Freelance Grant Writer: 6 Weeks to Summer Success Toolkit

I know, I know, many of us still have our kids at home this summer as summer programs are still closed (ahem), and we may be burned out with being on our screens all the time.

I get it. You need something tangible that you can do today that will move your business forward and pick up some serious momentum. The “Work Smarter, Not Harder’ adage could never be truer than right now.

So first let’s cover what reading this article – and doing the free downloadable – will not do for you.

You will not make a million dollars overnight or get 5,000 clients in 15 minutes.

But here’s what it can do for you:

  • Be the gamechanger that keeps you working in your business this summer
  • Give you the confidence to take it up a notch
  • Provide guidelines that relieve your stress and that looming monster in the back of your mind called procrastination

Literally, when I implemented these strategies, I am teaching you today I revised my book the Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing in less than a day. I also outlined my entire year in one day. Most of the time the big things that move us forward are not the things that take the longest. It is all the seemingly urgent items that clutter up our time. It’s the distractions the lead us to the time-sucking gallows. It’s the guilt and thoughts of what we should be doing but just aren’t that take the space in your mind and turn these priorities into giants.

Sitting down and doing the work. Well, that’s the part that, once outlined, actually gives you energy and that amazing and best emotion of all time: productivity.

So that’s what this will give you today.

Why You Need This

As noted, you might be suffering from feeling like you are not getting very much done at all this summer on your business. Between the kids being home, coffee shops not being as cozy as before, or just general COVID overwhelm there are a lot of reasons you might be in a summer slump with your business.

#1: Take the time to plan and make your environment cozy

#2: Write down what you want to accomplish by the end of 6 weeks

#3: Prioritize your goals

#4: Write down your action steps

#5: The fail-safe step to execute your goals

#6: Have accountability

#7: Celebrate!

#1: Take the time to plan and make your environment cozy

Once again make sure you click here to grab your free downloadable that goes along with this episode. I give you a variety of docs you can print and put in your 6-weeks to Summer Success Binder!

Okay, I know I say this a lot on these podcasts, but yes setting the time aside to plan is essential. But infamous author and speaker Brian Tracey is right when he says,

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives. you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!”

It’s absolutely true!

So, set aside an evening this week or afternoon this weekend. Schedule it in now and do not cancel.

As Oprah Winfrey says, “the biggest gift you can give yourself is the gift of time.”

And just as a little plus, make it a cozy time. For me, I love doing my planning on Sunday mornings. I am a nerd so I usually clean the house Friday night to have a comfy house over the weekend, so I love Sunday mornings when the house is still relatively clean, I’m in my jammies, and drinking a hot cup of coffee. I am super rested so all the ideas and confidence for the upcoming week are zipping through my mind!

So, for you, this super cozy time might be a Monday morning at your desk, when you are all dressed up or it could be after the kids are asleep and you have your time.

#2: Write down what you want to accomplish by the end of 6 weeks.

Now, since this is a freelance specific article, I am going to give you some examples to rock your business.

For starters, six weeks may not seem like a lot of time, but you will surprise yourself! A quarter is 12 weeks and I do a lot of quarterly planning, which is more like a marathon. However, six weeks is a sprint, so it can feel more intense but also a lot shorter and therefore a lot more manageable. But since it is six weeks, I want you to feel the pace of this and get something super powerful done!

In any case, be very specific on your grant writing summer goal. It’s not just, “To make a lot of money” or “To bring in a lot of clients.” You must state exactly how much money or how many clients.

Also, be realistic. It might be great to write, “To bring in $30,000 in six weeks,” or “To secure 20 clients,” but if you have only had one client before at $1,500 that might be unrealistic. On the flip side, if you always get 20 clients over the summer you might stretch yourself to 25 clients or  if you are being smarter about your goals maybe you do reduce your clients, but they are the higher paying clients; i.e. “To bring in 10 clients that pay $5,000 each.”

So, you must find that sweet spot. The best thing is to find something that is realistic but still gives you a little flutter of butterflies.

But at first, don’t hold back! Make your list long and write down everything you want to accomplish in six weeks if you had all the time in the world.

Okay, here are some goal examples:

#1: To make $6,000 by the end of six weeks.

#2: To freshen up my website and lead generator by the end of six weeks.

#3: To start a TikTok social media account and get 500 followers by the end of six weeks.

#4: To be a speaker at 10 Zoom webinars by the end of six weeks.

#5: To get a grant writing certification by the end of six weeks.

This is a good thing, but to list too many things is going to leave you exhausted, frustrated with your kids, and probably discouraged as you may not be able to reach them all.

We get to get the fun part…

#3 Prioritize your goals

Now, go through your list and write down under each one two things:

  • What would it cost you if you don’t do this?
  • What amazing impact it will have if you do achieve this?

#1: To make $6,000 by the end of six weeks.

  1. What it will cost me if I don’t achieve X?
    1. I won’t be able to pay my rent and bills!
  2. What amazing impact if I achieve X?
    1. I won’t have stress because I will be making it
    2. I will have confidence in my business and keep developing my portfolio

#2: To freshen up my website and lead generator by the end of six weeks.

  1. What it will cost me if I don’t achieve X?
    1. I will lose some leads because I have nowhere to send them
    2. I will lose credibility because I don’t have a virtual home for my business
    3. I won’t catch potential customers
  2. What amazing impact if I achieve X?:
    1. I will get the looming monster off of my back, after all, I have been telling myself I need to do this for the last year.
    2. I will start collecting emails and build a list!

#3: To start a TikTok social media account and get 500 followers by the end of six weeks.

  1. What it will cost me if I don’t achieve X?
    1. I will lose potential followers
  2. What amazing impact if I achieve X?:
    1. I will have fun interacting on a new platform

#4: To be a speaker at 10 Zoom webinars by the end of six weeks.

  1. What it will cost me if I don’t achieve X?
    1. Really nothing. I won’t have to prep for it.
  2. What amazing impact if I achieve X?:
    1. I will gain new partnerships and potential customers.

#5: To get a grant writing certification by the end of six weeks.

  1. What it will cost me if I don’t achieve X?
    1. Nothing – this isn’t required.
  2. What amazing impact if I achieve X?
    1. I will build my credibility
    2. I will build my grant writing skills.

Now go through your list and see what would cost you the most and bring in the most income.

Clearly the first goal is a must. And just because you do not choose all of them, that is okay. You can include these in your next 6-week sprint. Remember it’s only six weeks away!

So, for your current six goals listed, honestly, you might just focus on #1: To make $6,000 by the end of six weeks. That one clearly has the most pain and pleasure associated with it!

After all, you gotta pay the bills!

Versus, spending valuable time getting on TikTok, where when you are new on social media platforms has proven to be inefficient for sales conversions! On any social media platform, it normally takes a lot of time to build your platform with organic followers, and even then numerous case studies state that conversion rates for sales are much higher with email marketing versus social media.

But the point of refining your goals is too really hone in on what will bring the biggest impact and reduce the most pain.  If you are clear with this, then you will follow-through and gain confidence.

If there isn’t enough pain or pleasure associated with your goal, then if you include it as a goal you will probably end up discouraged at the end of six weeks because you are super unlikely to actually do it.

#4: Write down your action steps

Okay, now it’s implementation time so you can execute!

Write down every step that needs to be completed to reach your goals.

Also, go ahead and take out your digital or physical calendar and write in all your action tasks for each week. If you already know the day of the week you can work on each task, go ahead and write it in. If it is a continual repetitive task, such as “Follow up on all leads” schedule out a time, such as 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Mondays thru Thursdays.

By blocking your time now, you will still with what is an actual priority. Meeting that $6,000 in six weeks is a priority. So, if other meetings come up at that time – or urgent seeming tasks – you already are booked to work on your real priority. Do not make exceptions! Guard your action steps as if they are the most important items in your day! Because they are!

5. The fail-safe step to execute your goals

Okay, now you got to get to work! You have six weeks to rock your world and get stuff done! But how do you know if your strategy is working?

Well, you made a list of all the action tasks that you think will lead to your goal. Now you need to hold yourself accountable. Schedule out some more of that cozy time each week (usually end of the week or the beginning) and see how many tasks you scheduled and what got down.

For example, you have 5 action steps to get done in week one. Therefore, add up how many tasks you got done and divide by the total action steps. So, if you only got done 3 action steps in week one, you would be at 60%.

3 / 5 = .60

Brian Moran states that on average you need to get done at least 80% of our action steps to reach your goal.

In this way, it’s not that “___________ just didn’t work!” Rather you will be able to see where your strategy fell flat, what you can actually accomplish, and how you best execute your action items.

#6: Have accountability

To meet your goals – and to push yourself to meet at least 80% of your action tasks – accountability is so important!

You can do this in different ways. One way is to work with others and have a brief phone call, a Zoom meet-up, or in-person meeting. This is super helpful!

A lot of times in my Grant Writing & Funding Changemaker Membership private Facebook group, we post completed tasks or talk about monthly goals in the monthly group call. This can put some more heat under you so you get your tasks done, while also providing support for other, and getting inspired by others who are meeting their goals!

If you want some accountability, you can also post in the free Grant Writing & Funding page on Facebook! Just check out @grantwritingandfunding on Facebook!

There are also Master Mind groups that have platforms for accountability, or you can work with a private coach.

#7: Celebrate!

Have you ever heard people say that after a runner completes a marathon, they might enter some depression? Well, believe it or not, the journey sometimes is the joy. Once we reach our summit, if we don’t have an additional celebratory item planned, the actual goal can fall flat. So, make sure you set something up for the end of six weeks.

Some ideas include:

  • Ordering a nice dinner
  • Staycation weekend
  • Mani/Pedi
  • Massage
  • Buying something online or that you have been wanting
  • Netflix day binge
  • Full week off to spend with the family

Schedule something that you will look forward to!

So, go ahead and get your six-week plan done this weekend!

Then tune in next week when I go over how to provide value to your nonprofit clients and what the main mistake I see with Freelancers do!

Once again, make sure you download your free six-week action toolkit by clicking here.

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