Writing letters have become a lost art. When is the last time you have written someone a letter, especially using your own handwriting?
There is something about that task, writing letters, where you spend time writing what you think, what you feel, and taking the time to communicate your message.
Today we fire off emails, text messages and other quickly worded messages on social media and the like.
The result is, I think, the world seems angrier. We are more impulsive as a people.
When is the last time someone new to this self-employed, freelance world ask your advice?
I have had this to happen before, and it always bemuses me. These freelancers look at me as someone who is “doing it” and think that somehow I have the answers when, often, I have more questions than answers.
I am by no means some uber-successful freelancer, but I am doing okay. Everyone’s situation is different so what is successful for one is not for the other
Today, I am going to share a letter I am writing to Freelancer Fred, fictional of course. You may have to put on your imagination cap.
Freelancer Fred was working for an agency for less than the market rate. He knew more about website development than his boss.
After being frustrated with his work situation, and executing a few websites on the side for acquaintances, he decided to step out on his own.
After all, he already had several website clients. Even more, he sold a retainer to manage updates and upkeep of those websites. Fred, naturally, uses MainWP to manage these website updates.
Freelancer Fred has been coming to the MainWP website and reading the blog posts and decided to ask me a little bit about being a freelancer. Again, this is all fictional
So, I sat out to write him a letter.
Dear Freelancer Fred,
Hey, thanks for contacting me. I am glad to help any way I can.
Congratulations to you on your freelancing business. It sounds like you have gotten off to a good start.
Also, great idea to use MainWP to update client’s websites and earn some recurring revenue. If you haven’t already, you might want to join the MainWP Facebook Group page. Ivica Delic runs the Facebook group along with and a team who volunteer their time and they do a fantastic job.
I can’t say that I am the best at running a freelance business, but I am doing okay. Frankly, many of us learn as we go and get better with time, and you will as well.
The first thing you need to do, I believe, is to view your freelancing as a business. Freelancers are self-employed which means, essentially, that you are a business.
Give yourself a business name if it helps. Instead of telling others you are a freelancer, tell them your business name and then tell them what you do.
Calling yourself a freelancer to others will keep you attached to hourly work even though, from a legal entity standpoint, you are a business.
Make that change as soon as you can.
It helps you, and it helps potential clients.
It is important to note that this might change a time or two (or more) as you pivot what you do over the years, but it is an important distinction to make.
Fortunately, for many of us, some freelancers have made the transition from freelancer to business, and they offer resources and courses that are reasonable in price to help us make that transition as well.
I am going to give you the names of these courses as something to look into for the future.
Next, build yourself a team.
Now, this team can be internal, as in adding employees or partners, or it can simply be networking with other self-employed WordPress developers.
This is important because it is hard, very hard, to do all of this on our own.
At some point, you will need to get some help whether it is a section of code, advice on a plugin, customizing a starter theme, determining how to price, or development workflow.
Heck, there are probably hundreds of things you will need help with along the way.
The good news, if this is you, is that you can stay a solo-preneur and build a team because there are hundreds of communities where people help each other.
Some of these communities are built around a theme framework, a plugin, WordPress itself, or other networking opportunities.
I am going to supply some of the ones I know about below. Sit tight.
Next, you will need to realize that you will need to improve your skills in other areas. It doesn’t mean you need to be an expert but improve so that you can help your clients.
Some skills you should improve include copywriting, building landing pages, running email marketing campaigns, building optin pages, SEO and much more.
I am going to give you some resources to help in this area as well.
The Business of Freelancing
Brennan Dunn – Double Your Freelancing
Dunn spends the bulk of his time talking about escaping the freelancer trap. He has built his course Double Your Freelancing to help freelancers charge higher prices and build a business. This is definitely something you should look into. In addition to his course, he has other resources that help.
Troy Dean – WP Elevation
Dean has built a community and an e-course to help WordPress consultants build their business. The tagline on the front page reads, “The world’s largest business community for WordPress consultants.” The course helps WordPress consultants do business better.
Since he started WP Elevation, Troy has launched another course called Rockstar Empires to assist creative entrepreneurs.
Chris Lema – Consulting courses and products
Chris is one of those guys who gets business in the WordPress space. He is a thought leader when it comes to doing business, and he has built some courses, ebooks, and other products to help other WordPress entrepreneurs succeed.
Chris is also very active in the greater WordPress community with presentations at Wordcamps and other contributions.
Brian Casel – Productize
Brian has a course on taking a service that you deliver well and turning it into a systemized product which he calls Productize. Even if you don’t take the course, he has lots of good info on his blog.
Brent Weaver – uGurus
Brent Weaver has created several programs for “Entrepreneurs running digital agencies.” Brent also has a blog and a podcast to add to the mix.
iThemes has been a leader in the WordPress space for a long time. They have various types of resources that can help the new WordPress freelancer. One of their best sources is the number of free ebooks they have. I would check them out when you have a chance.
Real World Freelancing – Book
Real World Freelancing is a new book coming out soon by Carrie Dils and Diane Kinney. These two are frequent speakers and presenters to freelancers in various settings and have a combined 25 years experience in the industry. I can attest that both are very helpful.
While the book has not been released yet, but the ladies offer a place to subscribe to learn about its release.
Freelancer Fred, I have so much more to share. For now, I am going to have to close this letter due to time. However, I plan to send you another letter soon with more resources you can utilize to improve your career as a freelancer.
Until next time,
I hope this finds you well.