The job a freelancer undertakes is one that requires a lot of discipline. Think about the perks of the job for a moment and you will realize that if a freelancer isn’t disciplined, he/she will not be able to attain success. Some of the benefits of being a freelancer include;
• Working from home
• Being your boss
• Owning your time
• Being in control of your finance 100% etc.
While these benefits are exciting, an undisciplined freelancer will not get the best out of them. In this chapter, you will learn all about the sixth key to succeeding as a freelancer and how you can utilize it most efficiently. You will also gain insight into two essential strategies you need to develop selfdiscipline.
Discipline means controlled behavior; it is a concept that is synonymous with self-control and one’s ability to enforce compliance. Self-discipline is when a person has the willpower over his/her self. Now, as a freelancer, you will need to develop a disciplined behavioral pattern that enables you to do exactly what needs to be done.
It is easier for a freelancer to become disorderly with work because there are freedom and ownership of time, unlike the situation with a paid employee.
However, if you make up your mind to become disciplined, you will be able to fight off the temptation to be disorderly.
Firstly, you need to think about your freelancing gigs as a real BUSINESS.
It is a business that requires planning, orderly execution, and every other feature an enterprise embodies. Even though you don’t work in a proper business establishment and don’t report directly to anyone, you have put in the time and effort required to build and sustain discipline throughout your freelancing career.
There are two primary keys you must implement for you to achieve a balance with discipline. These steps are highlighted below.
The top two strategies for developing discipline
1. Being aware of the consequences of actions and inactions
The first strategy you must implement for training to be enforced is to be mindful of the results of your actions and inactions. A lot of times, freelancers take the liberty they must work at their own pace for granted, so in the end, they become subconsciously undisciplined.
Experience has shown that for doing something (action) or for not doing something (inaction), a freelancer will gradually become complacent. The solution to this is for you to be conscious of the fact that when you don’t do the right things, there will be consequences which may affect your relationship with clients negatively.
The best way to become aware is to take note of all you do when you create a schedule. After putting your plans together, observe how you handle the tasks; are you being quick about the things you should do? Are you relaxed?
Do you place priority on your work?
Don’t get carried away with the feeling of doing what you want, when you want to. Instead, you should focus on the pathway that leads to success by being mindful of all you do with your business. Awareness makes it possible for you to maintain the same level of focus all the time.
In addition to being conscious, you might want to also keep notes on your daily accomplishments and the milestones you reach as you work towards your goals. These shows how disciplined you are as a freelancer.
2. Developing the right habits
You must develop the proper practices that help you maintain discipline through consistent and continuous improvement. I want to share something quite remarkable with you; it will provide in-depth insight into why training is a must-have attribute for any freelancer.
I will be taking you through the Kaizen philosophy.
Kaizen is a Japanese word where “Kai” means change, and “Zen” means right, when put together it refers to the measures put in place for improvement of any sort of process. Its implementation requires a series of activities that will steadily improve your business.
This philosophy is often used as a production method in manufacturing but can be applied to personal endeavors as well. Although the Kaizen philosophy started in Japan, it has become a prevalent method of helping people to achieve results with their businesses and freelancers are not left out of this experience.
Kaizen focuses on how you can organize everything you do; from the way you work to the way you achieve results as a freelancer. To expound on the impact of the Kaizen philosophy, it is the core system The Toyota Production team uses it to address problems in its manufacturing so that they can produce a lot of vehicles within a tight time frame.
The goal with Kaizen for a freelancer is to be able to do BETTER WORK as opposed to doing a lot of work. With a commitment to being disciplined enough to do better with your job, you will have more time to do the things you love while keeping up with the orders you get as a freelancer.
The Kaizen philosophy on continuous improvement is broken down into six steps. With these steps, you will learn how to apply the principles you’ve discovered from the concept as a freelancer.
The six steps to continuous improvement from the Kaizen
At this initial stage, all you must do is create a process for an activity. Here, you must create a pattern for your work; if you are a writer, web designer, blogger, animator, digital marketer, etc. Create a standard model that will produce results.
Next, you need to scrutinize the process to ascertain if it is useful. The method of scrutiny entails using data you’ve collected in the course of doing your work. Check the time you use to complete each job and measure how to have a sustainable process.
Here, you should compare the ideas you measured in the previous step by matching them up with your reality. You may have an estimated delivery time for a job, but at this step, you need to compare your estimate with what is obtainable.
By innovating the philosophy states that you should seek out new and better ways of doing your work. Don’t hold on to the same old traditional pattern; be smart and efficient by seeking ways of reaching your goals that will boost productivity in your business.
Because you have new ideas and platforms after the step on innovation, you need to standardize these novel ideas again. Ensure that there are defined processes that will yield great results.
The final step is all about repeating all the steps from the first one until it becomes a significant part of your business pattern.
Americans, at some point, had to travel to Japan to discover their secret to great manufacturing. They were amazed at the level of efficiency this philosophy birthed for the Japanese car makers. You can have the same kind of experience as a freelancer; all that’s required of you is to apply some discipline in doing your work and stick to the steps shared above.
Now that you are armed with the right strategies to implement for discipline, I believe you will be taking this key seriously as it is a significant factor that will determine how successful you will be as a freelancer.
To further bolster the importance of discipline, I will be sharing some developed a good working relationship with him/her.
Benefits of being disciplined as a Freelancer
1. Completion of tasks
A disciplined freelancer will always complete jobs and tasks on time because there is a feeling of determination that comes with discipline. As you take the time to model your career after the steps you’ve been given, you will observe that you are more prone to completing tasks, which is an outstanding attribute of the freelancer.
2. Create a reliable profile
Discipline also helps you create a strong profile online. Aside from the quality of work, what clients look out for most is a freelancer who is reliable enough to keep his/her word and maintain deadlines.
If you are undisciplined, you will most likely be a very unreliable freelancer who starts to lose clients and ratings. This book wasn’t written for the unreliable worker; it was put together for people who are willing to improve themselves and horn their skills for maximum results.
Make up your mind today to be disciplined; utilize the strategies you were given and watch your entire career bloom.
3. Take your work seriously
Another benefit of being taught is that it makes it possible for you to take your work seriously. Instead of being casual with the work you do, you will be fixated on succeeding and improving on all you can do.
Only freelancers with a disciplined mindset get to work from home and focus on their job like they are in an office. See your home as an office and be committed to raising the bar.
4. Develop a better work relationship
Everyone wants to work with someone who is disciplined, focus, and determined. If you exhibit these traits, you will be able to develop better work relationships with your clients, such that they trust you explicitly and believe in your ability to deliver quality service.
Most times, the reason some freelancers do not get their contracts renewed or get to maintain the same stream of jobs from a client is that they haven’t developed a good working relationship with him/her.
Your clients will always come back with more jobs for you and even refer you to other clients when they observe that you are disciplined enough to get the job done in record time. So long you remain consistent with your pattern of discipline, you will always have great clients to work with.
5. Joy/fulfillment with your work
Discipline will also make you find joy and accomplishment with your work. Freelancing should be a happy experience, but most freelancers don’t find fulfillment because of a lack of discipline. If you are disciplined enough, you will enjoy what you do, and you will look forward to doing it daily and find contentment with the rewards.
Being fulfilled is a feeling every business owner should enjoy so take a stand today by focusing on being disciplined with your business; you will reap amazing results that will propel you forward as an exceptional freelancer.
This chapter has been all about the sixth key to be a successful freelancer, and we covered every aspect of discipline. You gained insight into the meaning of the concept, its benefits, and then the two strategies you can employ to develop training. You need to model your schedule in the most appropriate way such that you are disciplined enough to stick to your plans, meet deadlines, and build an imposing profile.
The next chapter is based on the last of the seven keys. It is a concept that is closely related to what we handled in this chapter, so get set to upgrade your mind, build resilience, and do more to succeed as a freelancer.