Word-of-mouth business is the closest thing we’ve got to perpetual motion in the freelance world. Not only are freelance referrals easier to get to sign on the dotted line—because your business has a third-party endorsement—they’re also far more likely to be easy to work with. With rare exceptions, a good client won’t send you a bad client. First, because a good client wants you to succeed. Second, because their own reputation is on the line. (Obligatory note of caution: Be wary of word-of-mouth business from not-so-hot clients, who have a penchant for passing along their equally challenging pals.) [Read more…]
It was August 1999 when I bolted my corporate job and launched Boomvang Creative Group as a full-time freelance writer and editor. If I could step back to day 1 of 19 years of self-employment, here are some notes I would have provided to my future freelance self: [Read more…]
I’ve got a longtime client—more important, a mentor and friend—who does the most amazing, thoughtful networking introductions. You can’t help but feel like a rock star, whether she’s introducing you in person or via email. Not surprisingly, she’s also one of those people who seems to know everyone in town, in any industry you can name.
As freelancers, we can’t exist in a vacuum, because success goes beyond raw creative talent. The market needs to view you as a person who’s connected to other people who can help them accomplish their goals—even if you’re not directly involved in a given project. (See also: complementary freelance creatives.) That takes effort and it can’t happen if you only network with people in your own specialty. It’s an investment in your business. [Read more…]
It’s confession time: I’ve been neglecting my most important client. True, he doesn’t pay the best, he can be a bit loony under pressure, and I’m pretty sure he’s adult ADHD. But, he’s good at what he does and he’s generally amiable, so I stick with him.
As the cool kids today say: IT ME. [Read more…]
What does your ideal freelance client look like? Great (and fast) payer…high-profile (and rewarding) projects…lots of positive feedback…sends plenty of referrals…prompt, responsive, and easy to work with? I agree. Over the course of 18 years of running my own business, though, I’ve found it comes down to this: Do your clients want you to succeed as a freelancer? And do you want them to succeed, too?
I used to know the exact date I walked out of the corporate world with The Box and started my freelance business. Today, I only remember that it was in August 1999. Yep, as of this birthday my business is old enough to vote, buy a lottery ticket, join the army, or drink in Canada and much of Europe. Here, in no particular order, are 18 business lessons from 18 years in business: [Read more…]