What’s holding you back?

Who knew that my post, “Why do freelance writers hate SEO copywriting” would stir up so many comments?

After the post, I received a bunch of emails and blog comments like this one:

I like being able to work from home, but I really do despise the articles that I write. I would run away from these articles as quickly as possible if I had a client willing to pay a decent wage for excellent content.

Unfortunately, I cannot find these clients. To be honest, I don’t really know where to look because the only thing I find are the companies wanting quantity and care very little about quality.

Ugh. This writer is obviously in misery. Writing bad copy for low wages can’t be fun – at all.

But here’s the deal: If you’re in an uncomfortable situation, the only person holding you back is you.

That’s not an indictment. I have certainly been in scads of situations where I felt hopeless. Every day, I would wake up with a knot in my stomach. Instead of feeling excited about my day, I’d feel a huge sense of dread. Sometimes, I’d hear my father’s voice asking, “How long are you going to put up with this?”  There were times that I immediately snapped to and quickly changed my situation. But there were many more times that I didn’t.

Why? I may have hated where I was – but I was comfortable. The misery I knew was better than “putting myself out there” and doing something else. That seemed way too scary (and in my depressive way, I figured that it wouldn’t work out anyway.)

In short, I was stuck.

If this is you, I encourage you to change your outlook right now.  There is always something you can do to change your situation and exercise your “control what you can control” muscles. That power is always available to you.  You may not be able to do much…but you can take baby steps towards a goal

For instance, let’s consider the “I’m writing stuff I hate for hardly any money” situation. Here are some steps that person can take:

- Figure out his copywriting niche. What type of client does he want to work with?

- Figure out his value proposition. How can he demonstrate to his prospects that he produces extremely valuable work (hint: testimonials, case studies and testimonials can certainly help.)

- Determine his income goals. Steve Wilkinghoff does a great job during the Copywriting Business Bootcamp discussing how to figure out your yearly income goals – and how to break them down into attainable bite-size chunks.

- Develop a fantastic Website. If he wants Web clients, he’ll need to have a killer site with compelling copy. ‘Nuff said.

- Figure out how to reach his desired market. Is his target market on Twitter? LinkedIn? Or is direct mail better?

- Develop an airtight sales strategy. What will he say to prospects? What’s his process?

Is this easy? No. Will it take some time? Yes. Could it mean some hard decisions and sacrifies? You bet. But it’s taking action. It’s moving forward towards a goal. It’s using smart planning and baby step momentum to propel him in the right direction.

In short, it’s exercising the power he already has.

So, next time you’re feeling stuck, consider what you want the end goal to look like.

Do you want to lose weight?

Do you want to make more money?

Do you want to take a long vacation?

Do you want a better relationship with your partner?

Then, consider the things that you can do that are within your control. That could be signing up for an exercise class. Or working with a consultant to help you improve your income. Make a list of all the little tasks you can take towards your goal – big and small.

Then, start taking those baby steps towards your goal. Every day. No negotiation. No “Well, I don’t feel like it today.” Do it. That’s when you’ll start seeing results.

I guarantee that taking action – and reclaiming your power – will make you much happier.

Plus, you’ll make so much progress towards your goal that you’ll start feeling in control. You’ll know that you pulled yourself out of an uncomfortable situation and made it better. You’ll have exercised those “control what you can control” muscles and made them bigger and stronger. Next time you face a challenge, you’ll be that much better prepared to deal with it.

And that’s a wonderful thing.