Has this ever happened to you?
You take a weekend and spend it developing your marketing plans. You spend time refining who your target audience is and your understanding of their pain points. You carefully articulate the benefits you can deliver to those clients. You outline the different components you’ll use to market yourself and sketch out a few of the pieces you’ll need.
You go to bed Sunday night feeling good about what you’ve accomplished.
And then you wake up Monday morning with a message in your inbox, offering you a new project.
It’s not your ideal client and the project isn’t a perfect fit… but it isn’t a terrible fit, either. The money is good, and you can see you’ll learn a lot from doing the work.
By Wednesday, you’ve said yes to the project and you’re busy enough that all those marketing plans you were working on just days before get put on the back burner.
I’ve had this happen more times than I can count.
Sometimes it unfolds exactly like this. Other times, it happens in some completely different area of my life. But the pattern is the same.
Interruptions and Opportunities
I make big plans, and then almost immediately, something happens to disrupt them. Sometimes it’s a good something — like a surprise project I don’t want to pass up. And other times, it’s not so great… like getting a frozen shoulder a month after joining a rock-climbing gym.
What I’ve learned over the years is to see these moments as a challenge to your commitment.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking the surprise project that falls into your lap the day after you finally write down the details of how you’re going to go about building your business and landing your dream clients. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with resting an injury that happens two weeks after you come up with a fitness plan you’re really excited about.
But even as you say yes to that project or acknowledge the need to care for that injury, I challenge you to also view these moments as an opportunity to review your plans and renew your resolve.
Staying on Course Through the Detours
When something happens — good or bad — that throws a wrench into your best-laid plans, the first step is to recognize that it’s happening.
Whatever the plan and whatever the disruption, just pause for a moment and take stock of how the disruption is going to affect the plans you made. Check in with how you’re feeling about that interruption. Are you frustrated? Relieved? Confused?
If you have a choice in the matter (you do with a project, not so much with an injury or illness), think through carefully if saying yes and interrupting the plan you laid out makes good sense. (It often does.)
Once you’ve taken an honest assessment of your original plan and the unexpected fork in the road, decide how you’ll move forward.
If you say yes to the opportunity (or the disruption is one of the you-have-no-choice-in-the-matter kind), go back to your plan and see how you can adjust it to fit with your new circumstances.
That new project might take up some of the time you need to implement your marketing plan, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the plan altogether. You might scale it back or adjust the timeline instead.
That frozen shoulder might mean you can’t rock climb the way you could before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train in other ways that will help you be in good shape when you’re able to get back to it.
Life is full of twists and turns, and sometimes those curves upend plans we’re really excited about. Taking a little time to reflect on what’s happening and how you want to adjust course is important.
Without this reflection, it’s easy to let these moments undermine your commitment to bringing about change in your life. You go where the current takes you — which could be good places — but you let go of directing your own route. Instead, think of the disruption as challenging your commitment to a plan. If the plan is important to you, take it as an opportunity to renew your resolve… even if you have to adjust the details a bit.
In Case You Missed It…
When you manage social media accounts for a client, one of your most critical tasks is creating new and engaging content to post daily. But this can quickly become an overwhelming task, especially if you’re constantly starting from scratch. See how setting up an Editorial Calendar can help you stay on top of your social media marketing tasks and deliver better results for your clients. Maggie Peterson takes you through it step-by-step in her most recent Social Media column.
You’ve selected a suitable keyword for your client’s article, and now you’re ready to write. But where do you add the keyword? How do you make it look natural in the content? How do you make sense of all the confusing things you’ve read about keywords? Andrew Murray helps you get this all sorted out in his most recent Web Writing & SEO column. See how to get your pages to rank better on search in just four easy steps.
And the recording of our most recent Monthly Member Update webinar is available. Discover three things you can be doing each day that will help you build your business, get more work done, and be more creative, too.
And You Really Don’t Want to Miss This!!
Our Summer Challenge is open, and it’s a doozy. This Challenge is to help us — as a community — pick the next Reality Blogger for Digital Copywriter.
This is a huge, huge opportunity and I hope you’ll throw your hat into the ring. See all the details here.
Coming Up on Digital Copywriter
Have you ever wondered about ADA compliance and what it means to you as a writer? There are some things you can be doing to help your clients make their site easier to use for people with disabilities. Jen Phillips April brings you specific steps in her next Trends & Technology column. (Publication date — August 22)
On Tuesday, August 23, Ilise Benun joins us for an Ask the Expert interview. We’ll be talking about how subtle shifts in your mindset can pay off big over the long run. You can find the details for this event right here.
There’s a huge opportunity for you as a writer that you might not have looked into… and that’s the paid advertising market. There are billions being spent on paid ads, and you can bet that a chunk of that goes to writers like you. Zoe Blarowski introduces you to the ins and outs of the paid advertising opportunity in her upcoming PPC & Advertising column. (Publication Date — August 29)
3 Things You Might Enjoy Reading…
From the Marginalian, a lovely piece on how to see the world around you more clearly.
Many of your clients will suffer from what HubSpot calls “marketing myopia.” Learn more about what it is and how you can help your clients break free from it.
Helping your clients improve customer retention rates is a surefire way to become a hero in their eyes. The Good shares nine strategies e-commerce companies can use to keep their customers coming back for more.
That’s all for now. Keep building your success!