This book has been reviewed from the observations of a virtual assistant, which is important to note as the book is written for freelancers who primarily perform project-oriented work.
The Wealthy Freelancer
12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle
by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage, and Ed Gandia
“Ugh”, I thought to myself when I saw the cover of The Wealthy Freelancer, 12 Secrets to a Great Income and Enviable Lifestyle
(TWF) featuring a bigger-than-life photo of a red Corvette. “Not another get-rich-quick publication selling a phony lifestyle reminiscent of late night gold digger infomercials!” To add ‘insult to injury’ the use of the subtitle word ‘enviable’ was equally as dubious. However, my first impression would prove to be utterly incorrect. Lesson to self: “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” In fact, TWF is not about becoming financially wealthy at all. The introductory chapter titled, What Being a Wealthy Freelancer Really Means
explains that … “Being wealthy isn’t just about the dollars you earn; it’s about the life you build-and the kind of person you become in the process.” Unfortunately, at first glance, the book title and its photo cover, most likely used as a visual ‘hook’ promoted a brief amount of uncertainty which was quickly reconciled by the excellent content within.
Chapters are segmented into “Secrets” numbered 1 through 12. “Secret 1” builds upon “Secret 2” and so on. Each chapter/secrets is a comprehensive step-by-step process about anything-anyone-would-ever-want- to-know
about developing a successful freelance business.
The layout is easy-to-read and the chapters are well-defined. Chapters are pleasing to the eye broken-up with varying sized fonts with clear chapter sections. The Wealthy Freelancer
is well-edited with no visible grammatical mistakes or typos. The authors inject humor, personal stories (some belly-laughingly funny!) and utilize examples of business anecdotes throughout the publication. The style of writing is business casual.
I initially had a hitch
with the word ‘freelancer’ as this typically defines that the subject matter would be geared toward project-only work. Although Virtual Assistants do indeed service clients with project work; not all VAs offer this option. It is often the on-going client work which keeps virtual assistant businesses afloat. I mention this as a “con” because in the formative chapters, the authors discuss finding leads through large business connections. Typically a virtual assistant seeks to work with small business owners as opposed to larger companies so I was thwarted by most, but not all of the ‘how-to-find clients’ tips offered. As expected many of the tips were targeted toward the project-oriented virtual assistant or freelancer.
Another lament was that the book seemed to rename some of the business systems which are already ‘out there’; previously published by other prominent authors. As a result, some of the information was not inventive material [to me]. For example, in Secret 2, Simplify the Process of Getting Clients
, the authors offer a Master Marketing Formula which is a business model in the shape of a funnel. In this concept, the funnel has a large opening and is filled with Prospects; in which those Prospects turn to Leads; then Opportunities and finally into paying Clients. This was previously presented to me in a similar format noted in CJ Hayden’s book, Get Clients Now!
Hayden defines a similar concept; ‘filling the pipeline’ and moving those leads down “her” funnel as they become closer to attaining client-status. I say this because it seems that in some cases TWF concepts are already ‘out there’ and simply repeated for this book. (But it certainly does not ‘hurt’ to review what one already may know and certainly there will be virtual assistant readers who may not be familiar with other authors’ business systems. However, for a virtual assistant, who is familiar with client-attracting models, a number of the TWF concepts could be labeled ‘aged’ information.)
The same predicament holds true for Secret 8, Bring Focus to Your Freelance Business
with the word Focus being the common concept for the term, niche. This chapter discusses a DIP; the acronym for Discover, Identify and Position Technique. If you do not know who your niche or target market is, this chapter will help any virtual assistant make that leap but if you are already marketing directly to your target, this information will seem ‘recycled’. In fact, we discuss many of these concepts here on Virtual Assistant Forums so I found some of this information to be redundant.
Despite the Cons
mentioned, this book truly does shine! The authors do elevate a majority of the content above other how-to business publications with many other bright and fresh ideas. For example in Secrets 3, Create Your Amazing Buzz Piece
and in Secret 7, Price Your Services for Success
; these two chapters alone are well worth the $16.95 price.
Create Your Amazing Buzz Piece
is a superb idea! The authors take the reader through a guided process to assist in crafting a unique business document which can be used in a variety of ways by the freelancer to promote his/her business. Once the buzz piece has been written (and there are some clever ideas about how to have the piece written…one such idea includes the use of a virtual assistant’s services!) the unique document can be attached to project bids, offered as a report, used as a giveaway at networking events, copied into sales letters, and even used for cold calls. This is truly a superb chapter!
Price Your Services for Success
is an equally inspiring chapter. I was thrilled to read more about project pricing vs. hourly pricing; with the former holding the best argument all-around. As a virtual assistant, I have been tossing around flat-fee payment for services as opposed to hourly for some time so this chapter was particularly relevant. And although the book is geared as I mentioned more toward project-type work as opposed to ongoing administrative services, the authors offer a semi-solution to the hourly vs. flat fee debate:
“How do you quote a project price if you don’t know exactly what the project requirements are?”
The authors’ response, “You can’t, but a solution is that you can bill both project and hourly.” The authors suggest, “…bill hourly until the project scope is better understood, at which point you can switch to a project price for the balance of the job.” Again, it is difficult to apply to ongoing virtual assistant work with so many unknown factors involved in the workload but this solution is thought-provoking. This solution opened-up a pricing options discussion I have not encountered on the virtual assistant circuit.
A common issue virtual assistants often encounter is the potential client who wants to ‘make a deal’. Price Your Services for Success
offers an outstanding dialogue on this hot topic. The authors write, “…don’t just drop your price for no other reason than the client’s objection to it. Negotiate an exchange of value instead. That involves offering the client an alternative plan that gets her what she wants – your freelance service – and gets you what you deserve – your professional fee.” Clever TWF suggestions include, offering to get the job done faster; throw in an extra; offer a discount for paying your full fee in advance; ask for more time; offer a volume discount. (Suggestions come with detailed explanations.) Again, TWF comes through here as a ‘must read’.
At the end of each chapter the authors offer value-added pearls of wisdom:
• Wealthy Words
are inspiring quotes from freelancers and business professionals.
• Wealthy Takeaways
are summaries of the tips offered in the corresponding chapters.
• Wealthy Tools
are suggested website resources. (Once such Wealthy Tool
recommended the use of virtual assistants. IVAA the paid membership site was the recommendation; perhaps future editions might include Virtual Assistant Forums
The authors have injected worksheets into the chapters without overwhelming the reader with an overload of distracting ‘homework’. Self-reflective questions, good visual examples and models all enhance the information-packed content. The Jigsaw Puzzle Visual in Secret 10: Construct Your Own Work-Life Reality
rallies the user to prioritize projects and tasks using puzzle pieces.
Although the book has its many profound moments of ‘ah-ha’, I found that the Opportunities and Obstacles to Becoming a Wealthy Freelancer
chapter to be one of the most inspiring. The authors discuss setting parameters for those potential clients who want a freelancer/virtual assistant to work on a commission basis. Again, this is yet another telling opportunity to invite discussion regarding alternatives to hourly fees.
What Being a Wealthy Freelancer Really Means
- Secret 1: Master the Mental Game
- Secret 2: Simplify the Process of Getting Clients
- Secret 3: Create Your Amazing Buzz Piece
- Secret 4: Employ High-Impact Prospecting Tactics
- Secret 5: Cultivate Repeat and Referral Business
- Secret 6: Nurture Prospects Perpetually
- Secret 7: Price Your Services for Success
- Secret 8: Bring Focus to Your Freelance Business
- Secret 9: Boost Your Productivity – Without Perspiration!
- Secret 10: Construct Your Own Work-Life Reality
- Secret 11: Create Alternate Streams of Income
- Secret 12: Live and Work in the Wealthy Triangle
Where Do You Go From Here?
Opportunities and Obstacles to Becoming a Wealthy Freelancer
I give this book two thumbs-up (if I had more thumbs, I’d add those too!) for anyone who is a project-oriented freelancer or for anyone who wishes to become a freelancer.
If you are a virtual assistant who promotes project work, such as website and blog design, social networking set-ups, and once-a-month projects in accounting, for example, TWF is a terrific resource at all stages of business!
If you do not offer project services, you will find many, many useful tips and thoughtful creative ideas. Do expect that ongoing-service VAs will need to ‘dig’ a bit through the “secrets” particularly in the first few chapters to find applicable information but a good deal of the content can be applied to non-project virtual assistants.
The Wealthy Freelancer
will be a great addition to any business library.
Click here to buy this book!
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