy.
4. Follow the rules.
Editors and bloggers spend a great deal of time crafting their submission guidelines, so use that information to your advantage. Give them what they’re asking for. If a site routinely publishes 2,000 word long-form posts, submitting a 250 word post called “10 ways a sofa can change your life” probably won’t get you published.
5. Bigger isn’t always better.
Sometimes the inclination is to go for the biggest win possible, every single time. Not only is this exhausting, it’s also much more difficult to execute. Instead of aiming for the heavens every time, consider getting where you want to go in your business, as individual steps in a staircase. What do you need to do to get up the next 2-3 steps? Taking small, actionable steps is often much easier (and less bruising on the ego!) than trying to leap to the top every single time.
6. Be willing to ask for help.
Just because you’re going after an opportunity doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Consider who might be able to help you with your ask – do you have a friend who has experience with this? Reach out. Be kind and polite and ask for help.
7. Don’t be a jerk.
This might be a universal rule for life. Be nice, treat people well, and do what you say you’re going to do. This goes a long way in this digital world. Remember, there’s a human being on the receiving side of every email you send.
8. Confidence is key.
The great thing about email is that no one can see you shaking hands. Even if you aren’t feeling it 100%, keep your email short, sweet, and confident. If you don’t believe in what you are pitching, the receiver isn’t going to believe it either.
9. Follow up (when appropriate).
Everyone suffers from inbox overwhelm, so don’t be afraid to follow up. A quick email a couple of weeks after your initial ask is a great idea with a second follow-up one week after that if you still haven’t received a response.
Keep these follow-ups short and sweet, forwarding along your original message. The exception to this rule would be if the submission guidelines specifically discourage against follow up. Respect the protocol offered.
10. Look beyond the yes and embrace the no.
One of the big secrets about pitching is that the more you do it, the better you get. So don’t pin all of your hopes on one yes. Understand that a no is not a killer, it just means that you need to keep going.
RSVP now to join me for the free live broadcast of my upcoming class, The Easy Yes: How to Craft an Effective Pitch here on CreativeLive next Wednesday, August 26th at 9am PST!
If you’re starting or looking to grow your own freelance business, download our free eBook, the Essential Guide to Launching a Freelance Career.