Put on Your New Shoes

Do you think 1980s pop star Bonnie Tyler ever thought about the impact her “Holding Out for a Hero” might have on personal reinvention?

Remember that hit song?

(If not, no sweat. Just give it a listen on YouTube.)

For now, let’s call it a wistful story, one in which the singer pines for a hero, who will make everything right again.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, right?

Take you, for example; yes, you.

First, the back story

To say I’ve had a few different jobs would be a gross understatement.

What would be far more accurate, though, can be measured by the number of times I’ve had to resort to personal reinvention, freelance work and plenty of other things. (Trust me. It’s a lot.

Regardless of the circumstances, though, I’ve always tried to do my best chameleon imitation.

Take this past year, for example. (Yep, I’ve got my own Bonnie Tyler hero’s tale to tell.)

‘Wanna be a writer, huh? 

For the last several years, I have worked in the staffing industry (in both business development and recruiting). Doing my best to…

  • Leverage my personal network
  • Build up my own book
  • Attend industry events
  • Manage to out hustle the competition once or twice

But this year?…Yeah, I’d say that all bets have pretty much been off.
And what happens?:

  • You get upset.
  • You worry.
  • There’s suddenly a lot of scrambling.
  • And you try like hell to readjust your confidence and get back in the game.

So, you – yes, that’s all of you – need to embrace your writing abilities and realize that you’ve got a skill set that will always be needed.

Don’t undervalue your talent.

Why I wouldn’t necessarily hold out hope for a place on the world’s Top 100 Wealthiest People list with the bucks you’ll earn as a writer, I can definitely see a scenario where you could be commissioned to write each of their bios!

Prior to my work in staffing, I wrote professionally for years.

Lucky for me, so far anyway, it has been a lot like riding a bike.

And while there may not be one tried-and-true methodology, identifying a personal plan to land writing work will give each of you a shot at becoming your own hero/heroine.

Time to put on some new shoes. 

Let’s start by thanking rock and roll legend Eric Clapton for providing us with a
potential teaching tool.

Like the song says, “I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything’s right.”

Nobody says personal reinvention is easy, but simply getting started with the process doesn’t have to be difficult.

Craft your plan and don’t look back.
Sure, there’s nothing quite like making it all work by winging it, but having plans, failsafes and the like is certainly another way to go.

So, sticking with Mr. Clapton’s handy metaphor, plus some other familiar go-tos, let’s talk specifics.

  1. Make a deal with yourself.

If you believe you can make a living writing, no one else’s opinion should matter.

  • Change gears.
  • Trust your skill set.
  • Find those “new shoes” if you have to.
  • If you believe in your abilities, others will, too.
  1. There will never be another you.

Nat King Cole was right on point with that one. When in doubt, bet on yourself.

  • Craft your personal brand.
  • Build up your street ‘cred.
  • Let prospective employers and clients know that they’ll be getting the one and only “you.”
  1. Get help from other people.

Finding success in writing can be largely predicated on getting help from others.

So, be sure to build that into the plan, too. (One great resource, for example, is the
Freelance Writers Den.) It’s key to find the right people to help effectively showcase your work.

  1. If you build it, they will come.

Are you leveraging the power of social media, your personal website and networking groups to find freelance work? (Just saying…)

Even if you’re the second coming of William Faulkner or Charlotte Brontë, effectively showcasing your work may be just as important as the work itself. Here are some quick ideas:

  • Consider shopping around for a cost-effective, talented designer with whom to partner.
  • Build your own writer website (with help from a top-drawer web developer) or with an “off-the-shelf” model.
  • Leverage all the major social media platforms…Facebook, Twitter and especially LinkedIn.
  • Use social media. Your daily to-do list…like, comment, share and post to boost
    your visibility.

Having the all-important writing ‘chops just isn’t enough anymore.

  1. Stay in the fight.

If anyone tells you that freelance work and earning money as a writer isn’t largely about good ‘ol fashion elbow grease, I’m not sure I’d listen.

“Talent,” however you choose to define it, is important.

But without hustle and heart, well, you’re nowhere.

Build your strategy and your reputation largely around your work ethic, and don’t ever let up.
Not ever.

JF

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