What do you need to know when you’re starting freelancing?
Can you say ‘no’ to work? Is it ever okay to fire a client? In this episode, Paul and Kaleigh share their answers to these questions and talk about the things they wish they’d known when they started freelancing.
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Kaleigh Moore: So Paul, I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a freelancer is that it’s so important to be friends and to make friends and to kind of put it on your to-do list to find other freelancers who do what you do, or that do similar work, and to be friends with them.
It’s kind of a simple idea, but I feel like it’s been one of the biggest things that’s changed my freelance business and my freelance career over the past four years. And, I wanted to know what you thought about that. Do you think that making friends is important for the business or just kind of a nice-to-have?
Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I think it is 100 percent important because I think we all kind of like … I think we know this to be true, but we don’t pursue it or make it a process. And it’s a fact that business is 100 percent relationships. Business, it doesn’t matter what level, from freelance to Fortune 500 companies, it is who you know, right?
So the more people you know, the more people … And I’m not talking about whatever it’s called where you email somebody and then you ask them for something. We’re definitely not talking about that, where it’s like, just try to know as many people as possible so you can use them in the future for your own benefit. We’re talking about actual friendship friends. People that you talk to about things that aren’t work as well. Because I think that that, one, benefits your mental health, kind of important, but, two, I think is a great benefit to your business.
So I want to hear … So how did you come to this, and why do you think it’s beneficial, and in what specific ways has it been beneficial to you? Go.
Kaleigh Moore: So, when I started freelancing, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to get new clients. But I knew that I had a couple referral people and that those almost always panned out when I had an introduction to an opportunity from somebody who already knew me.
So, that’s kind of the first time I started figuring out that having friends who either are freelancers, or who work within in the industry I’m trying to work within, that that was a really helpful thing for the business because not only did those people know and trust me and, you know, were willing to introduce me to people who had opportunities for work, they were almost pre-qualifying me for jobs that were a good fit for what I did because I wasn’t just some stranger to them. You know? They knew exactly the type of work that I did. They knew me as a person. And so, that was a great opportunity as far as getting a foot in the door for new opportunities.
So that was one part of it. And then the other part was the longer I freelanced … I live in the Midwest, I live in a pretty rural area so there’s not a lot of … There’s not co-working spaces, there’s not meetups or anything like that around me and I found that I was getting really lonely and kind of feeling isolated as a freelancer as I got further into my career. So I started being really deliberate about trying to make friends, which sounds kind of sad now that I’m saying it out loud, but I-
Paul Jarvis: This is so important though, cause I wanted to bring that up as well. It does … It sounds … I don’t think it sounds sad, I think it just sounds awkward, like … But, continue because this is super, super important, so continue.
Kaleigh Moore: Yes. So I started reaching out to people that I wanted to get to know better, whether they were … Sometimes they were freelance writers doing similar work to what I was doing, sometimes they were people in the e-commerce world or the software as a service industry. They were just people that I kind of felt out online, whether it was through Twitter or Instagram, whatever, and we kind of had similar interests. So I would say, “Hey, do you want to have a virtual coffee chat sometime and get together for 30 minutes?” And we’d just kind of get to know each other a little bit better.
It wasn’t … I wasn’t going into those like, “Hey, maybe you’ll hire me for some work.” There wasn’t an ulterior motive to those activities, but I found that the more I did that and the more I got to know people better, it just kind of organically lead to new opportunities. I was never asking for them, but as people got to know me better and know the services that I offered, what my goals were for the business that I had, it just happened.
So I started doing that more regularly. And like you said, it was good for my mental health, it made me feel more connected, despite the fact that I live in a town with not a lot of people in the middle of a cornfield. It was just-
Paul Jarvis: I’m picturing that as literal as well.
Kaleigh Moore: Basically is so-
Paul Jarvis: It’s like your house is just in the middle of nowhere.
Kaleigh Moore: … that’s accurate. But yeah, it just totally changed the way I felt about the business and the income that I was making, too. So, two major benefits to this type of activity for sure.
Paul Jarvis: So on Monday, September 14, 2015, at 9:13 a.m., I got an email from you. Do you remember this?
Kaleigh Moore: Yes! I do.
Paul Jarvis: Because, now we work together teaching creative class, but in 2015 you emailed me and you were just like, “Hey, how’s it going? If you have 15 minutes to chat this week, I’d love the chance to talk. I’m pretty open just let me know.” And I was like, “Cool,” cause I knew who you were on Twitter and stuff like that and I was like, “Cool,” and then we talked on Skype just about, I think, random things, maybe a bit of business-
Kaleigh Moore: Yeah.
Paul Jarvis: … but mostly just other stuff and that started our relationship. We got to know each other a bit better and we passed emails back and forth for a couple of years. And then when you contacted me earlier this year … I can’t even remember what it was. I think you were contacting me saying something about when I was looking for some testimonials or some case studies for a creative class and you had a really good one. And you said something that I was like, “Oh my God, this is super smart,” and I can’t even remember it is…But it was something about how you could help. It could benefit my business in a specific way if you helped with writing a case study or something … I can’t even remember what it was, maybe you remember better than me.
Kaleigh Moore: Yeah, I think it was templates or something like that.
Paul Jarvis: Yes, templates.
Kaleigh Moore: Or add-ons for the course.
Paul Jarvis: Yeah, and you said how and why specifically it could help the business. And I was like, “I know … I know Kaleigh.” We’ve talked a bunch of times, we’ve talked on Twitter, we have some mutual friends now as well. And I was like, “This kind of makes sense.” I only like working with people that I know. It’s probably bad-
Kaleigh Moore: I think most people do.
Paul Jarvis: Yeah, but like- I hate … We’ve discussed this at length in other episodes. I don’t like vanishing people so I only want to work with people who I know are just gonna, like, beast-mode, get stuff done.
And when you said, “Oh I can help with this,” I was like, “I think you can help even more, how about you just become a partner in the course completely?” And then luckily you said yes as well, but that was … When you emailed me in 2015, that was definitely not … I’m speaking for you here, but that definitely … Unless it was on your radar and you’re some …
Kaleigh Moore: No, not at all.
Paul Jarvis: … crazy mastermind like Dr. Claw with your cat. I can’t remember what Dr. Claw’s cat’s name is from Inspector Gadget.
Kaleigh Moore: Me either, it’s escaping me.
Paul Jarvis: Anyways, total tangent. But, yeah, so I think, it just … Having business relationships with people, or friendships with people, can turn into things that you don’t … Your intention shouldn’t be to get something from that other person, but I think if you’re open to it and if you’re just open to making friends, which I … And I brought this up when you were telling your story that it’s hard to make friends as an adult. And I know for me, my wife and I have moved around a lot as adults. Like, a lot, a lot, to different cities, different … very far geographic regions and it’s tough to make friends.
Kaleigh Moore: Mm-hmm.
Paul Jarvis: And you live in the middle of a cornfield in the Midwest. I live in the woods on an island where there is nothing. There’s I think … Oh sorry. There are two people who work in tech where I live out of about 900. I know both of those two people, just because I too like to try to network and make friends with people. And one of them is in cryptocurrency. The other one’s in this weird large building automation and stuff. But there isn’t a co-working space in the woods.
Kaleigh Moore: Of course not.
Paul Jarvis: We don’t meet each other at the ocean or anything like that, but it is good to … It would be cool … So, one of the guys … I do … We do go hiking and stuff like that together. But I think that, one, it’s difficult, but, two, I think it’s really important. Even like, I’m super introverted. I’m so antisocial. And it’s funny, and I don’t know if you’re the same way, but before hanging out with somebody, I’m always like, “I totally don’t want to do this,” and I’m thinking up in my head excuses I can make to get out it, but then I do actually go hang out with somebody and I’m like, “What was I thinking before? I’m having a lot of fun. I’m enjoying having a conversation with another human being.”
Kaleigh Moore: Yeah … I mean … And that’s … If you work remotely from home alone and there’s nobody there to be your co-worker … Even if it’s just to bounce ideas off of, or to rant or to celebrate when something goes really well, you don’t have those people, so it’s good to have different channels that you can go to for that type of interaction or to have people that you can hop on a Skype call with, whatever it may be, because otherwise you’re going to get lonely and you’re going to be like I don’t want to freelance anymore, this isn’t fun, I’m lonely all the time, I’ll just go back to a normal job.
Because I know that I’ve thought about that, I know that other freelancers I’m pretty close with have had the same kind of back and forth waffling over, so I think that it’s … I think it’s something that a lot of freelancers really struggle with and I, again, I don’t see a lot of people talking about it, so I’m glad that we’re discussing.
Paul Jarvis: So, what are those … Cause you mentioned having channels to chat with other freelancers is important. What are the channels that you have and that you use for-
Kaleigh Moore: So, I use Twitter.
Paul Jarvis: … for friends?
Kaleigh Moore: Yeah, I use Twitter mostly, I kind of work in sprints throughout the day, so on my breaks in between those, I check in on Twitter. I might go back and forth with a few people there. I’m also in a couple of good Facebook groups that are pretty active, I’m on a couple Slack channels with different types of people. And then I just recently started a virtual Mastermind group with a couple other women who work kind of in the content-type world. Kind of the same industries. A little bit of software, a little bit of e-commerce.
So, again, and I also always … At least two or three times a month, I try to put it on my calendar with a new person or with somebody that I had a coffee chat with before and it went really well. I try to make those a regular part of my month so that I’m being really deliberate about staying connected and meeting new people and really making it a priority because otherwise that time just gets filled up with other work or wasted on Twitter. You know, down the rabbit hole of Reddit, whatever it may be.
So, yeah, I think that those channels are great ways to find other people and to start making those connections that are helpful down the road for a lot of different reasons.
Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I want deconstruct how you started your Mastermind group a bit, though. Can you talk- Can you talk about that? Cause I know a bunch of people who’ve asked. Because I’m also in Mastermind group and that’s … I think we’ve been going for two-and-a-half years. They actually just came to the island where I live on and we hung out in person, in real life, kind of scary, for like … but it was pretty awesome … for two days, as well, which I think was really good. So how did you … Cause I get the question a lot … Well, Mastermind group sounds great, how do you start it and whatnot? So kinda walk us through how that came about and the nuts and bolts of starting it worked.
Kaleigh Moore: It was really pretty simple. I reached out to another freelance … Well, she’s not freelance anymore, but she works with similar clients that I work with. She does content creation. But I said, “Hey, I heard Nathan Barry at SumoCon last year talk about how beneficial his Mastermind group was. I think that we need to have one for women who are kind of in the world that we work in.” And so, she came up with a handful of people, I came up with a handful of people that either I already knew that were in that world, or that I wanted to get to know better. And we just said, “Hey, we’re gonna get on a Google Hangout for this first meeting, just kind of introduce each other, get to know what we do, and we’re gonna make this a regular thing.”
And, you know, we had … I sent out an email that had kind of some nuts and bolts, I explained why we were doing this, I outlined the benefits for each person we invited, I set some basic parameters, so like if you don’t show up for two calls, we probably won’t invite you for the next one, just to kind of add some accountability. And, we set a topic for each time, so either it’s troubleshooting if a person has a particular problem that they want to work on, we always have some sort of theme so we’re not just getting there and like, “Hey, how’s it going,” super awkward. We have some sort of agenda that we’re working on and a set time frame. We usually do about 45-50 minutes.
And so, we are getting ready for call number three. It’s still pretty new. Call number three is next Monday and it’s been great so far. I really like it. And I hope that one day we can all get together and meet up in person because I think that that would be … I think that’d be great. I think that would be a nice group of people who as we chat more we’ll get to know each other better and it’ll be a great core group of people who have a lot in common and know a lot about each other.
Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I like the way that you’ve set that up. And I think … To go back to the first point about important to make friends and to get to know people. I think it would be, and correct me if I’m wrong, it would be harder to come up with people for a Mastermind group if you weren’t already networking and connecting with others, yeah?
Kaleigh Moore: Right, I think that’s true.
Paul Jarvis: Cause you were very specific and deliberate with the type of women that you reached out to to join the group.
Kaleigh Moore: Right, it wasn’t just anyone, it was a pretty strategic group of people.
Paul Jarvis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And so how often do you all meet?
Kaleigh Moore: We meet once a month.
Paul Jarvis: Cool. And is there … And I’m just super curious about this … Does somebody take notes? Or do you all take notes?
Kaleigh Moore: I do, yeah.
Paul Jarvis: Cool.
Kaleigh Moore: And then I send out an email after every call. And it’s, I mean, it’s very loose structured. There’s not … It’s just we get together and we chat. It’s still pretty new too so I think it might evolve with time, but so far it’s been nice just getting to know these other women who I see all the time in the same circle as me, and- I really wanted to know more about their work and what their struggles are and what’s going really well. Things like that. So this has been great for that.
Paul Jarvis: And I like that there is a topic for each one. Right? I think that that’s really cool to do. I hadn’t thought about that, but I like that idea a lot because then it’s not just … Yeah, like you said, it’s not just sitting awkwardly like, “Hey! What are you working on today?”
Kaleigh Moore: Yeah, “How’s it going?”
Paul Jarvis: Cool.
Kaleigh Moore: Structure’s good.
Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I like that a lot. And I think that … So, I think there’s two kinds of Mastermind groups. So I think the first one is the one that you and I are talking about where it’s a group of peers where everybody, not necessarily in the exact same place, but everybody’s in kind of a similar place so it’s easier to empathize and relate to everybody doing kind of similar work. Doesn’t have to be similar work, but doing something where you understand it enough to be able to offer helpful suggestions.
Kaleigh Moore: Right.
Paul Jarvis: I think the other kind of Mastermind group, and where I’ve seen a lot of people kind of sour the idea of a Master … My wife call … I keep, in my brain, I keep wanting to say Masters of the Universe, cause my wife calls it weekly Masters of the Universe call. But it’s a Mastermind group, we’re not playing He-Man scenarios.
Anyways, but I think that the other type of Mastermind group that I think has soured some people, not everybody cause I’m sure they exist where they’re good, is where you pay to be in a Mastermind group where there’s somebody who’s further along in the journey than everybody else in the group and then it’s kind of like a structured, led group, coaching Mastermind group?
Kaleigh Moore: Right, I’ve heard of those, too.
Paul Jarvis: Yeah.
Kaleigh Moore: I haven’t been part of one, but yeah I know that that’s the other kind.
Paul Jarvis: Me either. Yeah, and I think that that’s very different where ours are just a bunch of peers talking to other peers about things that those peers are dealing … I’m just going to say peers a whole lot of times.
Kaleigh Moore: All of the peers.
Paul Jarvis: All of the peers. Anything else that you wanted to add to this? I think that this is really good. I’m so glad that I learned about your Mastermind group as well.
Kaleigh Moore: Yeah, no, I think it’s great to … I mean if you don’t have those things nearby like me, if you, either it’s where you live or you can’t find the right group of people that you mesh with, I think thanks to the internet there are so many opportunities for kind of building your own or finding ones to join. I think it’s just a matter of making it a priority and really committing to, “Hey, I really need to do this for myself. I know that it helps me feel better about the work that I’m doing. It keeps me sane. It helps me have some outside perspective.” Because it’s very easy to stay in your own bubble, that’s for sure. Been there. But, yeah, I think doing this, and making it a priority is just smart. It’s smart for your business, it’s smart for your mental health. It’s just a good thing. It’s fun.
Paul Jarvis: I totally agree, especially after hanging out with those peeps in real life. It was really … So, I’ll end with that cause kind of an interesting story is that … It’s really … I feel like we got a lot deeper into a lot of conversation … Cause I’ve been talking to these people for a couple years now and I hadn’t met either in real life. My Mastermind group is really little.
Kaleigh Moore: Interesting.
Paul Jarvis: And it was interesting that we … I felt like we could get a lot deeper in a lot of subjects that were continually coming up with each other. Cause we know, at this point, we know each other really, really well. We’re Masters of the Universe together, or something. So, I felt like I don’t think having the things in person is necessarily like you need to do this, but it was interesting to see how the dynamic of the group changed in person in a good way, like how we could really … Cause we care about each other.
Kaleigh Moore: Right.
Paul Jarvis: These people are people that I really care about cause I’ve got to know them over years of time. And we could really … really push each other pretty hard about things that we were hung up on or things that we were struggling with and really get some decent answers. So I thought that was really interesting as well. And I was against the idea. Straight up honesty. I was against the idea of hanging out with them. Not because I didn’t want to, but just because if I don’t have to hang out with people, it’s like eh? But again, I was like, “Oh I kind of resist this.” And then when I was hanging out with them, I was like, “This is so much fun, these people are so fun.”
Kaleigh Moore: Aww.
Paul Jarvis: So, yeah-
Kaleigh Moore: Now I’m super excited. Now I want to have an in-person meetup. Maybe I should get to know them a little bit better first, though. One of the people in the group I met up with in person, and it was fantastic, but I’ve never done a larger group before, so that might be different.
Paul Jarvis: So we can, we can, we can just say thank you very much for listening to this episode and we’ll see you next time.
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