Welcome to Freelance Friday! Each Friday, I’ll share something Freelance-y that I learned during the week that will help other freelancers or entertain cubicle-queens. Thanks for reading!
Getting better in just about anything requires coaching. But when you’re just getting your business off the ground, it’s a little hard to drop a few hundred dollars on an hour of coaching (even though there’s no question in my mind it would be worth it to consult with any of the people below!).
Enter: the blessing to everyone’s budget, the business blog. I’ve been so grateful to have the following people to mentor me from afar through their insightful blog posts, webinars, and social media rants, all for free. If you’re looking for inspiration on running a business, being awesome in general, or eating Paleo for your health, here are the people to watch!
Ash Ambirge of TMF Project
Ash and the TMF Project is responsible for all of my sass, confidence, and business sense. And her Brandgasm course gave me most of my copywriting confidence. Or, I should say, unleashed my awesomeness and helped me make a career out of this.
Every post, email newsletter, and affiliate newsletter is packed with humor, sass (yes, that word again), and shrewd business advice. It’s the most real email I get each week.
Best Lesson from Ash
The most memorable lesson (though there have been sooo manyyyy) I’ve learned from Ash is to send that friggin’ invoice. When in doubt, act like a boss. Bosses get paid. If you work, don’t be afraid, ashamed, or hesitant to state your rate (with no excuses) and ask for your money when it’s due.
Sarah Von Bargen of Yes and Yes
I started reading Sarah’s blog several years ago. Not only is it always full of things I actually want to read about, but her headlines and images and everything else about her blog is an adventure in learning how to be awesome online. Then she went and started a business blog that helps creative people wrestle their online presence into shape.
If I had to pick an inspiration for starting my own blog, I’m pretty sure it’s hers! It was like receiving permission to run a blog where I just talk about what I want to talk about, free from deadlines, SEO requirements, and keywords. Freedom!
Best Lesson from Sarah V.
The best think I’ve learned from watching Sarah rock it is to be genuine online. I’m still figuring out what that means to me and how to find my people, but she’s shown that that’s how well-desevered success will come your way: finding your voice and being yourself through everything you do. Pandering to any group of people (even if it’s the group you want to be with) is just pandering and nothing will come of it.
Sarah Ballantyne of The Paleo Mom
Besides literally saving my life by providing inspiration and information for the Paleo AIP diet, Sarah Ballantyne is also a grassroots blogger inspiration. She started her blog to share her journey and, through guts and determination, turned it into a career that helps people. If you do anything with Paleo AIP, her name (and the name of her awesome Podcast partner, Stacy) will come up. Her work is the ultimate example of authentic content and information leading the way, and the fact that I happened to benefit from it is (Paleo) icing on the (Paleo) cake.
Best Lesson from Sarah B.
My most influential Sarah B. lesson is to be open to what your body is really saying. You might think you really react to something only to find it’s not that big a deal. On the other hand, you might think your body is totally fine with something else. If you don’t give yourself a chance to start from a clean palate with a Whole30-type reset, you won’t have an accurate view of how your body works and what it needs. Always seek the truth, not “the truth” based on what you like to eat and what you’ve done your whole life!
Penelope Trunk of PenelopeTrunk.Com
Penelope Trunk was my first taste of shrewd career advice that actually applied to my life. Because listen, if you still think the corporate world is the only feasible career path, you’re embarassingly out of date. Penelope (which is weird to write because I know it’s a penname) talks about real trends in career and business that are happening N-O-W. What she says is so scalding sometimes that it feels like it can’t be true, but then you read it and realize that it is. Just awesome.
Best Lesson from Penelope
In general, Penelope is an amazing role model for me whenever I am afraid to say something. With her, it’s never a question of whether or not she should write about what’s on her mind. It’s just a matter of sharing it in the right way with the right purpose. I’m inspired by that kind of bravery (and that level of success from being so brave). I guess you could say I’m inspired by her willingness to embrace an erratic career path, which I am very much on myself right now.
Paul Jarvis of PJRVS
I’ve only been following Paul Jarvis for a few weeks now, but I look forward to his email every weekend. His last one on marketing your eBooks was particularly valuable. My favorite part? Every email has actionable steps. So actionable that the email stays tagged in my inbox for several days until I can unwrap all I need to do and get it done.
Best Lesson from Paul
The best think I learned from Paul (So far) is something that’s taken off in the form of rat t-shirts. (Adorable, right?). It’s that us freelancers (and business people, and humans) don’t need hundreds of clients and you don’t need everyone to want to use your services. You just need to find your rat people and help them see that you’re the one for them.
J.Money of Budgets Are Sexy
I was blogging about personal finance and reading other personal finance blogs for about two years when I learned about the Blogging Mentor program. Unbelievably, I was partnered with one of the biggest bloggers on my blog roll: J.Money! Even better, I discovered I was within driving distance of him at the time and I got to meet with him once for coffee.
Besides just generally being awesome, J.Money is another role model for being yourself and letting the success come. He’s a regular (Awesome) guy talking about money and saying the things a lot of people are thinking. Add to that a crapton of hard work, and voila: J. Money.
Best Lesson from J.Money
On our first call, J. laid out some standard, old fashioned advice that rocked my world: start with the end in mind and don’t do anything that doesn’t bring you closer to your goals. He said it with a lot more slang, I think, though. But it was the first time this advice resonated with me, especially his emphasis that you need to know what you want and then make decisions based on that goal. If you want to freelance, fine. If you want to write a novel, fine. But once you decide what you want, you have to say Yes or No to things based on whether or not they will bring you closer to that goal.
Questions I Still Have
Blogs are amazing for getting insightful but general business advice, personal finance advice, and career advice. But the one thing they can’t do is give customized advice! (And that’s what makes the hourly rate totally worth it, right?). Here are the questions I am saving up for to ask these pros (or any aspiring mentors in the crowd who want to leave a comment :-)):
- Paleo AIP – Do you ever claustrophobic from the need to be near home or a “clean” food source or you’ll have a bad reaction? It troubles me that my overseas/long distance travel options are greatly handicapped, if not near impossible from a position of stress and cost. (I know there’s always ” A Way,” but so far I get dragged down by the huge cooler, spillage, and general not-fresh feeling of eating homemade food on the road).
- Career – Penelope recently wrote about the role of specialization in your career. But what if I really don’t know what I want to be known for? I can see what I’m good at, but I’m paralyzed when I try to plan ahead to sculpt my career more intentionally.
- Personal Finance – Does insurmountable debt ever look less intimidating? Are we destined to have a negative net worth all our lives because of our significant student loan debt? How do you “put money in its place” spiritually while still trying to earn as much as possible to get out of debt? Again, overwhelming.
- Freelancing – How do I learn the gift of gab? I can close business kind of okay, but I run out of things to say on sales calls, ongoing relationship calls, and everywhere in between. It’s like I’m too good of an employee and I want to get right to work. Great for my work ethic, awful for my “Seal the deal” efforts.