What I Learned at the Double Your Freelancing Conference

I just got back from the first annual Double Your Freelancing Conference, and I haven’t felt this exhausted and excited in some time. I met so many great people and listened to informative talks by some brilliant speakers. Instead of getting into individual tactics and strategies, I thought it’d be more beneficial to you to share the big picture of how I’m planning on reshaping my business moving forward.

The keys to creating a successful business are simple, difficult, and patently unsexy:

  • Set a goal.
  • Make a plan.
  • Stay focused.
  • Show up every day and put in the work.

What I Learned From Every DYFC Talk

Setting a Goal

In the long-term, my goal is to build a business that’s durable, and an asset that can support myself and my family for the long term. In the short term, that means building a business that’s more predictable and provides more value to clients. Value is a two-way street, so I can’t just step up my game in terms of what I deliver.I also have to step up who it is that I serve. As of now, I’m no longer accepting work from pre-revenue companies. I’m also no longer accepting hourly billing contracts so that I can focus on outcomes instead of inputs. As a find better ways to improve outcomes for clients, I’ll find ways to scale and streamline the delivery of said value.

Making a Plan

To be able to do this, I know I have to stop flailing around. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t make a schedule, your clients and customers will. My Monday morning plan is to get serious about my time, set a daily plan, and sticking to it. The boss of my company is about to start cracking the whip on its most unfocused employee. Making this one change can make your output more predictable, and help you see that work time is finite, which will help you to not over-promise.

Staying Focused

If something doesn’t fit into the schedule, then it doesn’t happen. If there isn’t room for something after client work, regularly scheduled sales and marketing tasks and business operational tasks, then it’s cut. And that means that I’ll be cutting a lot in the coming weeks. There is an infinite amount of possible work for any business, which means as a business owner, you have to be ruthless about saying no.

Showing Up and Doing The Work

The schedule needs to be made up repeatable processes. This was a repeating motif throughout the talks:

  • Mojca Mars talked about spending 60 minutes per day focused on building relationships and authority on social media.
  • Kai Davis talked about building a list of prospective partners and sending an outreach email every day.
  • Nathan Barry talked about writing every day.
  • Ed Gandia talked about having focused blocks of uninterruptable work every day.

The message was clear: Show up every day, and put in the work.

Moving Forward

So, there’s a long-term vision, a plan for getting there, and a process for getting through the work on a day-by-day basis.

My last big takeaway is that while this takes a lot of effort, it is doable and attainable. What’s the difference between Brennan Dunn, Nathan Barry, Jonathan Stark, Allan Branch, You and me?

They set a goal, made a plan, stayed focused, and did the work. I just haven’t yet.

What I Learned From Every Talk

If you would like some more detail, I compiled a list of the one key lesson I got out of each talk. You can get the lessons below.

What I Learned From Every DYFC Talk