Five Things Aspiring Freelance Writers Learn from Warren Buffett (that are not about investing)
Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time. He ranks second in Forbes’ World’s Billionaires. His net worth is reported to be $75.6 billion. He is also a philanthropy, donating at least $33 billion for charity. As if he needs any more introduction.
As one of the richest and most inspiring people in the world, Buffett has also become a source of inspiration, advice, and mentoring. He generously shares strong advice and keeps on spilling the “secrets to success.” More often than not, his advises are useful not just in investment and wealth management, but life in general. Even beginners and even seasoned freelance writers can learn from him.
Here are just three of the things aspiring freelance writers can learn from Warren Buffett:
According to an article, Buffett dedicates as much as 80% of his day reading newspapers and books. He reads and thinks and bases most of his decisions to the knowledge acquired from reading rather than impulse. He learns as much as he can in business segments where he invests in, but he does not invest in any business that he does not fully understand.
Freelance writers, beginners or seasoned ones should dedicate time for studying as well. You might have been writing since you were young, but this might not be enough for you to actually make writing as your bread and butter. You need to study the type of writing jobs you want to do. You can take free or paid courses from udemy, coursera, lynda, and many other sites to study about web content writing, business writing, academic writing, copywriting, etc. You need to find your niche and gain mastery in at least two of these types, but learning some points about other formats will be useful too. Invest in your greatest asset as a freelancer: yourself.
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
Warren Buffett is a self-made billionaire. He humbly describes himself as “patient,” but we can only imagine the amount of hard work and perseverance he did after decades of working his way to the top. His investing strategy is known for being conservative; choosing very few companies within even fewer industries and market segments. He is once quoted saying, “I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.” It seems that he believes in smaller, baby steps towards success, which takes a lot more hard work, perseverance, and patience.
As a budding freelancer, you might be tempted to start big. You leave your day job right away and venture on big projects ASAP. While it may work for some, it does not work for all the time. You might need to start writing as a part-time work and constantly hone your writing skills based on the demands of your target clients. Once you become confident with your unique skillset and your savings can satisfy your basic needs for a brief period, then you might want to start seeking clients for a full-time basis. You will surely experience hardships along the way, but you will not stop. Work hard and persevere until you get your big break.
Yet, you also know that working hard is outdated. In fact, Warren Buffett keeps his calendar mostly empty, but this does mean he is barely working. Rather, he works incredibly hard, but only on things that are important to him. It has been reported that Buffett stopped paying attention to almost anything other than business. His laser-sharp focus on the goals that truly matter to him allows him to work smart. Working hard is out, working smart is in.
You can also apply this principle in your freelancing career. Try to minimize if you cannot completely eliminate the distractions that hinder you from finishing that copy you have been writing for hours or that blog article you have been procrastinating about. In a bigger picture, focus on the type of projects that suits your current skillset and those in line with your vision of what kind of freelance writer you want to be in the future.
While the first three involve habits, the next two involve mindset. A sentiment analysis on Buffett’s letters to his shareholders from 1977 up to the present shows that he is relentlessly optimistic. In most of his letters, positive words significantly outnumbered the negative ones. Buffet’s optimism allows him maximize his hard work, see the bigger picture, and associate with success-minded people. Have you ever heard of Law of Attraction? Renowned author, Brian Tracy, describes it, “You attract into your life the people, ideas, and resources in harmony with your dominant thoughts.”
You need optimism in your freelancing career too. You should filter your thoughts and focus in the positive, to attract positive outcomes too. Have you recently submitted a job proposal via Upwork or signed up your blog for affiliate marketing? Expect a positive result! As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Yet, of course, optimism does not work alone. Combine it with the four other things listed and you’ll succeed.
Warren Buffett is not only one of the richest people in the world, he is also one of the happiest. He attributes his happiness to doing the work that he loves. He loves his work so much, so happy that he “tap dances” to the office every morning—at 86 years old. He advices everyone to find a job that they love and would be happy doing it.
You can do the same with your freelance writing career. Choose to work on the projects that will make your heart skip a beat, rather than sticking with the ones that you would rather not do. If you love creative writing, then choose these types of gigs and minimize technical writing projects, if you really need to work on various projects.
The best thing about Warren Buffett is that his wisdom could be used not just in business and investing, but in life in general. Even freelance writers can relate to his life and works, especially in terms of dedicated study, perseverance, focus, optimism, and love.