Write good

For anyone to notice your writing, you’ve gotta “write good”. Obviously, this means it doesn’t have to be technically correct (otherwise I’d have said “write well”, so please don’t email me about my intentional grammar mistake). I have the worst technical writing ever. Ask my copyeditor, editor or literary agent. Good writers don’t have to […]

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How to cultivate a writing routine when you run a business

It’s all well and good to talk about using your blog and mailing list to connect with your audience by writing articles. But it begs the question I hear almost daily: How do I create consistent content that I don’t get paid to do? I have a business to run. Content can drive your business. […]

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Creativity-inspired productivity

I’m no productivity expert or life hacks aficionado, but I get asked about it a lot. There are four things I do to get as much as possible done. Focus on one thing at a time I suck at multi-tasking. Not just doing more than one thing at a time, but being interrupted when doing one […]

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How do you get people to notice your business?

A question I’ve been asked a lot is how to get others to notice your work. Whether it’s getting interviewed on podcasts, getting articles published by industry publications or just increasing awareness about who you are and what you do—it’s a fairly common want for folks who run their own business. The problem is the […]

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You don’t hate marketing, you hate what you think marketing is

What is marketing? I want to talk to you about that, because a lot of folks wrongly assume they understand it (and then dismiss it because they think it isn’t important or isn’t for them). For a while, I wrongly assumed I knew what it was as well. When I started my business, I was […]

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The most useful business advice you’ll ever get from me

The Internet isn’t a meritocracy, where we can just do good work, put it on a website and hope others will find it and buy it. Nothing will do this for you — not social media, not Kickstarter, not Medium, not Amazon, and not your blog. Unless you hire yourself to be the publicist/head marketing […]

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Audience growth

The common thread between people who hire me to do websites, consulting, buy my books, listen to my podcast, or take my courses is this: they want a bigger audience. Hell, I too wouldn’t mind a bigger audience of rat people sometimes. I recently gave a talk on audience growth and starting from scratch, and […]

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Build an Audience from Scratch

Let’s say tomorrow I had to start my business from scratch. No existing clients, no existing following. How would I build an audience? How would I attract customers? We’ll suppose all of this, because lots of people start businesses every day without an existing group of people eager to work with them. They know how […]

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Freelancers are going to need to wear a lot of hats

Wouldn’t it be great if being a brilliant artist was all it took to earn a living? We could spend our days with words, canvases and music, creating our art until we dropped of beautiful exhaustion. Rent, food, college funds, insurance could be worries for someone else. Sadly, when art mixes with money, we’ve got […]

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Pricing for freelancers

“Your price is WHAT? You work for yourself, I thought you’d be much cheaper!” It’s something us folks who work for ourselves hear often, especially if we charge premium rates for our products or services. Customers and clients rarely balk at pricing from large companies, but they seem to quickly tighten their purse strings (I’m […]

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Charge what you’re worth

When I started freelancing I charged $25/hour. The price wasn’t what I was “worth”. The price wasn’t even what I wanted to charge. Of course I wanted to charge more. A lot more. The reason I only charged $25/hour was because that was what the market was willing to pay me, i.e. I was getting […]

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How to get clients as a freelancer

Want to get freelance clients? Most people do it incorrectly. As in, most freelancers start out their business like this: They get great at what they do. They build a website that talks about their expertise They set up their social media profiles and start promoting at people. They wait for clients to come to […]

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Qualifying freelance clients

Not enough freelancers know that projects are a two-way street. Meaning: you’ve got just as much say in what you do or don’t get hired to do as the people and businesses that offer you projects. It sounds picky or self-centred or elitist (i.e. only for those who’ve “made it” as freelancers), but it’s not. […]

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The surefire way to turn a profit as a freelancer

Let me spoil the whole article for you in the first sentence: if you spend less money than you make, you’ll be profitable. Seems simple, right? Boring, but simple. Wealth (which is what you earn, minus what you spend) is easier to build up when your spending column is very small. When you work for […]

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Why you shouldn’t take a client’s money

TRUE FACT: As a freelancer, you’re not obligated to work with anyone. That’s why you’re a freelancer. No boss is there to tell you that you have to do this gig or work with this person. You are the boss, so you get to make that call. And your call, if there’s not a good […]

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Positioning yourself as a freelancer

You can find a freelancer labourer on Fiverr or eLance who charges just a couple bucks an hour to complete a task (from web design to copyediting 1,000 words to rapping the lyrics you write). They’re interchangeable, too – if a client gets rid of one, they can easily swap that person out for another […]

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Setting Client Expectations

Many years ago, a woman emailed to ask if I could build her new website. She had heard about my work through a friend, saw my name listed on other websites, and gushed about my portfolio. She clearly wanted to work with me and offered to pay half the project fee upfront, just so we […]

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Common mistakes freelancers make with their business

Most freelancers start their journey in business something like this: They get good at their craft. They build a website. They set up their social media profiles. And then… they wait for clients to hire them. As good as we are at making our art, freelancers miss one of the most important requirements for running […]

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User onboarding: not just for HR and growth hackers

Are you aware of the steps it takes for a client to hire you? What’s involved on their end, and on your end? You might be spending a lot of time doing and explaining the same things, over and over again, for each prospective client. I know I was. And I’ve been working with clients […]

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When you work for yourself, your boss is probably an asshole

Bosses can suck when you’re self-employed (aka: when YOU are the boss of yourself). It’s sort of like there’s two of you. There’s the Creator You who’s doing the actual work and then there’s the Boss You, overseeing everything, making sure deadlines are met and cash comes in the door. The Boss You can sometimes […]

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A manifesto for creative professionals

We are amplifiers. Clients need to bring their skilled craft to the table for any project to succeed. We work on trust. Clients pay us because they trust in what we do and the skills we possess. We’d rather be challenged with innovation than model any project after one that already exists. Every project must […]

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Do what you say you’re going to do

The dishwasher I bought that was supposed to be delivered last week isn’t here yet. I called the delivery company and they aren’t even sure where it is. The quote I requested from a fence company to fix my fence (a project worth a couple grand) still hasn’t come through. I was told I’d hear […]

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Lessons in creativity for freelancers

There’s a weird intersection of creativity, business and money, that can be hard to navigate at times. Here are a few things I’ve learned about making a sustainable living being creative. Get paid for every job you do. Free will always end up costing you. Don’t let anyone try to put your creativity into a […]

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