Identify and overcome the three biggest obstacles that might be keeping you from the level of success you want, and deserve, in your freelance creative business.
It may seem like a big and ambitious task to narrow down all of the possible obstacles across so many different kinds of freelancing businesses – photography, videography, design, etc. It may seem impossible to narrow this down to just three obstacles when you think about all the different areas of your business and all the different ways that you can be stopped or challenged.
But I promise you, when you start to think about all of the obstacles in your creative business and narrow them down by putting them into one of these three specific categories, your life and your business will start to change.
I’m going to start with the thing that shows up for many creatives when they have multiple passions; when they have so many ideas, so many different things that they want to do.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with too many things going on – too many directions, too many opportunities, too many possibilities, too many obligations…it’s just all too much – what is happening is a lack of focus.
Obstacle Number One: Focus
Where are you going to invest your attention, your intention, your time, your energy, and your money? What really matters to you? What’s going to make the biggest difference for your business? What specifically is going to generate revenue or move you forward towards your dreams and goals?
What are you going to focus on?
Sometimes it can be really challenging to figure out…what is my priority? The main tools that I use for figuring out my main priority is:
- I lean on my business coach.
- I check in with my accountability partner.
- I reach out to my mastermind group.
Other Tools For Prioritization
I use a tool called Eisenhower Matrix to really look at what is important, what is urgent, what is both important and urgent, and what is neither important nor urgent, and organize what I need to focus my time, energy and attention on.
A lot of times you can get caught up in figuring out what to focus on because there’s different levels of importance and urgency, depending on what kind of a time frame you’re looking at.
So for example, if you’re just trying to figure out what you need to focus on today, or for the next hour, that’s going to give you different answers in different parameters.
If you’re thinking about what you are going to focus on in your career, in your business, in your revenues or your client base over the next year or three to five years, you’re going to get different answers.
But each level of focus can bring you closer to having more of a sense of what matters and help you allocate your time better, have a sense of purpose, and actually get some stuff done that really has meaning.
The first of the three biggest obstacles for any creative service-based freelancer is focus.
What you focus on is great, but if you don’t have a clear goal or destination, trying to figure out which actions to take, how to measure your success or progress, and a way to feel motivated to go and do those actions….you will get stopped at the next biggest obstacle to your success.
Obstacle Number Two: Getting Clarity
How do you know when it’s time to shift your focus? How will you know when that particular task is done and you can stop focusing on it? How can you be clear about what success in that focus area means to you?
Without that clarity of what that focus means and why it matters and how you’re going to measure, you could be pouring your time and energy into something without really feeling like you’re making any progress. You can get really burned out. You can have that sense of doing a lot of work, but not really getting anywhere. You can stay stuck in a mindset of scarcity or things not working, when in fact things are working, you just haven’t measured them, or you’re not clear about what really matters to you.
So if you are currently feeling burnout or a lack of motivation, maybe it’s time to reconnect to meaning and clear measurements of success for you.
Getting that clarity on why things matter. Getting clarity on what success looks like for you. That’s the second biggest obstacle to creating success in your creative freelance business is that lack of clarity, that lack of really clear meaning and measuring of metrics.
I’m sure if you have been reading my blog articles, you are probably already guessing what the third biggest obstacle is. This is one that I have seen over and over again with so many creative freelancers.
You do your best to get the information you need. You get the training you need. You get the knowledge you need. You have all these ideas. You may even be focused on the idea that matters. You might also have set up clear goals and be clear on your meaning…. and yet, nothing is happening… and nothing will happen without action.
This final obstacle is the reason why all of our programs are set up to support implementation. This is why I run my mastermind group to really help people take both consistent action and meaningful action.
Obstacle Number Three: Taking Action
The third obstacle that is going to get in your way is not taking consistent and meaningful action. What do I mean by meaningful action? Meaningful actions align with your focus and your clear metrics are:
Focus: what are you going to focus on
Clarity: why does it matters and what does success look like for you
Action: how you are going to make it happen
What actions are you going to take, or are you taking, to get it done? To move towards those goals with velocity, to start creating your dreams in your reality?
There are three steps to taking consistent and meaningful actions:
Step One: Deciding what those actions are
Step Two: Be held accountable to taking those actions
Step Three: Celebrate your successes when you do reach them and your progress along the way
Celebration is key to creating that motivation to keep taking the actions necessary, especially when some of those actions aren’t really very fun or they don’t necessarily give us the same kind of juju, or the same kind of feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment that maybe our creative work does.
Celebration helps to reconnect you to why it matters.
Even when you know the actions you should be taking, but you’re not taking them for whatever reasons, mostly it’s a disconnect between why they matter to you or a disconnect from a clear focus. You’re getting distracted by shiny things and moving away from the actions that really matter to you.
Those are the three biggest obstacles to having a successful creative freelance business.
It’s really about setting yourself up with a specific focus, with a clear understanding of why it matters and how you’re going to measure, and the meaningful actions you consistently take to move you forward on your journey.
I challenge you, if you are a creative service-based freelancer and you are stuck in an area in your life, or you feel like there’s an obstacle that you have, that doesn’t fit into this, that is like a total outlier… I challenge you, share it with me in the comments. Let me know. I’d love to help see how it fits within this framework of the three biggest obstacles.
If you can develop the skills to overcome these three biggest obstacles, you will start earning more, doing less, and feeling more confident in your creative freelance business.