So, a few days ago, I had a morning self-publishing coaching call with a client, after which I was thinking of heading over to the pool at the gym to do my laps. Now, I’m a pretty disciplined guy when it comes to exercise, but I’m also human, so, if I start getting busy, and time passes, it’s easy to say, “Heck, it’s getting late. I’ll just do it tomorrow.” And tomorrow? Maybe it’ll happen, and maybe it won’t.
So, before I got on the call, I packed my gym bag with a change of clothes, towel, etc. Put my keys, wallet and phone next to it. And changed into my bathing suit, T-shirt and flip-flops. Once the call was done, all I had to do was grab everything and go. Which, I did. Had none of that been “staged,” it’d been far easier to bail on the idea.
What I’d done was create a structure for fulfillment.
The whole point? Make something easy to do and you’re more likely to do it.
Duh, right? Well, yes it is, but I’d wager good money, a whole lot of ideas, campaigns, programs, goals, whatever, that never launched, would have if their creators had set up their own “structures for fulfillment.” The key being this:
Starting is the hardest part.
If you can make the “starting” easy, the rest of the steps are more likely to unfold.
I’ve invoked this idea in TWFW when discussing doing simple direct mail campaigns to keep in touch with commercial writing clients and prospects who are part of your database. You know, those folks, who, in the course of your various prospecting efforts for your freelance commercial writing practice, have told you that, yes, they have needs for copywriters, on an occasional or ongoing basis.
Sure, you could decide you’re going to do a really whiz-bang direct mail package, with a specially designed mail piece, maybe with a folder built in (for various copywriting samples), along with a cover letter, and a few other odds and ends. Sounds swell, but will you actually get it done?
Instead, why not create a postcard with a simple message as a reminder, leading them to your commercial copywriting web site/online portfolio? Given how much easier a postcard would be to create, you’d just be that much more likely to get it done.
So, what’s involved in making one? Well, besides creating it yourself or with the help of some graphically talented friend of yours—with whom, perhaps, you trade services— you might check out an inexpensive online printer.
Places like www.modernpostcards.com or www.overnightprints.com offer you the opportunity to pick a design from thousands available, add your copy front and back, and for probably less than $100, you’ll get 1000 cards (and about $125-ish for 2,000).
Remember one of the cardinal rules of direct mail: Frequency trumps creative. Doing it more often and simply is more effective than doing it seldom and creatively.
If you’ve built up a list of, say, 200-250 prospects you’ve gathered through prospecting, sending a postcard 3-4 times a year to that freelance commercial writing database of yours becomes a remarkably easy and inexpensive process. 250 postcards four times a year will run you roughly, $120 to $200 (depending on size of the postcard—regular or oversize), each time, including postage.
Simplifying it even more is this: You can send the same postcard every time. No need to reinvent the wheel each time. AND, the more your copywriting prospects/clients see that same card, the more they’ll associate it with you. And that’s a very good thing.
And there are countless other examples of establishing “structures” in order to ensure that you do the things you need to, to build your copywriting business.
For example, planning a cold-calling campaign, but dreading the process? If you…
1) Compiled a long list of the right kinds of prospects and phone numbers (think many 100’s, so if you screw up a few—which you likely will—you won’t worry about it)…
2) Set up your week with sizeable chunks of time, earmarked exclusively for calling…
3) Had a quiet space, protected from interruptions/distractions, and…
4) Created a brief cold-calling script modeled on the one in TWFW (p. 127)
…it’d be more likely to happen. All of which underscores an important truth:
Most of the fear surrounding many business-building activities stems from a fear of the unknown. Yet, once you set up your structures, much of that unknown becomes known. And, as such, can no longer be anywhere near as scary.
What are some of the “structures for fulfillment” you’ve put in place for your commercial freelancing business?
Have they made it easier to get things done?
Did you put them in place because you weren’t making things happen?
Any specific success stories around this idea?
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