When Should I Quit?

In the first episode, we stated what it means to succeed as a freelancer and how to get started. In the second episode, we went deeper by focusing on branding, - what a brand is, and how you as a lone-wolf are a brand.  In this episode I will be concluding  the series by talking about how to either grow your brand or rebrand to get better profit. 

One of the things that we all agree on as a constant is change (yeah, cliche… but  true all the same),. No matter where you are, who you are, or what you believe in, change is one thing that is constant with all of us and with all things. Nothing remains the same forever, absolutely nothing! Change though can either be positive or negative. 

An entity or individual will go through both positive and negative change in its lifetime; no one goes through a streak of positives only or negatives only.  The purpose of this episode is to help you identify the point in time you need to make a complete U-turn to change your negative streak to positives, or when you should change your positive to even more positives (i.e deciding not to become too comfortable with your minimal success).

Measuring your streak

Of course, before you can determine if something is doing well or not you need to have something to measure against. if there’s no standard of measurement, there’s no way to know if something is above or below the line. 

Goals and aspirations should be the standard. The standard should not be something set by someone else, nor should it be solely based on what you read in this newsletter; it should rather be a calculated parameter agreed in your mind, body, and soul. 

One way you can start is by thinking about this year, and setting a reasonable achievable standard for next year based on your successes and failures for this year. Do not set unreasonable, immeasurable standards for yourself - that only leads to failure. 

If you want to go deeper, consider your brand this year, and trace your growth, and through that, you can set a standard for yourself in the coming year. I know this might not make much sense and might seem really difficult, but it really is not. I  will be writing a much longer piece on this and it will be available in December - that will be a new series.

You cannot see the future - be flexible

A few years ago I set a goal for myself to buy a house in Maryland, Lagos State. I passed by the building (under construction) daily, it already had a for sale sign on it. It looked perfect and quite attractive. I called the number and each flat was NGN 35m. I was working as an all-knowing software developer in a startup at Ikeja-Along, earning about NGN 70k / month, but I wanted to buy a 35m apartment in one year… In retrospect, that was some unreasonable goal and not practical, except it was to come by some insane luck or miracle,  which is hardly possible.

You can change your formula mid-way, it’s yours. 

As a human, you cannot see the future. Your superpower as a brand is to plan and set calculated, reasonable goals. You also need to learn to make adjustments to those plans. This is why breaking things down into smaller milestones is critical. 

For example, If I wanted to buy a flat worth 35m in 12 months, I should be able to make 3m in 1 month. To give room for change, I would give myself 4 months to follow my set out plan. By then I should have 12m or at least be on the path to getting that. If after 4 months I don’t have it - nor the possibility of getting it, then the next step is to make an adjustment to that goal either by changing the timeline or changing the scope.

Key steps to achieving your goals:

  • set a measurable large goal(s)
  • break the large goal(s) into smaller measurable chunks 
  • track your progress based on that. 

As a freelancer, how much do you want to make in a year? How many clients do you need to make that much? How long will it take you to get it?  What can you do to get it?  I’ll be covering much of these in my next series.

When nothing is working

As I have already established, everyone goes through positives and negatives, it’s life. When you have put in all your efforts, and no part of your plan is working, no goal has been achieved, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Start by identifying the problem - there is always something: Sometimes it’s hard to identify these issues yourself, which is why brands work with consultants sometimes (keep reading, I have great news for you regarding this).
  2. Once you identify the problem, go after the root cause, not the symptoms - If you treat the symptoms and not the root cause, you’ll only suppress rather than overcome. 
  3. Tackle the root cause one step at a time, and measure your progress. 
  4. Repeat steps 1 - 3 for other aspects. 

Let’s tie it together

So what does it mean to grow as a brand? 

It means, you have learned how to set goals, you have been able to set measurable goals, and progress towards achieving that goal by meticulous and sincere tracking. 

The Good News

From this issue and the two earlier ones, I’ll like to hear your thoughts. Is there any aspect that is not clear? Would you like to ask me a specific question or do you need free consultation on your brand as a freelancer? Please use this form to give a response (please read the terms and conditions).

Originally published on Seyi Onifade's newsletter, follow him here.

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