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Freelance Fortune: The Newsletter (No. 4: Dec 2009)

This is Seth Kahan’s free, private-roster newsletter that celebrates the free-agent lifestyle while providing techniques to succeed in the marketplace. © 2009 Seth Kahan. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. You may forward this newsletter to others.
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This issue of Freelance Fortune is in sections:
* Use the End-of-Year to Create Your New Year Strategy
* Charles Dickens’ gift to us all: A Christmas Carol
* Professional Development Offerings
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Use the End-of-Year to Create Your New Year Strategy
You must engage in periodic strategic reflection. It is the only way to consistently increase your effectiveness. After all, you are the only one who lives your life, knows your experience, and is capable of truly changing yourself for the better. The end-of-the-year is the perfect time for strategic reflection. The calendar’s conclusion is a natural time to look back.

Here are five simple and effective ways to make the most of December’s end to improve your life and business:

1. Do a Day-by-day Review of the Year. I pull out my calendar for the past year and write down every engagement I had, listing them all on a single sheet of paper. For each I include (1) the length or date of the engagement, (2) my client’s name, and (3) how much I earned. Then, I look at the whole sheet and ask myself what I want to do more of and what I want to do less of. I put little pluses (+) next to those that represent what I want to do more of. This is part one of my New Year Strategy.

2. Identify A New Area You Want to Master. Two years ago it was writing for me. I found writing a challenge, difficult. My first 1400 word article ruined a perfectly good week-long vacation with my wife. I really struggled.

But, I knew that writing was an important way to communicate and I determined that I would master it. Today I write 12 blog posts per week in less than 3 hours, keep a personal poetry journal, publish this newsletter twice per month, and I just finished the final edit of my first commercially published book, coming out this May. I wrote the book in 2 1/2 months of disciplined writing, about 90 minutes in the morning 5-6 days/week.

It is not always easy. But, I have watched myself improve steadily. I am not yet where I want to be, but I have made real progress. What will you choose? Pick something that you want to master and make the commitment. This is part two of my New Year Strategy.

3. Identify Your Business Growth Intentions for the First Half of the Next Year. I like to work with a six-month timeline because I find it manageable. In order to achieve my goals I have 2-3 months to ramp up and 3-4 months to get results. In the second half of 2009 I focused on reaching two groups: association CEOs and Independent Consultants. I now have a growing practice with both. What are your growth intentions for the first half of 2010? This is part three of my New Year Strategy.

4. Use Downtime over the Holidays to Reflect. I count on slow moments, naps, reading quietly, early morning walks, bird watching, and special times with family to bring me the distance and peaceful joy I need to take a wider view of life. I look forward to these personal experiences, knowing their power to be both immense and subtle.

5. On New Year’s Day Create a 2-page Document that Pulls All This Together:
  1. The one-page list of all your engagements
  2. A new area to master
  3. Business growth intentions for the next six months
  4. Personal reflections on life
This short doc is a great reference for gong forward. There is something powerful about the simple act of documenting your intentions. In fact, each of these five simple acts is profound in its impact and the synergy of the collection is extraordinary. Time to reflect and listen to your inner wisdom is irreplaceable – you must do it.

To achieve an exceptional life, reflection is mandatory. The time when the end of one year meets the beginning of another is perfectly fitted for it.

This work is deep and elemental, with a quiet power. Draw on the natural rhythm of the calendar and use it to your benefit.
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Charles Dickens’ Gift to Us All
My favorite holiday story is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love the transformation Scrooge goes through. I read the book almost every year at this time and make it a point to watch one of the theatrical versions – my favorites are the two TV versions, one starring George C. Scott and the other, Patrick Stewart.

Scrooge’s metamorphosis is unanticipated by him and grows from his heart, which starts out dormant, cold, and dark. Dickens has created a powerful and compelling narrative that always calls me to reflect on my place in the world.

I love his text. I am inspired by the prose and the message. By the conclusion, this cynical, old miser has tapped his spirit of forgiveness and charity, igniting its profundity in his life and others. And it all happens in less than 100 pages. Join me this year. Take an hour or two and give yourself the gift Dickens created for us all.
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My Professional Development Offerings

January 8 Workshop in Washington, DC: 2010 PowerCharge!
A full day session dedicated to accelerating your business in the year ahead. This workshop is for you if you are serious about increasing your business growth fast and early in the year. It will be a tour de force of content culled from my years of experience as an independent consultant.
Topics will include:
» Identifying & Meeting Your Best Clients
» What to Say When You Contact Potential Clients
» Building Your Brand so Clients Come to You
» Mastering Time Management
» Website & Internet Strategy
» Managing Your Head for Success.
Price: $800 / $400 for members of my Mentor Program. Either way, a small price to pay for the returns you will realize. To register, visit SethWorkshop.com

Seth Kahan’s Private Roster™ Mentor Program
This unique program is the most powerful, customized way I can help you get the results you most want from your work. My relationship with my mentor has been the single-most valuable self-learning tool I have wielded to improve the quality of my worklife. It increased both my revenue and my effectiveness beyond what I imagined was possible. If you want to see better results, consider bringing me in as your personal expert to help you achieve what you are capable of. When you enter my mentor program, here is what you get:
  • An initial interview to identify your business goals and evaluation by me of your approach.
  • Unlimited access to me for six months to help you with every aspect of your business.
  • Access to a global mentoring community where you can ask questions 24/7 via an online forum, with access to world-class consultants around the world.
  • Resources such as proposal templates, lists of questions to access clients, frameworks for establishing business offerings, audio and video files, newsletters; mastermind groups; international mentor summits and much more.
  • All teleseminars I produce during your participation are provided to you free of charge. Discounts to both my workshops and the workshops of Alan Weiss, my mentor.

You may take your choice of one of three programs:

The Regular Program – Six months of unlimited access to me by e-mail, phone, fax, regular mail – or in person, if convenient for both of us. I help people strategically (how to set fees, how to gain visibility, how to position and market your practice, etc.), and tactically (what to say at the meeting tomorrow, critiquing proposals, overcoming objections, etc.).

The Guided Program – Just like the Regular Program, plus I provide you with a detailed game plan with specific completion dates, and formal, scheduled contact times to discuss accomplishments and any obstacles preventing short-term tasks from being completed.

The Total Immersion Program – This consists of two days with me, at my home/office, to learn how I handle clients, prospects, office management, invoicing, interruptions, writing, etc. We also spend considerable time on your strategy and goals, and create plans to move forward. You then enter the Regular Mentor Program for six months. For more information, including fees, and to register, visit SethMentor.com

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Seth Kahan (Seth@VisionaryLeadership.com) is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder of Seth Kahan’s CEO Leaders Forum, a year-long learning experience for CEOs in Washington, DC. His next book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, will be published in Spring 2010 by Jossey-Bass.

Visit all of Seth’s blogs:
Leading Change for Fast Company Magazine, GettingChangeRight.com for more info on Seth’s upcoming book, FreelanceFortune.com for tips on how to succeed as a free agent Follow Seth on Twitter. Learn more about all of Seth’s work through his website: VisionaryLeadership.com

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