‘Wealthy‘ and ‘freelancer‘ are not words that I would use together in the same sentence. There’s an incredulous and audacious element about them that makes you want to dismiss a book with such a title.
But it is precisely the audacity of the title that stirred my curiosity. And so after an internal struggle that lasted about a month, I picked up the book in October and didn’t put it down until I read the last page.
The book is written by three successful freelancers and marketing experts. They are Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia. While the authors are copy writers by trade, the strategies that they illustrate in the book are highly relevant and applicable to practically all consulting practices and freelance professionals.
Here is a comprehensive review of The Wealthy Freelancer:
The purpose of this book is to help freelancers or those considering freelancing to build a successful business based on the ‘secrets’ that the authors have personally tried, tested and proved.
Given the economic realities of our time, the authors believe that the concept of ‘work’ is changing dramatically. They believe that as organizations struggle financially, job insecurity is mounting, people are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs, and the freelancing model is emerging as a serious alternative for both employers and employees.
What to expect:
The book begins with a comprehensive definition of what it means to be a ‘wealthy freelancer’. What follows thereafter are 12 chapters that give away the secrets of creating a successful freelance business. Here’s a summary of my favorite chapters.
Secret 1: Master the Mental Game
Freelancers are cautioned that they will encounter huge challenges in their new freelance business. The chapter shows them how to adapt the right mental attitude when this happens, and how to set strong goals that will help keep them focused when things get tough.
Secret 2: Simplify the Process of Getting Clients
The authors introduce a strategy that helps freelancers to obtain more and better clients. In doing so, they also clear up commonly confused terms such as prospect, lead and opportunity. Towards the end of the chapter, this strategy is also repackaged as a trouble-shooting guide that shows you what to do when things go wrong.
Secret 3: Creating Your Amazing Buzz Piece
Definitely my favorite chapter – the authors explain the idea behind a buzz piece and how fundamental it is to shaping the perception that others have of your business. I like that they include a real-life example of what a buzz piece should look like. The greatest value in this chapter is that it illustrates exactly how to use the buzz piece once you have created it. And I think the simplicity of this concept is probably what makes it so powerful in the first place.
Secret 4: Employ High-Impact Prospecting Tactics
I found this chapter to be particularly useful because it demonstrates how to tap into your existing network (both off and on-line) to extract the highest quality prospects for your business. The funny thing is, most of us already employ some of these tactics but the authors skillfully show how to refine your efforts and go deeper into the prospecting exercise.
Secret 6: Nurture Prospects Perpetually
If I were starting over I would probably read this chapter first, and I’ll tell you why. So many of us have made the costly mistake of giving up too soon on prospects who did not appear to be interested at the time. I love that this chapter wisely instructs freelancers to be patient and to prepare a plan of action. The authors illustrate how to skillfully nurture the ‘not today’ group of prospects and thereby increase the chances that they will one day become strong leads. I believe this chapter is a powerful resource not just for freelancers but for every business owner in any industry.
Secret 11: Create Alternative Streams of Income
The whole idea of freelancing is liberating but limiting at the same time. That’s because when you’re not working on your freelance business, you’re not getting paid. This chapter is resourceful in that it teaches freelance entrepreneurs how to exploit other income sources and thereby earn money even when they’re not actively working. An even more liberating concept.
The book is very logical and well organized. Each chapter is complete enough to stand alone as its own comprehensive resource. Yet the flow of ideas and the development of each strategy is smooth and coherent and allows the reader to get involved and drink deeply from the wells of wisdom.
I like that the introduction of the book provides an interactive activity sheet through which readers partake in the brainstorming process. I would have liked to see more of that in subsequent chapters.
Nevertheless even without that level of activity, the book is very powerful in that it helped me to abandon previously held mistaken ideas. For example, the pricing strategy in chapter 7 was an eye-opener that helped me to realize that I’ve been short-changing myself by charging hourly rates instead of project rates.
Another important thing that the book did for me was to reinforce the idea that freelancing was the right choice for me. When I started out as a freelancer, I made some really big mistakes without even realizing that they were mistakes! At times I second guessed myself. After reading this book, I realized that even the authors made mistakes, and they learned from them. And that’s why they’re experts today.
For that reason, I believe the book has achieved its goal which is to guide freelancers in building strategies that will help them become more successful in their work.
Having said all that, I would hope that anyone who wants to take their consulting or freelance business seriously would pick up a copy of this book at Amazon. I would also hope that anyone who has already read this book would vote for it at the 3rd Annual Reader’s Choice ‘Small Business Book Awards for 2010’ that ends on December 15th.