From the Author
I am a freelancer. I've been doing it for a few years and have written for some of the sites you might already be reading: Freelanceswitch.com; Workawesome.com; Donanza.com; and way too infrequently, my own blog, Brandscaping.ca. These are the most notable, but I want to be clear - I am not claiming to be an expert. I love what I do and I love working with the clients I've acquired. This has helped me bring in a comfortable income, but it's not a get-rich-quick gig. I traded my 9am - 5pm job for a 5am - 9pm workday, but being your own boss is a thrill like no other. It demands hard work and requires you to keep the promises you've made to your clients, but if you're willing to put the effort into it, freelancing is much more than something you do while you're waiting for a real job. It's a career choice, and more and more people like you are making this decision every day. When you're ready to put a price on your talent, you're ready to start freelancing. I've written this book based on the lessons I've learned, and I hope you find them useful for your career.
I chose The Fortunate Freelancer as the moniker for this book because I've been told by other freelancers that I'm "lucky": I'm lucky that I have great clients; I'm lucky that I get to charge the rates I've set; I'm lucky to have a supportive wife. They're right, I am lucky, and I'm grateful to be fortunate in these areas, but it wasn't an accident. Before I made the jump to fulltime freelancing, I was working early mornings before I went to my real job, and then again once I got home. I continually refined my pitch in order to get new clients, and once I was confident I could consistently bring in new work, I became a fulltime freelancer.
I went to networking events to meet the people in my community, and I engaged with them to learn more about their needs, the needs of our community, and how I could help with both. I asked my clients what they wanted and when they needed it, and then I gave it to them, but I also offered my expert advice when I saw opportunities that could help their business. Instead of waiting for opportunity to knock, I opened the door and met him as he was walking down my street (yes, that's a terrible analogy, sorry.)
So yes, I'm lucky, but by working hard, working smart, and doing what's best for your clients, you can make your own luck too.
From the Back Cover
If you need additional information or would like to chat about anything freelance related, feel free to contact me on my website or through social media. I love talking about freelancing almost as much as I love doing it!
Chapter One: Is a Career in Freelancing Right For You?
It's no secret. I LOVE freelancing. Is it because I get to work in my pajamas all day? Well, that's not the only reason. Is it because I'm difficult to work with and can't handle a "regular" work environment? Uh, perhaps that's a contributing factor, but again, there's more. Is it because I see the potential benefits for employers and contractors, and the opportunity to create a win-win-win situation? Yeah, it's probably that one.
While there's a ton of freedom that comes with the freelance lifestyle, there's still a fair bit of work if you want to stay in it for the long term. First, you need to find clients. Then you need to demonstrate to them how you can benefit their business and why you're a better option than hiring a new employee. After that, you've got invoicing and bookkeeping, self-promotion, and personal projects. Balancing it all is the key to success (and sanity.)
Like any business, stuff happens. Your client might fire you or you might fire them. They might grow beyond your capabilities, or vice versa. The beautiful thing is, if you've structured things well, losing one client isn't going to change your world drastically, versus losing your job in a traditional environment, which can be personally and financially devastating. If you're not afraid of working hard and you understand the challenges (and benefits) of being self-employed, the freelance life might be a good choice for you.
You might be a freelancer if:
- Your commute to work requires less time than it takes to brew a pot of coffee
- You tell people that you're "conserving water" by not showering
- You've brushed your hair and worn a nice shirt to a video conference call. While wearing pajama bottoms.
- Fuzzy bunny slipper jokes never get funny
- You routinely forget what day of the week today is
- You have the flexibility to work in a coffee shop, the library, or on the beach. You just never do
- You've had to explain to friends/family/spouse that you're actually working even though you're on Facebook