#269: Powerful Freelance Success Lessons from Moneyball

Earlier this week, I re-watched the movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

It’s based on the true story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, who is saddled with one of the lowest budgets in Major League Baseball.

Everything changes when he meets Peter Brand, a young Yale economics graduate who comes at player assessment from a statistical viewpoint.

Not only is Moneyball a great movie, but it also contains important lessons for freelance writers, copywriters and marketing consultants.

In today’s podcast episode, I’ll share three of those key lessons and how they apply to us.

And you don’t need to know anything about baseball to follow along.

The notes that follow?are?a very basic,?unedited?summary of the show.?There’s?a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can?subscribe in iTunes?to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smartphone, tablet or iPod.

The plot continues with Brand using statistical analysis to assemble a baseball team on Oakland’s lean budget.

As a result, the Oakland A’s break baseball’s long-held record of 19 consecutive wins in a season, roaring back from last place in their division.

And Beane and Brand change the game of baseball forever.

You have to try new and bold ideas—and adapt them

Beane and Brand proved that putting together a winning team isn’t about assembling all-star players. It’s about looking at the data and letting that data drive better decisions.

It’s about asking different and better questions and tackling the problem from a new angle.

They took an approach (and made some decisions) that were considered crazy at the time.

The lesson here: In order to achieve the level of success you want, you have to be willing to try new, bold and creative ideas.

The nice thing is that YOU get to decide what you try, when you try it, and how much effort you put into new ideas.

In most cases, what ends up working is an iteration of your original idea, after making changes, adjustments and refinements.

Unfortunately, most people never get that far. If the original idea doesn’t work the first or second time, they give up.

But that’s not how breakthroughs happen.

If you want to make massive improvements in your business, you have to be willing to push through those obstacles and try different flavors of an idea.

You have to be willing to change, adapt, pivot and refine.

It’s about the fundamentals

In this case, Beane saw the genius in Brand’s strategy. Not because Beane was a visionary . . . but because he was out of ideas and had to re-focus.

Specifically, that meant ignoring shiny objects and focusing on the fundamentals.

Everything clicked when Brand reminded Beane about a baseball fundamental: you need to get more of your players on base than your opponent does.

It’s not about home runs or stealing bases.

It’s about getting on base. Period.

Again, freelance content marketers and writers would do well to emulate this approach.

Too many of us think we’ll find some strategy or hack that will turn our situation around.

But that’s wishful thinking. We already know what the fundamentals are.

That that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.

We may still struggle to get clarity on what we need to focus on and how to overcome obstacles.

That’s a big reason why clients hire me to coach them. They need someone to guide them through their journey because they’re too close to it.

Don’t lose perspective

At the end of the movie, Beane is disappointed that his team doesn’t make it to the World Series, in spite of all their success.

He’s lost his perspective and forgotten how far they’ve come.

This isn’t uncommon. People tend to remember the final moments of a string of events more than what took place before.

The phenomenon even has a name: the peak-end rule.

It’s a cognitive bias in which positive or negative moments (the “peaks”) and the final moments of an experience (the “end”) are more heavily weighted in our memory and decision-making.

And so, in his focus on not winning the pennant, Beane lost sight of the fact that they’d accomplished something amazing.

We need others to help us maintain perspective and recognize how much we’ve grown in the process of reaching for big goals.

Because if the actual outcome you’re gunning after is the ONLY thing you care about, you’ll never be happy.

If you haven’t watched Moneyball recently, I encourage you to revisit it.

And when you do, think about how much you can learn from these baseball “misfits” who bucked conventional wisdom—and changed the game of baseball forever.




By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my book.

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here

2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]

3. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.