Wednesday 8 June 2011

Book Review: Brilliant Freelancer

book-brilliant-freelancerI had a pleasant surprise last Tuesday: an email from Leif Kendall congratulating me on winning a copy of his book, Brilliant Freelancer.

The vividly coloured volume duly arrived on Saturday, and on Monday kept me pleasantly occupied on a journey from Birmingham up to London, and part of the way home again, leaving me with enough time to jot down my impressions before getting off the train.

I’d recommend this book to anyone hesitating on the brink of a freelance career, or those who have just taken the plunge. If, like me, you’ve hitherto been consumed by coding, or whatever it is that specialists in your field do, Brilliant Freelancer will open your eyes to everything else that is involved in running a micro-business. But it will turn up the lights gently so you don’t get scared off the prospect for good.

The books starts by helping you think through your suitability to be a freelancer, then talks you through making the transition from employment to being your own boss. It gives advice on how to find work through sales and marketing (including chapters on blogging and networking), how to price your work, and how to manage clients when you’ve got them.

You may be be asking yourself how you’ll get anything done without a boss to crack the whip – and Leif has thoughtfully included a chapter on Motivation. If you have the opposite problem, and can’t get enough of the drug called work, Dr Kendall is there to remind you (in a chapter entitled Healthy Body, Healthy mind) that “You’re selling you, so look after your product”.

Don't think of 'marketing' as a nefarious activity conducted by spivs and double-glazing companies. Marketing means to take your goods to market. You would not consider farmers evil for taking their wares to the market, so don't consider yourself evil for doing the same.

Leif Kendall, Brilliant Freelancer

There’s one part of the book that I feel could be expanded, and that is in the financial department. Book-keeping, after all, is the one part of every business that’s mandated by law. Brilliant Freelancer does little more than skim the surface here, and at the very least could do with some recommendations for further reading.

With his easy-going style, no-nonsense advice, and flashes of humour, Leif presents himself as the wise friend who has seen it all before. He’s not afraid to point out where you’ll find the going tough, but he’s equally quick to highlight the potential rewards.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about setting up on your own? If so, this book is for you. Check out the website (you can read a chapter for free), or buy the book on Amazon.


Michel Lemagnen said...

Yes, I read it too - got it out of my local library - which surprised me given how recent this book is. I first started freelancing in 1992 and I am now working for myself again since 2010. I'd recommend it to anyone, even those who have only vaguely considered freelancing. You are right about the bookkeeping section but its a great/must read nonetheless

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Brian said...

I'd like to be a freelance but I'm worried about the beginning and not getting clients for months! How would I live in the meantime? I'll give the book a look and I hope it will give me more courage.


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