I got a copy of Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business in the mail last week and have been thumbing my way through it. If you are running a freelance business or thinking of becoming a freelancer this book is a must-have. I’m only half way through it but I’ve learned so much already. Creative, Inc is written by Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco both creative people with plenty of experience in this area. Today I’m posting about the book as part of a the Creative Inc blog tour. I asked Meg and Joy some questions about the book and they were kind enough to answer (see below).
As I side note I assisted Meg and Joy a month or two ago when they were making this cute stop motion video and they were so professional even though they had to lie on the hard ground for 12+ hours. (Go here for the behind the scenes.)
Jordan: You interview a lot of amazing freelancers in the book. What was the biggest surprise or something you learned from some of the people you profiled?
Meg: In the book, it was important for us to share stories and experiences from freelancers from which readers could glean a different and key freelancing lesson. You learn something new from each of the interviews. For me, one of the best lessons was to include work in your portfolio that excites you, even if the work was self-initiated. It’s the best way to not get pigeon-holed into work that you don’t want to do anymore.
Joy: I don’t know that this was a total surprise but more like an absolute confirmation that if you want new opportunities, new clients, and new types of work, being pro-active and being a go-getter is absolutely the best way to accomplish your goals. Most great things don’t just come to you–you have to make them happen. Most of the freelancers we interview didn’t start off with dream clients or the exact type of work they eventually wanted, but they created self-initiated work for their portfolio, they took some jobs initially for very low rates, they approached companies they’ve always wanted to work for, and basically put out there what they wanted. With hard work and perseverance, they slowly started getting the jobs and clients they’ve always dreamt of.
Jordan: I like that you included “Positive attitude” as one of your nine qualities of a successful freelancer. Forgive this question for sounding too chipper, why do you think a positive attitude is so important?
Joy: A positive attitude is everything. As a freelancer, you get work by convincing others that your work and skills (and ultimately you) are worth hiring for a project. Clients (and people in general) respond far better to positive people because who wants to be around (or working with) a Debbie Downer? Also, a positive attitude doesn’t mean you need to be uber happy all the time. It’s more about being able to stay positive even when some projects or clients aren’t your favorite, when thing aren’t going as planned, and being able to make the best out of any situation.
Jordan: I know you have a whole chapter devoted to balancing personal life with freelance career. What are your biggest tips for accomplishing that?
Joy: Scheduling and being organized is key. While one of the best parts of being a freelancer is having the flexibility to work during any hours you choose, being organized and keeping a schedule of your work and personal life really helps to define the two more clearly. That way, you decide what hours you are devoting to your work and at what point your work is “done” for the day and your personal life takes priority. Also, when you schedule personal events into your flexible work day (lunch with a friend, a trip to your hair stylist, etc.), staying organized and keeping to your plans makes it such that you can get that personal time away from the work day.
Meg: I think it’s important to note that giving yourself personal time can really help your freelance career–the time away will help you jump back into your work recharged.