In the financial world there is an acronym, ROI which is short for return on investment. Whether you're a broker, trader, or are too scared to look at your bank statement or investment portfolio you're probably familiar with the term. In layman terms it is how much you get from what you put in.
Years ago I met up with a mentor of mine to pick up a check for a project we just finished. We ordered a drink and sat at a table to catch up and review the work that had recently been delivered. After a few minutes he asked me how things were going and what additional projects I had lined up. I was going through an emotional low and shared that I was not getting the type or work nor the amount of work I had desired.
Fully understanding what it is like to be in that position my mentor empathized with me and then at the appropriate time asked me a simple question:
"How much effort are you putting into finding work?"
At the time I was going to school and working late into the evenings on any work that came my way, often waiting for it to fall in my lap. I knew the answer to his question right away—I wasn't putting much effort into it at all.
"If you put 0% in, you get 0% out Dan—it's simple math."
Working freelance I realize the work I do is directly related to the effort I put in every single day, for me now it is a no-brainer. I wake up every morning, make breakfast, check my email and get to work—all before a project inquiry hits my inbox.
A friend of mine recently shared "if you wait for the project brief to hit your desk to start your work, you're already too late".
At this point in my career I know that what work I have cut out for me every single day whether I am doing project work or personal work. Surely you have heard the Pablo Picasso quote "inspiration exists, but it has to find you working", I believe in that wholeheartedly.
We have all been there, there are highs and lows in life and it can be easy to become discouraged when you're not receiving an influx of work, but in those moments you cannot stop. Press on, work hard, and do it every day. You never know who will respond to your efforts.