Managing your freelance business

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Have you ever been poorly treated by a client who should have shown you more respect? Is your paperwork spiraling out of control? Are you clueless when it comes to business finances?

Business Matters: A Freelancer’s Guide to Business Success in Any Economy walks you through these and other challenges freelancers face—and find they’re often not prepared for. Elizabeth (Bette) Frick has seen it all and generously shares her experience in operating her own business, The Text Doctor LLC.

An expanded and updated collection of columns Bette wrote for the STC’s (Society for Technical Communication) Intercom magazine from 2003 to 2012, Business Matters covers the essentials of succeeding as a freelancer. With 26 information-packed chapters, there’s too much to cover in detail here, but here’s a quick key to what you learn:

  • Assess. Get started or rethink where you’ve been so far. Assess your fitness for independent work; learn how to think of yourself as a business; understand what business plans are for and why you need to write one (Chapters 1-3)
  • Strategize. Identify and pursue the perfect clients for you; find a niche that fits your strengths; know when to accept a project and when to turn one down; learn from your mistakes; avoid isolation by reaching out to others; and much more (Chapters 4-17)
  • Market. Develop a marketing plan that’s right for you; learn from other freelancers which tactics work and which don’t; understand why networking is a permanent element of marketing for independents and how to market yourself effectively (Chapters 18-21)
  • Manage. Face your financial fears and move through them; boost both your confidence and your earnings by tracking your time properly and pricing like a pro; learn proven tips for staying organized and maintaining your sanity (Chapters 22-26)

Because Business Matters started as a column for independent technical communicators (technical writers and editors, medical writers, etc.), it’s written with them in mind. However, other service professionals—project managers, web and graphic designers, photographers, real estate agents, and other independents and consultants—will also benefit from this book.

That’s because a key lesson of Business Matters—a lesson that’s implied in the title and woven throughout the book—is one that transcends any individual field or business: If you want to be a successful freelancer or small-business owner, you must understand how business works. It’s that simple—and that powerful.

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