As part of FreelanceSwitch’s launch of its new Forums (which is a great resource for freelancers to share and learn from each other), it held a contest that asked “What’s The Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned About Freelancing?“. The prize? A copy of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss.
Being the ambitious and involved freelancer/creative entrepreneur I am, I decided to submit my 2 cents. About 10 minutes ago, I excitedly received an email from Cyan from FSw that I had won myself a copy of The 4-Hour Workweek! :)
Here’s my entry and those of the 4 other winners:
The most important lesson I’ve learned about freelancing is that it’s just as much about love as it is about talent. It’s that simple. Your passion for the work you do supersedes all other aspects of your freelancer life. If you don’t love what you do, everything will be strictly transactional (read: meaningless). If you do, it becomes a dream come true!
So I guess the lesson is: love what you do, or don’t do it at all. If you love it, you’ll work hard, you’ll succeed, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour (what I like to call your Return on Entrepreneurship – or in this case, Return on Freelancing). A simple concept, but one that I think applies to all aspects of life.
Whether it is a small job or a big project, before i start working on it i realised i have to get a written creative brief approved (bullet points will do). If the client does not know how to brief me then after the first meeting, i myself write a creative brief and ask the client to agree on it. If you start with out a creative brief approved then you are shooting in the dark!
Freelancing (or working for yourself) is the only career where you have the ability to say “No.” In every other job, you may be able to say “yes” to many things, at many levels, but you can’t say “No, we should not do that.” There is always someone – a boss, a board of directors, stock holders or investors who can overrule you.
Saying, “No,” to a client, project or request, when you know it is the right decision or when your gut tells you something is not right, is an important skill. Learning to say it in a way that does not harm relationships is one key to freelance success.
Never agree to anything over the phone. There’s no record of what was said and things that get forgotten can lead to disputes later on. Also, if either or both of you are mobile and have poor signals sometimes critical words can get cut out. If there is a need for communication via phone always tell the client that you will write up what you talked about email it to him so he can confirm it for your records and to clarify anything that may be incorrect before moving on.
Respect your boss!
I’d like to share some link love with the other winners, but none of them seem to have their websites in their profiles. Plus, they weren’t linked in the post that announced the winners. (If you’re listed above, leave me a comment and tell me your link!)
I’ve heard great things about the book and it comes just in time for the next stage of my entrepreneurial adventure. I look forward to reading it!