I’ve already talked about the perils of being the Jack of All Trades. Concentrating on a few skills means giving them better opportunities improve, since you don’t have to divide your time among so many different things. So how do you maximize the concentration on your strengths, or to use business–speak, core competencies?
The 70/20/10 model, popularized by Google’s Eric Schmidt, is a great guide.
For our purposes, it basically means spending 70% of your time on your core competencies, 20% on what’s related, and 10% on totally new things.
An example is a good way to explain.
For instance, a freelance writer should:
Spend 70% of his time writing. Or making a living.20% maintaining his equipment, replenishing supplies, making new contacts, or other activities that support the craft.10% on what may seem unrelated, but ultimately beneficial for the freelancer. Such as investing what he’s earned into money–making assets. Or looking for new ways to maximize your abilities.
This gives him enough time to do what he has to do, while at the same time letting him pursue new opportunities.
What is your understanding of the 70/20/10 model?
Some Secrets Freelancers Should Know
Here are secrets that are easy to remember—because they make up a mnemonic!
Even if Darlene writes about “mastering the job search and interview processes” (i.e., she mainly writes about getting into and surviving the corporate world), contract workers and freelancers everywhere will find her “secrets” of success useful. I’ve taken the liberty of reinterpreting them.
S is for Sense of Purpose. An important first step, whether you’re mapping out your freelance career or preparing for your next project. What exactly do you want to achieve as a freelancer? How do you see yourself in a few years? Or what’s the best way to accomplish the task at hand?
E is for Excellence. I’ll be the first to admit mediocrity is soooo easy. But doing your absolute best is also more satisfying than the “what-ifs” left behind by half-hearted attempts. Remember it’s easy to do your best at something you love doing!
C is for Contribution. Finishing projects on time and spec will usually get you paid. I’ve noticed though that taking on projects that seem “to make a difference,” such as designing a poster the university will use to get its message across, are much more satisfying.
R is for Responsibility For Your Actions. You can do what you want, but be prepared for the consequences.
E is for Effort. Don’t kid yourself. Even if the greats make it look easy, attaining excellence is based on a lot fo effort.
T is for Time Management. Time is limited. Which is why making the most out of it is crucial to success. I even wish grade schools all around the world featured a subject devoted to time management. Because the earlier you learn this important skill, the more you’ll be able to do in life.
S is for Stay with it! The word “perseverance” would’ve worked, if only “secretly” made sense. Seriously, seeing things to the end is the only way to get anything done. And your motivation to finish must be thick-skinned against the morale-sapping obstacles.