The Wealthy Freelancer Summary

The Wealthy Freelancer Summary

12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle

If one could choose, choosing to be your own boss is probably something of a no-brainer. You can decide who to work with and when, and even how much you’ll earn.

Then, why isn’t everybody a freelancer?

There are many possible answers to this question. Two immediately spring to mind.

One: because being a freelancer is not as reliable and you wouldn’t want to risk the comfort of a regular paying job for something so unexplored.

And two: because you don’t know how to do it right.

The Wealthy Freelancer” is a book-length directory of strategies and techniques, and a list of tips and tricks to help you get it right.

And we are summarizing it so you can get it right as soon as possible.

Who Should Read “The Wealthy Freelancer”? And Why?

There are two types of people in the world: many who are prepared to take a risk and see where this will get them, and many more who would not leave their comfort zone even if a perfect chance comes out of nowhere and hits them in the head.

This book is probably more suited for the second kind of people. But, it’s a worthwhile read for the first group as well. The risk-takers can pick up a technique or two and learn how to earn more while working less. And the comfort-zoners can be inspired by it to take the plunge/

Current solo-professionals and wannabe/would-be freelancers are, of course, the main target group of “The Wealthy Freelancer”.

About Steve Slaunwhite, Ed Gandia, and Pete Savage

Steve SlaunwhiteSteve Slaunwhite is a popular copywriter and award-winning marketing consultant. He is the author of many books in the niches, such as “Start & Run a Copywriting Business,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Web-Based Business,” and “The Everything Guide To Writing Copy.” You can reach him via his website.

Ed GandiaEd Gandia is a thriving copywriter, coach, and author, whose focus is mainly freelancing. He is the host of a popular podcast, “High-Income Business Writing.” In addition to “The Wealthy Freelancer,” he has authored one more book on a similar topic, “Warm Email Prospecting.”

Pete SavagePete Savage is a freelancer with a portfolio which includes companies in the range of AT&T Wireless and AOL, Motorola, HP, and Siemens. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and business coach. This is the only book he has worked on so far.

The Wealthy Freelancer Summary

“The Wealthy Freelancer” consists of twelve chapters, each an insight into a separate idea of how to become wealthy and lead an enviable lifestyle.

Let’s look at all twelve, paragraph by paragraph.

Secret 1: Master the Mental Game

Freelancing is more difficult than having a job, because you are under constant pressure of finding work – which is usually your boss’s concern.

However, you can overcome this by accepting it. And you can do this by memorizing a simple acronym: IDEA. It stands for:

  • Invest. Buy books, go to seminars, visit conferences. In short: learn everything you can about what you’re doing.
  • Develop confidence. Belief in yourself.
  • Expect that your self-belief will be tested. But, don’t forget that it’s only temporary.
  • Absorb the success. If things go well – enjoy it.

OK, that was a long and an obviously important secret!

Moving on to number 2!

Secret 2: Simplify the Process of Getting Clients

It’s easy – because the authors provide you with a 5-step equation for success, the Master Marketing formula. It goes like this:

  • Make a list of your Top 200 dream clients. Be specific and exhaustive.
  • Start contacting them one by one with your portfolio.
  • When a company is interested, turn it into a client.
  • Give it a competitive and reasonable, but non-negotiable quota.
  • If it fails – move on to the next client.

You already knew this?

But what about our secrets 3-5? They are all marketing-related:

Secret 3: Create Your Amazing Buzz Piece

Your buzz piece is your ticket to success. It has to be both original and appealing. But it also has to be targeted at the right audience. And it has to have a brilliant title.

For example, if you are a designer, try something along the lines of “A Five-Step Strategy for Selecting the Perfect Logo Design.”

Secret 4: Employ High-Impact Prospecting Tactics

As great a buzz piece usually is, your marketing tactics must be more efficient than it.

So, smartly use the Marketing Effectiveness Matrix (MEM), join boards and committees that may be useful, and volunteer wherever possible.

Secret 5: Cultivate Repeat and Referral Business

Don’t sever contacts with former employers: there might be new projects in the future, so you’d want them to think of you when those come.

Also, always ask for referrals. You’ll need them to grow even when successful.

And now it’s all about the money: secrets 6 &7!

Secret 6: Nurture Prospects Perpetually

Most freelancers sometimes have loads of work, and sometimes no work at all. Solve this problem by using the DIP technique. First, discover your passion, then identify the market, and, finally, position yourself within it. Afterwards, clients will

Secret 7: Price Your Services for Success

And this means few things, but the most important is probably project pricing. Hourly rates are not so great – since there’s a lot you won’t get paid for (marketing, bookkeeping, etc.) and since you can’t really improve.

With project pricing – you can! Because, once you become better, you’ll finish your job faster and get the same – if not more – money!

Finally, it’s about organization: secrets 8-12!

Secret 8: Bring Focus to Your Freelance Business

We’ve already talked about focusing. And you’re probably already aware of a thing called the Pomodoro technique (you can read some more here). Well, that’s how you become a wealthy freelancer: when working – you work.

In this case, in chunks of 50 minutes. With no distractions whatsoever!

Secret 9: Boost Your Productivity – Without Perspiration!

Studies have shown that if you find your optimal working hours and stick to them, you’ll get a lot more done in a lot less time.

So, what’s stopping you?

Secret 10: Construct Your Own Work-Life Reality

As jobs start to pour in, start organizing them better. Outsource the things you hate, and work only as much as necessary on those you like.

Balance is not a quest. It’s your right.

Secret 11: Create Alternative Streams of Income

A serious problem every freelancer faces down the line is the problem of having a normal life. Namely, the more a freelancer works the more he or she earns – but the less he or she lives. To overcome this problem, find a way to earn money passively.

Create ready-made products, author books and podcasts, sell seminars. That way, even when you’re not actively working, you’ll be still earning. In other words, less doing and more living!

Secret 12: Live and Work in the Wealthy Triangle

The three points of the Wealthy Triangle are a) great income, b) freedom to choose your jobs, and 3) having flexible working hours.

Follow these steps and you’ll achieve this.


Key Lessons from “The Wealthy Freelancer”

1.      Freelancing Is Great!
2.      You Can Be a Wealthy Freelancer
3.      It’s a 12-Step Program

Freelancing Is Great!

It may be difficult in the beginning, but, after a while, it is as good as it gets. You’re your own boss, with a healthy income, and flexible working hours.

That’s right: it’s the life you’ve always dreamed about!

You Can Be a Wealthy Freelancer

Many of the wealthy freelancers you’ve heard about – including the authors of this book – are just normal people. The only difference is – they’ve obtained healthier habits.

Here’s your chance to do the same.

It’s a 12-Step Program

Look at the Amazon reviews. Most of the people say the book works like a charm.

We’ve uncovered for you each secret in the summary. Your move.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Wealthy Freelancer” Quotes

A wealthy freelancer is someone who consistently gets the projects, clients, income, and lifestyle he or she wants. Click To Tweet Wealthy freelancers don’t just make a living. They design a fulfilling and meaningful life. Click To Tweet It’s crucial for every aspiring wealthy freelancer to get comfortable with the idea – and the feeling – of being in control. Most freelancers are completely out of control. Click To Tweet Research continues to tell us that most people simply do not take the time to set goals and put them in writing. Click To Tweet You have to believe you will succeed. I know, this sounds cliché, but recognize that this alone is the number-one determining factor in whether or not you will achieve your goals and realize your true potential. Click To Tweet


Our Critical Review

“The Wealthy Freelancer” may have a glitzy title and an even flashier subtitle, but don’t mistake the book for a fluff: it has some serious substance too. The twelve chapter may not amount to twelve secrets per se, and the secrets are not really in the same range of importance.

However, the central among them – how to master your mental game, how to write a buzz piece that will get you the right job, etc. – can be inspiring to every freelancer, whether a beginner or someone already knee-deep in the ocean.

Speaking of oceans, there are not many useful self-help books. This one, fortunately, is not one of them. It’s not a magic stick for everybody, but it’s certainly a Good Fairy if you are or want to become a freelancer.

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Professor Steve Blank has helped found more than 10,000 new businesses through his ability to systematize the creation of startups. The whole lean startup movement has its origins in Steve Blank’s Stanford classes. This knowledge is synthesized in The Four Steps to the Epiphany, and he has made the book one of the most influential guides to entrepreneurship.

For Blank, a startup is completely different from an established company. While the established company runs a business model, the challenge of a startup is to find this business model to run. In this book, Blank helps entrepreneurs discover their problems before they have big costs. Quick iterations, customer feedback and testing ideas early. These are some of the things you will learn here. This book is essential for anyone who is going to start something new. Have a good time!

A Startup Is Not a Miniature Of a Great Company

Traditional knowledge tells us that companies are similar and that best management practices should be adopted by all companies. However, when you are starting a new business, a startup, the same rules of the corporate world do not apply. Unlike large companies, startups need to find their customers and prove that their vision is workable. If they fail to achieve this goal, they die. Although most people believe that startups are only small versions of large companies, this understanding ends up hurting the entrepreneur, and many mistakes are made by believing in popular wisdom. Big companies have great resources and can launch new products into mass markets, while startups are not able to go down this road.

A startup can not afford to use the processes of launching new products from large companies, after all, large companies already have a large customer base and know their competitors well. So to create new products they use a different process: first they design the product and then find customers to buy it. Startups do not understand their market, they do not count on customers, and so they must first know their potential customers and then develop a new product. The process adopted by successful startups is the reverse. They first build a customer base and then create a suitable product. When a startup focuses on developing a product without understanding its customers, big mistakes and problems can occur. An interesting example is the case of the Segway, equipment that was developed with one principle in mind: people do not want to walk and need a personal vehicle.

All the people who walk are our potential clients. That caused the company to invest more than 200 million dollars in a product that did not obtain commercial success, and until today it looks for its real applications in the market. Most of the time, a founder of a startup does not know their market as established companies. He has a vision he believes in, but his main challenge is to prove it. For this, it is necessary to go through a long journey of uncertainties, challenges, and learning. During this journey, he needs to overcome these challenges and find out who his potential customers are, how the market works, and then build a large company.

The first step in this journey is to define a set of core values and a clear long-term mission to guide you on your journey. Almost all startups go through challenging periods in their early stages, and it is during this period that mission statement will be vital in showing the way forward. But while fundamental values never change, the mission statement can change over time with new product launches, for example.

Understanding How New Technologies Are Adopted

If the model stated that the product was first to be built and then sold through marketing and sales strategies in the 1990s, that model began to be questioned. Everett Rogers, for example, created the technology adoption curve that shows how people embrace innovations in their everyday lives. According to Rogers, technology is adopted in phases by five different groups: Enthusiastic, visionary, pragmatic, conservative and skeptical.

The first two groups, the enthusiasts, and the visionaries are the initial market. The next two groups, the pragmatic and conservative, are the mass market. The adoption of a product by the market has the shape of a bell curve, where the first groups begin to adopt a technology slowly and gradually grows into the mass market. There is a chasm between the different groups, and the hardest thing to beat is getting out of the initial users to go to the mass market. These chasms exist because of the different needs and consumption habits of each of the groups. The main challenge to getting across this chasm is that the marketing and sales lessons learned from early markets may not be useful in the mass market and this may call for major changes in the models of clients’ attraction and technologies’ adoption. Many startups focus on finding ways to overcome the chasm and create a mass product. But that’s the wrong approach.

The first challenge of a startup is to focus on the process of discovery and learning through trial and error. For this reason, Steven Blank proposes a new model that helps startups to progress gradually through each of these phases and calls this methodology “Customer Development.”

Customer Development Requests You to Leave The Office

Startups can greatly reduce the risk of making mistakes by collecting feedback from your users as quickly as possible, even before you develop your product and start selling it! The goal of a startup is to find out if there is a market for your product and whether people will buy it. For this, you need to leave the office and talk to real people, the potential customers of your company. For Blank, you must “pitch and learn” always. He suggests that you begin by learning. Do not write a business plan but a series of testable assumptions before starting the customer development process. The client development process has four steps:

  • Customer discovery;
  • Validation of clients;
  • Creation of clients;
  • Construction of the company;

The process is iterative, so at each step, you can go back to the previous step or go forward. With each interview with a potential customer, you can change your product to better match your audience’s expectations. Once this is done, you resume the process: collect feedback and use it to optimize your product. Your goal is not to sell but to collect as much information as possible. To adapt to a dynamic marketplace where changes occur faster and faster, startups cannot be slow and bureaucratic.

That is why we need to adopt horizontal, agile structures and decisions need to be made with speed by all team members. Startups that follow the product creation processes of large companies think that just building a product for customers to come in, but that rarely works. Product development is just an internal process, and to create products that sell, you have to synchronize them with the discoveries of the customer development process, which focuses on external influences, the guesses of potential customers for the success of the product. Your startup should invest in the customer development process by building their solid customer base and ensuring that their products meet their needs.

The first ideal clients of its startup in the process of developing clients are enthusiasts and visionaries, also called early adopters. But many startups ignore early adopters and instead spend a lot of time and money building a product designed for the mass market. These startups face several problems. The most common ones do not have enough money to change their products in response to customer feedback or launching a perfect product that arrives outdated to the market because it took a long time to build. In the customer development process, you need to launch the product as quickly as possible to get real customer feedback and follow an agile cycle of responding to customer demands to evolve it. Let’s take the steps in the customer development process.

Customer Discovery

To run the customer discovery phase, you need to ask yourself:

  • Have we identified a problem that customers want resolving?
  • Does our product solve this problem?
  • Do we have a viable business model?
  • Have we learned enough to go to the market and sell our product?

To ensure that we find the right customers, it is recommended that we focus on evangelists and enthusiasts. Ideally, they have a budget to solve the problem, are actively seeking solutions to the problem or have created a partial solution. Once customer discovery has been completed, the next step is validation with customers.

Customer Validation

At this stage, your first goal is to have a minimum viable product being used by your customers and that they are happy with your results. Customer discovery and validation prove your business model. At this stage, you need to prove that you can have a clear marketing and sales plan. One must prove that every real invested in marketing and sales generates more than one real in new revenue. That is done by mapping and optimizing your marketing funnel. One must prove that the market is scalable and that the value of the customer throughout its life cycle is greater than the operating costs of the business. Once we find out who our customers are and validate the problem our product solves, it’s time to answer the following questions:

  • Do we have an understanding of our sales process?
  • Is our process repeatable?
  • Did we sell the current version of the product?
  • Are we confident that this business will be profitable?
  • Do we position the product and the company correctly?

The validation process is based on being ready to sell to visionary customers, creating their positioning, and verifying that sales are occurring according to their assumptions.

Creating Customers

The process of creating customers consists of being ready to effectively launch the product and from there start generating demand. If in the validation stage we raise assumptions and create a “marketing and sales plan,” now is the time to put this plan into action. So far our investments in marketing and sales have been conservative to focus on preserving the company’s cash flow. Now is the time to put this plan into action and invest wisely, according to the plan created.

For this, it is essential to understand what kind of market you are in after all your launch strategy depends on it. The cost of market entry can vary a lot and, most of the time, you need a huge amount of capital to enter an existing market. If the market is a monopoly or a duopoly, avoid entering it. Avoid attacking the market leader. See if you can segment the market or even create a new market. At this stage, startups have to decide whether they want to continue to seek out clients similar to early adopters, enter a specific niche, or seek a wider range of clients. The answer varies if they find themselves in a new, existing or re-segmented market.

Company Construction

The goal of a startup is to go into the execution mode of a repeatable and scalable business model to stop being a startup and become an established company. Once the previous three steps have been completed, the last step is building the company itself. The goal, in this case, is to reach mass markets, review and scale up the company’s culture and mission. To grow, a company must continually build a customer base, and to do so; it is necessary to move forward among the different groups of customers in the market.

It is at this point that you begin to stop focusing on constant learning to focus on mastering. Obviously, your focus should be on never losing agility and having teams focused on new learning and quick response to market demands. From the creation of the company, formal departments like marketing, sales, business development begin to design and have directors and VPs responsible for them. The founders, at this stage, start working on projects oriented to the vision of the company using the learnings of the initial success of the company in the market.

Final Notes:

Startups are a chaotic, challenging environment where there is only one certainty. Inside the office, there are no facts, only opinions. Truths are out of the office, and they appear when you step out of it and are willing to talk to your potential customers with just one purpose. Learn. The greater the learning before putting your hand in the dough, the better results your product will have. Many startups fail to adopt a premature execution, delivering to the market a product dated or that does not solve a real problem. The customer development process is the solution to prevent you from making this mistake. The whole book is fascinating and has good insights. Because of its colossal size and somewhat tiring reading format, I would not recommend that you read it all, but it pays to buy and read the chapters that you find most relevant to your company in the situation you are in now!

12min tip: Learn more about lean startups in Running Lean, by Ash Maurya


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