Freelance success begins with mindset

Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – either way you’re right.”

It’s one of those quotes that make you think before you understand what it means. But when you finally get it, it’s one of those “Ah ha!” moments.

What Ford was talking about was “mindset.” It’s the idea that the way you think affects the way you act and, therefore, what you are able to accomplish. This is directly related to being a freelance copywriter or designer.

If you think you can’t make much money as a freelancer, you won’t. If you think no one will believe in your skills, they won’t. If you think you can’t leave your job because you’re just not good enough to make it on your own, then you’ll never even try.

Perception is reality. Read more

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The Dunning-Kruger Effect and the secret for coping with the incompetents around you

There’s nothing more exasperating than being an expert and having to deal with someone who isn’t but is quite certain he or she is. I experience this frequently and I know you do too. And guess what? There’s actually a name for it: the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Wikipedia defines the Dunning-Kruger Effect like this: “… the phenomenon wherein people who have little knowledge think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.”

Sound familiar?

Here’s a good example. Long ago I was interviewing for an ad agency job in Las Vegas. When the guy who owned the small agency found out I was interested in direct response, he began explaining to me that no headline should ever, EVER, be more than seven words. Seven was the magic number. And the magic number was seven. Six, maybe. Sometimes five. But never eight. And certainly not nine. 10 was right out.

When I asked him why, he took on the air of superiority that I didn’t have a name for then and repeated that seven words were magic.

Yup, Dunning-Kruger Effect. Read more

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10 obvious ideas for spectacular success

They say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” And it must be true. Because there’s no end to people who think there are shortcuts to success.

There aren’t. Sorry.

The keys to success are the same today as in years past. The most important being “have something people want.” (Which ironically includes get rich quick schemes. Am I evil for thinking that’s funny?)

Obvious? Sure. So are all the other keys to success. Like “be persistent.” Or “don’t be afraid to fail.”

I got to thinking about this recently when I read a list of 10 ways to get ink at 37signals, which provides basic ideas for getting people to notice you or your product. It’s a nice little list of things to do if you want to be successful.

Why are such obvious ideas so often ignored? I have a few ideas about this, but I’m curious about what you think. Why do people seek the miraculous when the obvious is right in front of them?

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