Luck & How to Prepare for It
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~Seneca
I have a client who is widely considered to be lucky. She’s a freelance writer who’s working steadily while all across the US right now, people are struggling. Sure, it wasn’t always this way for her. She worked for years operating under the catch-as-catch-can system. Work hard then worry. Work then worry, like so many independent contractors, consultants, and solopreneurs who rely on word-of-mouth advertising. So, how did she become the lucky stiff she is today?
How to Be Lucky: Preparation
When my client came to me for a website, she didn’t have any grandiose ideas about what her site could do for her. She didn’t think it would make her the top freelance writer in the world who would be discovered by Lorne Michaels for her wit after she was sent around the world by National Geographic. She just wanted to:
- Highlight her skills and experience for people who might want to hire her
- Support her existing word-of-mouth business
- Get more traction (and a cleaner design) than her LinkedIn profile provided
How to Be Lucky: Opportunity
I developed a site for her that highlighted her skills and experience (which were considerable), and her business exploded. Now she’s the luckiest freelance writer she knows, and here’s why:
- Convenience: The people who wanted to recommend her felt more comfortable doing so with a website to point their friends and colleagues to because that’s how business is done now. We click a link and send a message.
- Professionalism: The people who needed her services felt more confident hiring her because her website shows she’s a serious professional not just a friend of a friend who writes sometimes.
- Awareness: The people who already hired her could see the other types of jobs she tackles and hire her for different kinds of work.
How to Be Lucky in Business: The Formula
If luck is the marriage of preparation and opportunity, then the formula for luck in business is easy:
- Work hard to build your skills (Preparation)
- Do good work (Preparation)
- Cultivate satisfied clients who are willing to recommend you (Opportunity)
- Make it easy for people to recommend you with a professional presentation (Opportunity)
A great website is the modern equivalent of a good suit. It’s not going to make your work better, but it’ll get you the right kind of attention (even if you’re in your bathrobe).
How to Stay Lucky: Appreciation & Belief
The way to stay lucky is to appreciate it. Once you start treating your opportunities as burdens, your work as hard labor, and your preparation as administrative drudgery, well, that’s when the lucky streak is broken. Sure, it’s a delicate balance. You have to:
- Keep moving forward without feeling frustrated by what you don’t have
- Challenge yourself while taking time to savor victories
- Look for the upside to failures or disappointments
While it couldn’t be more simple that the harder you work, the more luck you have, luck is also a mindset. To misquote Henry Ford, whether you think you have good luck, or you think you have bad luck…you’re right.