Book Review: Brilliant Freelancer by Leif Kendall

Books, Marketing

Title: Brilliant Freelancer

Author: Leif Kendall

Publisher: Pearson Education

Published: 2011

ISBN: 978-0-273-74463-4

Genre: Business

RRP: £12.99

What I was looking for: As a writer, I believe that you can never know everything, and we should always seek out ways to educate and better ourselves. Which is why it’s so good that I love to learn new skills whilst improving existing ones, so my goal was really to find a book on online marketing to discover new ways to promote myself that I might not have previously thought of. Skills like this are also incredibly useful to have to offer to potential clients.

Recently I’ve felt like I’ve been struggling with figuring out new and better ways of promoting myself, so marketing had felt like an obvious genre to aim for.

The Challenge: The problem with an area like marketing is that almost everyone seems to have something to say about it, which means that the  Business Section in Waterstones was practically full of books shouting at me to buy them. Of course, each one of them seemed to be begging to be bought. But with prices varying from the cheap £6.99 all the way up to the pricely sum of £44.99, it can feel like a mind field of questioning if the genre is a “you get what you pay for” area.

Why did I choose “Brilliant Freelancer”? Admittedly, Brilliant Freelancer wasn’t entirely what I went into Waterstones looking for, why? Well, it’s hardly a book on marketing per se. There were a couple of things that drew me to the book though:

  • The fact that it was a book for freelancers was the biggest lure, purely because every other book felt more like it was aimed at companies, but I’m not a company, I’m one girl working on my own as a freelancer. So, it was nice that I would be able to relate more deeply to the issues that were raised in the book.
  • It was also quite nice that the author was not only a freelancer himself, but a freelance writer, making me feeling even more confident that I’d be able to relate to his experiences.

What features in the book: The book comes in six parts, each of which focus on a specific area of Freelancing that are important to understand and know about. The parts are:

Part One. The freelance essentials: what you need to know before you take the leap

  • Although mainly irrelevant to me personally, as I’m already an established freelance writer, I found the chapters in this section to be quite interesting, purely because it reminded me and drove home why I went freelance, and how much staying self-employed means to me. I think it just confirmed, within my own head, how much I love my job.

Part Two. Finding freelance work: how to find the most profitable and manageable work

  • Unsurprisingly, this was the section that I was most interested in. However, although I did learn a few things and picked up a couple of websites that will be useful to my business, the majority of information I already knew. That was of course a little bit of a shame.

Part Three. Manage your clients (before they manage you)

  • Initially this was a chapter that I didn’t expect to find anything new. However, I’m glad I read it, because it taught me to recognise my own self-worth as a writer. For too long, I’ve felt under-valued by over-demanding clients who aren’t willing to pay more than a couple of dollars for work that takes a hour to do.
  • Although it didn’t feature specifically in this chapter, on page 43, Kendall says something that supports this so well:

Clients who prioritise cost above all else are rarely good clients – and do you really want a client who only likes you because you’re cheap?

Funnily enough, no I don’t and I have come across a lot of clients who have been rude (and sometimes even aggressive) because I’m not willing to dedicate several hours of my time for the measly sum of $1 per hour.

Part Four. Motivate yourself and get stuff done.

  • I loved this part, because Kendall didn’t just focus on the obvious stuff like writing to-do lists (although he did of course cover this). Instead he also covered areas that I hadn’t even thought of like how both diet and exercise effect how you work.

Part Five. Protect yourself: finances, cash flow, credit control and contracts

  • When I first started out as a freelancers, finance and keeping records, as well as tax was the biggest aspect that had put me off. I convinced myself that it would be confusing, and I wouldn’t be able to do it. Luckily, I was convinced otherwise, and as the chapters in this section evidence, financial stuff might not be the most exciting part of being self-employed, but it isn’t too difficult, at least not when you’re starting out.

Part Six. Next steps – and beyond!

  • As someone who is already working freelance, I was definitely interested in this section, because I’m always looking for new ways to expand my business and help it to grow. Admittedly, a few of the ideas are ones that are more a few years away for me, but it’s important to have big dreams to aim for.

What the book worth the money? It really depends what you’re looking for. Whilst the book is initially aimed at people thinking about moving into the world of freelance there is a lot of useful information to get current freelancers thinking.

Unfortunately, getting you thinking is all this book will really offer. It pushes you to do a lot of stuff, but never goes into a lot of detail. In a way this is good, because it’s forced me to do more research into moving my business forward, but in other ways it’s left me a little more confused, especially on the marketing side of things.

As a result, I’m thinking about investing in a book that is solely dedicated to online marketing.

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who is considering making the transition into working for themselves.

If you’re already a freelancer, you might gain a little insight into how someone else moved into that lifestyle, but chances are that you’ll probably have picked up most of what it tells you along your own journey.

As a motivational piece of literature, however, it is definitely beneficial to every freelancer new or old.

Note: I am not affiliated in any way to the author or publishers of this book. I am also not affiliated with Waterstones.

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