Entrepreneurial small ball


My dear fellow freelancers, I want to challenge you about something.

When you are developing new directions in your business, and you need to invest a lot of nonbillable time, please be considerate to the people who are supporting you through the transition—whether they are providing financial support, doing the lion's share of the homemaking, or waiting to take vacations or enjoy other good and healthy things that cost money.

It can be easy for us visionary types to always want to go after the next new thing while ignoring what's already there. I experienced this repeatedly when I worked in the nonprofit sector: The visionaries who began a new organization or program often lost interest when it was time to manage what they'd begun. They would start running after the next big idea and no longer use their substantial influence to pull resources toward existing projects.

The same can happen in independent businesses. If you have external support from family members or others while you build your business, it is possible to unfairly take advantage of them if you keep running after the next big thing rather than consolidating your gains in what you've already worked hard to establish. If you don't have external support, you could be harming yourself by chasing the bigger buck while ignoring the small-ball grind of doing the familiar work that steadily pays the bills.

Successful freelancing that is fair to whose who support your entrepreneurship can be exasperating. You have to keep playing small ball while now and then swinging for the fences. If you think about it, though, great baseball teams do just that. Their day-to-day play is clean, skillful, and persistent—and only punctuated by big plays and home runs.

So go ahead and pursue the speculative projects. But meet your base income goals at the same time. And leave time for relationships with the ones you love.

Your family and friends will thank you.