You need to call a potential client. Your phone is within reach, you are ready to take up this challenge and secure victory. Or rather you were. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, you feel motivated to do something else entirely.
Does that ring a bell ? If you too have avoided your phone during the moment of truth, don’t worry : you are not alone. What’s more, according to Jesús Prieto, there might be a solution in order to avoid making the same mistake twice.
Let’s continue with this scenario : you found someone’s contact details that could end up being part of your portfolio, and you set aside an hour to contact that person. However, on the scheduled time, you are attracted by infinitely more interesting options. Checking your Facebook wall or your Twitter feed for example. Or reading some news, because you need to keep up-to-date, right ? Or you could even clean your computer because a translator cannot work properly with a slow computer. Actually, why not feed your fish ? After all, you can’t let them die, can you ?
Nevertheless, this simple distraction that was supposed to last only five minutes, ended up taking at least one hour. This hour that for all intents and purposes was part of your “work day”.
And what about this potential client ? Still waiting, you will call him later.
If this describes you, you probably want to find a solution against this seemingly irrepressible need that won’t let you have a truly successful career. And well, a cure does exist, but like every problem, you first have to identify the cause.
It turns out that the solution is obvious.
You don’t want to search for new clients.
That’s right. You know that you should do it, but you don’t have any desire to do so. That’s what leads you to fall in the trap of procrastination.
So what do you find so annoying about the idea of contacting a new client ? There are several reasons, but the negative biases certainly are the main one. You might think : “I don’t know how to look for new clients”, “every client is already taken” or even that “I’m bad at finding new clients”. This kind of thoughts often results from a bad experience but if you obsess over it, you will never be able to succeed.
As a matter of fact, knowing how to find new clients is not an ability you possess when you are born : experience was the word for freelancers who managed to learn it, and to get this experience you need to act. There is no secret. Thankfully, there is a method, a “cure” for this phobia that strikes so many.
Do you want to know what it is ? Then, simply answer this question : what is the worst thing that could happen if you contacted a potential client ?
… That he replies “no”.
Be it a “I already have someone” or a “not right now”, this scares you. Is that so much of a problem ? Some clients have heard about you now, and even if they don’t ask for your services right now, they might do soon.
You planted the seed, and your mission will be to keep an eye on it. Some won’t grow and others will take years before they bear their fruits, you are right. But focus on the most promising clients, because they will be the first ones to call you back.
Like Thomas Alva Edison, you need to believe that each defeat takes you one step closer to ultimate success. In other words : each “no” gets you closer to the “yes” you are looking for.
Don’t throw in the towel and, more importantly, never think that you won’t be able to make it.
By perseverance the snail reached the ark, and the translator filled his portfolio.
Translated by Nathan Hermance