How To Flourish In Freelancing: 8 Steps To Long Term Success | Jason Montoya | Skillshare

How To Flourish In Freelancing: 8 Steps To Long Term Success

Jason Montoya, Stories & Systems To Live Better & Work

How To Flourish In Freelancing: 8 Steps To Long Term Success

Jason Montoya, Stories & Systems To Live Better & Work

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12 Lessons (1h 24m)
    • 1. An Introduction To Flourishing In Freelancing

      2:24
    • 2. Surveying The 8 Achievements Of Successful Freelancers

      6:04
    • 3. A1 - Fully Committed To Freelance

      8:08
    • 4. A2 - Offerings In A Compelling Package

      16:42
    • 5. A3 - Steady Stream Of Paying Clients

      9:14
    • 6. A4 - Active Clients Are Maximized

      6:47
    • 7. A5 - Unaffected By The Roller Coaster

      5:43
    • 8. A6 - Wise & Precise Financial Management

      6:50
    • 9. A7 - Unified Personal & Work Lives

      5:22
    • 10. A8 - We Share What We've Mastered

      4:22
    • 11. Reviewing The 8 Freelance Achievements

      2:13
    • 12. BONUS: Assess Your Freelancing Stage & Build A Simple Action Plan Forward

      9:41
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About This Class

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What comes to mind when you hear the word "Freelancing"? For some, freelancing means financial freedom and flexibility of time. For others, the promise is not quite that simple. For most, this sought freedom seems to be an elusive vision never coming to fruition.

After eighteen months in, I faced numerous obstacles preventing my success as a freelancer. By overcoming each one, I learned how to structure my work so that I could not only survive, but flourish on this independent track. It was here when I realized eight vital goals that must be conquered and sustained to succeed as a freelancer.

The best way to make the most of your freelancing career is to better understand what to expect from the journey and how to prepare for it. Clear financial and personal goals give us an advantage and clarity when we move forward as freelancers.

This course will help prepare and empower you for the journey.

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About Path of the Freelancer: An Actionable Guide To Flourishing In Freelancing

Freelancing Is Difficult. Are You Ready For This Rewarding Challenge? After the shut down of his marketing firm, Jason Montoya unexpectedly had numerous business owners and non-profit leaders requesting his help to solve their organization's communication problems.

Facing numerous challenges as a new freelancer, he quickly integrated his business insights to move through the many familiar obstacles he faced. He then began sharing with other freelancers a framework of eight vital achievements that took him to a state of personal and vocational flourishing.

Behind the covers of Path Of The Freelancer, Jason dives into these mile markers, unveils a blueprint and shares personal stories to help guide and equip other freelancers in their difficult but rewarding journey.

Learn more about Path Of The Freelancer and access freelancing resources on the book's official website here...

You can dive into the book's concepts further by purchasing a copy of Path of the Freelancer on Amazon.

Explore additional freelancing articles on my blog here.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jason Montoya

Stories & Systems To Live Better & Work

Teacher

Now a full-time freelancer, I originally moved to Atlanta in 2005 with my wife, Cait. I attempted to make an animated feature film, launched a political news website, graduated in 2008 from the Art Institute of Atlanta, owned a marketing agency for seven years, and authored a book on flourishing in freelancing called Path of the Freelancer.

I'm also one of the three originators of IDEMA, a framework for capturing and sustaining ideas, and the author of a parable titled The Island Story.

In my journey, I've  personally experienced and seen others experience the life of surviving in isolation. In my times of need, others helped and inspired me when I needed it. As a result, my personal aim is to inspire others to a place of thriving and togetherness.

What does Th... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. An Introduction To Flourishing In Freelancing: welcome to the how to flourish and freelancing course. My name is Jason Scott Montoya, and I am a full time freelancer from 2007 to 2014. I owned and operated a marketing company at the end of that journey had decided to shut down. The company wasn't sure what I was going to do next, but I had several projects. Within a few weeks on my plate and I was getting paid as a freelancer. I decided to go with it, and after eight months, I realized the projects weren't they didn't stop coming. And this is something that I could not only make a good living at and support me and my family. But it was something that I could really do well and flourish. And so the next year I figure out how to overcome all the challenges I was facing, and I created a blueprint to help me succeed as a freelancer. Ended up writing a book called Path the Freelancer, and in that book we dive into these eight concepts of how to flourish, how to succeed as a freelancer. First, you know, we gotta figure out how committed are we to freelancing. We need to be fully committed to the craft. Second, we need to make sure our offerings Aaron a compelling package. Third, we need tohave a steady stream of pain clients. Fourth, we need to actively maximize the clients that we have. Make sure we're doing the most for them, and we're getting the most income that we can from fifth. We need to be unaffected by the both. The emotional and financial roller coaster that we face is real. Answer. Six. We need have wise and precise financial management. Seventh, we need to unify our personal professional lives in eight. We need a share. What we've mastered and by sharing what we've mastered were mentoring. We're teaching were helping others much like those that have helped us along our journey. This course is specifically designed for two groups of people. First, it's for those who have started freelancing those who our ah struggling. Or maybe you just haven't quite figured out how to hit your stride and really figure out how to make freelancing be a long term sustainable ah, vocational path for you. Second, it's for those that are not yet freelancers, but they want a window they want a glimpse into. What is it like to freelancing? What does it take? And do I have what it takes, and and through this course, you're going to get a good glimpse of what's required to 60. It succeed as a freelancer. Thank you for watching. I look forward to having you in the course on how to flourish and freelancing. 2. Surveying The 8 Achievements Of Successful Freelancers : we're going to go ahead and summarize the eight achievements and just give you ah, high level view of what each of them are and how they affect us. And then we'll go in deeper into the course. We'll dive into what is Ah, what each of these mean and how do they affect us? So we're going to started with fully committed to freelancing. That's our first achievement. Fully commit to freelance. It means that we're all in through thick or thin. This is what it's going toe to be the type of work that we're going to do now. In order to be fully committed, we've got to do a deep discovery. We gotta understand what our personal intentions are, what our aspirations are. What do we want to accomplish? What are our goals both personally professionally family, community. Understand what those are and then figure out. How does freelancing best help us? Accomplishes goes both financially and freedom, whatever it is that we want. Let's understand what it is that that we want in how freelancing helps us get there. A good test, just a quick test that it figure out where you are in terms of How committed are you if you don't have new clients? If you're out of money, do you think I need to go to get a job? Or do you think I need to go find more clients depending on which of those categories you fall into will determine whether or not you're fully committed or if you're not, And if you're not fully committed, you're probably going to go look for a job. You're going to find the easier road you're going to go down the path of least resistance. So in order to succeed as a freelancer, we first got understand why we're freelancing, and we got to committed to that, no matter how difficult or how much success we have along the way. Second, we've got to understand what are packaged offerings are we gotta understand what we're solutions were providing, what problems we're providing, and we gotta understand who were providing them for who's our target and how do we help that person. And then we need to figure out how to communicate that package it, market it, and then we've got to promote it. We've got to build our personal brand, and we gotta make sure that there's a way that people confined us and know what we do and how we can help them and give us the possibility of success. The third achievement we're gonna dive into is creating a steady stream of paying clients. We gotta find her 1st 1 is always the most difficult, but once you've got that win and works were excited, then we can move to the second and the third. And then it's about how do we get a flow? How do we build a flow of new prospects of new customers and and really set ourselves up for success and ultimately have enough activity that we can start to create a predictable process, understanding how many meetings we need to have, how many networking events we need to attend in order to get the amount of work that we need to really succeed as a freelancer? And so we're gonna dive into again building a study stream, paying clients fourth, we need to talk about and dive into maximizing our active clients. The lowest hanging fruit that we have is to get the active clients that we're working with who pay are paying us who trust us communication is open. Those are the people that we those are the people in the companies that have the opportunity to give us the most work and have the opportunity for us to increase our income . So that's where we want to start to figure out how to create a sweet spot working relationship with those people. Next, we won't talk about the roller coaster. How do we become unaffected or immune to the roller coaster? That's the fifth achievement of flourishing freelancers, and the roller coaster is feast. It's famine. It's up, it's down. It's emotional, it's financial, it's hard and it's reality. And so since we know it's coming, how do we buffer? How do we give ourselves enough margin that when things are great, we're stocking enough away? Were taken enough rest that when things air low, we can handle it. We've got reserves are ready for those seasons, so we want to make sure that we're both financially and emotionally ready for those times. Next, we won't talk about precise and wise financial management again. That's wise and precise financial management and really comes down to tracking things, keeping an eye on what's going on, creating visibility on our finances, making sure we're invoicing that were Ah, we're We've got a system in place to help us keep track of our money and make sure that we make it easy to take care of our obligations in terms of our bills are taxes and and just paying ourselves. So we want to really understand what that is and how to do it. Well, The seventh achievement is about unifying our personal and work lives, making sure that both professionally and personally, there's an alignment, and, um and sometimes we do more more of one than the other. But the ideas that they are unit there in unity that are professional life in work is contributing to our personal on. Our personal is contributing to a professional, and essentially they're in a good alignment, both in terms of financial. Relational in our health is going to dive into what those are and how it a effect us and then, lastly, is we gotta share what we've mastered. Once we've arrived at success as a freelancer, we can't stop there. We can't award what we've learned. It's time to take that and share it with others. And what we'll find is we actually have a lot more to learn that we thought we knew it all . But we really realized how little did we know. And it's when we start to teach others the thing that we've really come to excel at, that we realize where the cracks and the gaps are in our own understanding, and it also helps us just a better understand to know why we know and how we know what we know. And and that's the last step. That's the eighth achievement. So again we've got these eight achievements. First is fully committed to freelancing. Second is our offerings or in a compelling package. Third is we've got a steady stream of paying clients. Fourth, as are active clients, are maximized. Fifth, um, were unaffected by the roller coaster. Six. We have wise and precise financial financial management. Seventh, our personal and professional lives are unified, and eighth, we share what we mastered. So over the next several sections, we're going to dive into specifically these eight areas and the subsections of those to help. You better understand them and give you some ideas and actions to help you take them to the next level. 3. A1 - Fully Committed To Freelance: all right. Our first achievement is fully committed to freelance. Now to get us. You know, when we're not fully committed. Freelance, it's hard. It's we drag were not motivated. We don't understand why we're doing it. Maybe it's just a struggle. And in fact, a lot of people that go into freelancing for the wrong reasons, you know, they think that, um, they want freedom and they want, um, the financial Ah, uh, upside. But the reality is, is those things don't just come to us as freelancers that we really have to work hard, who really have to set a solid foundation and getting fully committed. Is that so? Understanding why we're doing what we're doing, how we're doing it and where we're going. But before we do that, one of the things that I've developed is a really neat little tool called, um the for ah, the four stages of commitment and connection, the four stages of commitment in connection. And this really helps us figure out how committed are we to freelancing? And so the first stages were opened ideas we're just receiving. We know what we know, And, um but we're just operating. And how we're operating, you know, for me, I owned a marketing company I never really thought about Freelancing was always opened ideas, but never seriously considered it until they shut down the company. And then I had clients prospects coming to me, saying, Hey, would you allow me to contract you for this project? And at the time I was open because I had nothing else, I had no other options. So I said, Sure, I need to provide for me and my family. I don't have anything lined up. So yes, and one thing led to the next and and before I knew I was freelancing. So once said ideas, we gotta open ourselves up to to the idea. The possibility of freelancing if we've already done that were already open to the idea. Then we've seen the potential on more now or dreamer. So we've gone from a survivor to a dreamer and the dreamer freelancers. They see the potential, they think, how this is awesome and they're discovering and they're learning. And they're reading articles in there watching videos, and they're taking courses in the reading books. And at some point, Duff Dreamer realizes I need to take a first step. I need to start freelancing. I need to do it on the side. I need to quit my job. I need to whatever. But they start the process. Dreamers that never start. They get stuck and it's It's somebody that's read 12 books on freelancing and they're always talking about it. But they never actually started. They never actually done it. That's a dreamer. And so we don't want to get stuck in the dreamer stage. You want to move to the visionary staging the visionary, someone who's gotten intent to freelance, and they're testing it out, their trialling out there figuring out how to make it work for them. And then the fourth, which is Thea achiever stage. The achiever freelancers someone who is committed not just to, And they're not just intending to freelance, but they understand the reality, and they're committed to freelancing. Even in the midst of that reality, the ups and downs, the financial stresses, the emotional stresses, they get it. They understand that the tip of the iceberg and everything below it, and they're willing to commit to freelancing and knowing the words that come with it and so they sustain it and they continue to do it. And so when you think about freelancing today, I want you to think about what stage are you in? Go ahead and take a moment and just write a little note says, Hey, I think I'm in the survivor stage. Or I think I'm in the dreamer stage or I think I'm in the visionary stage or I'm in the Cheever stage and then right, just a little note why you think that that'll give you a starting point? That's where you are. So now we gotta figure out How do we get you to achiever? So I've developed another little tool to help you do. That's called the formula for intentionality. The formula for intentionality is, as you can see here, I'll pull it up. The formula for intentional eyes has really neat tool to help you understand why you're doing what you're doing and what you to hope to accomplish by by the end of it. So the first thing we won't talk about his purpose, why are we doing what we're doing? Why are we getting up? Why're we freelancing? Why are we working with this type of client? Why Why? Why? Why? That's purpose. Purpose propels us forward. It's pat. It's what we have passion about something that pushes us, propels us, moves us it. Ah, it just launches us forward when we when we have purpose. The second is mission. How How mission is our how we're going from a to B Our going from the start to the finish line mission is our house. So how are we going to move from this place to the next? And really that takes us to are why which launches us are how which moves us. We've got our vision, which is where are we going? What happens when we arrive at the destination? What does it look like? And And vision has a way of pulling us. Has a has a way of pulling us when things are difficult. You know, we got the glimpse of the of the vision. We know it's difficult, but we know where we're going. We know the payoff. We know the reward at the end of the tunnel. We're not gonna let go. We're not going to give up. We're going to continue when it gets hard. And all three of those values are encompassed by core values. Within what guidelines are we going, toe operate? Am I gonna operate with excellence making operate with accountability? Am I gonna operate with innovation or communication? What are the things that are going to set me apart? And all of these are encompassed by our core values. These there are guidelines are guard rails that help contain us. They help us to understand when we're going outside of the lines, when a client assets to do something and we feel attention were probably rubbing up against one of our core values When we've got a an issue, Um, you know, we're likely facing some kind of tension there, and we need to reflect and understand what are our core values so that when we rub up against them, we can know what's going on. And so we want to understand. Why are we freelancing? How are we going to freelance? Where do we think it'll lead us? Describe it right Within what guidelines will we operate as a freelancer? And so they might be specific. They might be general, but the idea is to go to find these, write them down and figure out what your intent is both personally professionally and as a freelancer, I have personal ah, personal purpose statement are per personal mission vision and core values statements that helped me stay grounded. Um, even outside of my freelancing. But they also guide the freelancing work that I do. So when you think about this first achievement, it's about being fully committed in order to be fully committed. We've gotta understand what our intentions are. We gotta understand what the obstacles it is that we're gonna face. So we need to do a discovery for both ourselves and the and the and the Plainfield that were about to jump onto. We need to understand what we're going into so that we in order to be fully committed to freelancing, we gotta understand the reality that we're going into and we can't just understand it by learning about it. We've got to understand it. Bye bye. Experiencing it so anyway, that we can test it out, talk with others who have gone before us and really understand what it means is going to help us better make a decision whether or not we can freelance whether or not we want to freelance and whether or not we will freelance and the idea here with this first achievement is not too. Make sure not to freelance, no matter what. The idea is to make the best and wisest decision we can so that we can move forward with their lives. If the decision is no, I'm not or can't go freelancing, then that's a win. The win is deciding. It's not a matter of which will you go, but it's a matter of just deciding when it comes to freelancing. Fully committed to it is going to be one of the most important indicating factors of whether or not we succeed because we will have success is we will have failures. We will face roadblocks. We will have emotional depressions, anxiety and the question is not whether or not those will come or not. The question is, are we going to choose to persevere through those regardless of what comes our way? And if we can answer that, yes, then we're going to succeed of the freelancer and the other seven achievements are simply going to be a resource to help you succeed in this craft. Let's jump into our next segment about our offerings being in a compelling package 4. A2 - Offerings In A Compelling Package: the second achievement is having our offerings in a compelling package. Now, if you haven't freelanced or if you have, you'll know that when we don't know exactly what we offer or how we offer it or how to charge it makes selling so much more difficult. So we really want to get this right. It sets the foundation and makes our lives easier. And when we get, it makes our cells activity more focused and more effective. First, we need to determine our compensation. What is it that we're going to charge? But before we can do that, we gotta figure out how much is it that I want to earn? One of the just the most important starting points. It's determined my annual income. And by doing that, I can sort of reverse engineer and figure out. You know what, um how much do I want to earn Pretty here. And then how many hours am I willing to work on a weekly daily, you know, daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis and by having an an annual income and the number of hours that can start to tally. Okay. How much income do anyhow? Money. I must joining a charge in order to accomplish my goals. Knowing that we can't work, you know, usually won't be able to work a 40 hour week for a variety of reasons. We're gonna have to charge a little bit more to make up for that extra. That that extra time by determining our annual income, it will set the stage for helping us get focused and to figure out how well we're doing and whether or not we're moving towards are goals. So one way to help us, you know, break down. Ah, you know how much we want to learn. You know, What about were my bills, my expenses? How much would it look like if I add a little bit of margins so they could eat out, It could spend it could buy things without a lot of, um, stress. Ah, I could also save a good amount of money. You know, What did it look like if I could do all of those things? And so I came up with the budget and then it also added some ah percentage for taxes and and expected expenses and things like that, and ended up with an annual income that had these different variables. Yeah, included in the process. And I was able determine an annual income that I needed to earn as a freelancer in order to to fulfill and my personal obligations as well as my personal goals and aspirations. And then I also realized, you know, for me, freelancing is is a bit of a transitionary period. You know, it's it's a stepping stone towards some other things that I want to be doing. And ah, so I didn't want to be monopolizing all of my work time during the week. So I wanted to have a little bit of, um, you know, 10 hours a week where I could work on side projects where it could do other things that I wanted to build in some margin so I could have time to work on on these other projects that that I had a personal, you know, desire, aspiration for And so I need to figure out how do I earn the amount of income I need in 20 or 30 hours of paid products per week so I can spend 10 or 15 on ah, you know, admin type stuff. A swell as relationship building and some of my side projects. So I ended up taking that. And the building into my formula is part of determining how much I wanted to learn pretty your and how many hours, you know, I was willing to work per week and per year to be able to both accomplishment personal, um, and personal financial goals as well as my personal time goals and really came up with this income and then this number of hours. And then I was able to merge those two together, regardless of whether or not you're gonna end up charging hourly or fixed fee. This exercise is super important because at the end of the day, we spend a certain amount of time and we earn a certain amount of income. And, as you know, just a calculation. We have a certain hourly rate, and so it's helpful for us to just understand what that is and how that's playing into our goals. And so once we've got that figured out, then we can decide. How do we want a charge doing want to charge their clients on hourly or a fixed fee? Or do we want to do something different? And so there's a lot of pros and cons, you know, both for a fixed fee, Um, for fixed fee. You know, when you do in a set price, it means the clients committed to that. I probably have, ideally, gotta set process that I follow to fulfill that service. And there's the possibility that I could actually earn a very high hourly rate, because I can accomplish this process and finish this project and in an efficient amount of time. And so my profit margin can be much higher. The downside is, you know, if the project goes over and I don't have a system where I don't have the pro activity toe , address it, you know, I could end up at a loss that could end up losing money, or I could end up at a very low hourly rate. It also creates, in an incentive to get is the most amount of work done in the least amount of time possible , which in some cases is a good thing. But another times when things need to be more thorough or when things are a bit more chaotic, it's very difficult to follow that type of process. So on the flip side, you have hourly and our lease great, because it's tends to be fair. It's ah, you know, you end up charging the time that you spend and you end up getting paid for the time you spend and, um, and so the more you do them or you could pay them or the less you do, the less you get paid. The challenge with that is, you know, clients don't know exactly what to expect. They don't know how much that, um, they're going to pay for your services so they get a little anxious. They can go. Ah, you know, hourly, right? You know what? If you spend 100 hours and and I didn't and it doesn't actually help us and so there's a little bit anxiety there. But there are ways around that. There are ways you can kind of establish a system to help mitigate some of those weaknesses . Regardless of whether you do fixed rate or hourly, you can build a system around it that maximizes the strength and minimizes its weaknesses, and that's exactly what I've done. So I ended up deciding because of my personal goals and aspirations and what I was trying to accomplish. I realized hourly was gonna be the best fit for what I was trying to do. And so what I ended up doing is that build a system called the Batch Action Management System. Bam! And really, what it is is I work in batches of 10 hours at an hourly rate of $85 an hour, and I make sure that I do it to communication checkpoints and a cap checkpoint. Era ending point is what I call it. And really, what this does is it tells a client, Hey, your committee into a $150 I'm gonna spend 10 hours of his time and you're going to get at least two communication updates. And at the end of the 10 hours, I'm gonna stop. And so those communication updates asked as a way for you to redirect my efforts, change priorities, refine what I'm doing and the cap as is stop acts as a pause. Stop or continue, um, decision point checkpoint, for you are ASM for my customers, and this allows them to Really, I think of this as a steering will give them a steering wheel of my time in my efforts to make sure that I'm going in the right way. But at the same time, you know, I'm a self driving car and I can go in directions that I think our best and wisest. Um, but I also give the opportunity my client Teoh, to redirect me where they see fit, where they see is appropriate and and you know, there are things they see in their business that I don't see, and sometimes it's necessary for them toe. To be able to do that, this batch action management system really allowed me to have an hourly rate mitigate against the the weaknesses and maximise the strengths. And it really I created a system that allows me to operate as if a member of the team of this company, but still remain a freelancer. It also really helps set the stage or the foundation to help me have an ongoing, AH sustainable income source and and really shift from this for this project mentality to really an ongoing recurring type of service role and the Batch Action Management system does just a terrific job of that. All right, three more things we want to dive into as we talk about offerings and a compelling packages first is understand Who is our client? Who are you working with? For me, my target client is a company whose in a bit of chaos they operate like there in the Wild West. It can be chaotic and a sort of ah, in a positive growth Um, way. But it could also be chaotic in this. Since the ship is going down, we need help. But I work with ease primarily with the business owner themselves and their teams and helping guide them and and strategically plan for for what's to come but also operate in such a way that that I don't get too bogged down in the chaos, but also don't come too much part of it. And ah, really? When we think about the vision, um, one of the things we want to think about is what is our vision for our client? What is it that we've done when we've finished the job? When we've arrived at the destination, when they've concluded their journey with us, and you know, for me, I'm really it's about me helping them take the chaos and putting an order. It's about going from reactive to proactive. And and so I paint this vision from a customer. They've got a problem. I'm here to come in help guide them. Um, as the leader of the organization helped them communicate their vision to their team and help their team effectively execute that vision. And so those are things that I've learned that I've gotten really good at that I have been equipped to do over the years. And so one of things we gotta ask yourselves is what I you know, What's my personality? What are my strengths and how do I actually, you know, match up in terms of being able to do the things that I want to do for my customers? If I'm not, um, talented or experienced at what I'm wanting to offer, that I need to get up to speed or I need to look at doing something else. And so we won't understand who your client is, what our vision is for them, and what are we equipped to do for them specifically, And by asking yourselves an answering those questions, we should be able to narrow down our offerings. And so a couple of just kind of random tidbits toe think about as we explore. This is first is, you know, starting point. So for me, clients, sometimes they know what they want. Sometimes they don't. The things that I help with Ah, there that help, um, with a client is toe have these starting points to go. Hey, you know, if you want to start working together, here is some ways we can do it. And so for me, one of the ways that I do it as I will do it by I'll do an audit. Essentially, I say, Hey, let me come in and an audit your your company on at your marketing audit at your website and come in and just see, here's what I what I witness And here the things I've found, the opportunities for improvement problems, the the issues and these are the areas that that we can work on. So by going in and as a starting point doing an audit and it's a great way to start working with them. Another starting point you do. I work with a lot of companies that use hub spot and use a lot of automation, so a starting point could essentially be planning out doing a discovery and planning out on automation system to help them accomplish their goals. And so having these starting points allows them to transition. The auto is a great way to, ah have sort of a catch all starting point if they don't know what, where they need to start or what they need to get going with. So another question that comes up a lot when talking about offerings and packages strategic versus tactical. Do we do planning? Do we do strategy, um, as a freelancer? Or should I do tackle? Should I do? Should I jump in the trenches and should I do actual creation? And for me, I like to do both. I like to do a little bit of, ah, the strategic and a tactical because sometimes the strategic can have a lot of responsibility and a lack of specific, tangible, um, accomplishments that could be a little bit more fuzzy. And so having tactical projects, something that I could just work on to be done and feel accomplished is nice. And so I like to have a combination the two strategic and getting into consulting it can be more difficult, and some companies, they're gonna be more hesitant to do that. So it's also probably a harder road to go down in terms of just building up a book of business. But if you can build up a business of both and then and then have a combination, or if you build up a book of business of tactical clients and then start to request and meet with them and talk about doing strategic work, you can start to more for your business and to a combination. Or you could even go fully strategic if that's the approach she'd prefer to go. So, um so both routes are good. It's just about understanding the pros and cons of each and and and how to balance the two . And so the next thing won't talk about is really talk about three ways that we can differentiate ourselves from other freelancers from other companies, whoever it might be. Um, the first is understanding that our story differentiates us. Our story differentiates, so I'm a ah freelancer ir. Excuse me, I'm a former business owner and I'm a son of a business owner. My grandfather was a business owner and my great grandma grandfather, who was a bit slower, like, I am at least four generations of business owners. And so I work with business owners and I was one, and so have this unique story that helps me a line with my customers. And so you have a unique story. I remember one customer I worked with. He was, Ah, Homer. Innovation Read is designed, um, home remodeling and things like that. And he was a former chef and needed a kitchen remodeling. So think about that. Like, who better to have design, you know, designing or redesigning your kitchen than a chef. And ah, And he's gonna know the kitchen, how it works, had a maximize it and make it is efficient and effective as possible. And so that's a neat story. And you've got a story. We all have a story, and that story can aid us, and we gotta figure out what that story is and how it contributes to our unique selling proposition. The second thing that differentiates us is our faith and the vision that we have. What is it that we believe it's possible for us and our customer? What is it where do we Where do we believe we can take them? That they don't even believe where they're skeptical about? I have a kind of a client that I'm working with, and we're doing some really neat marketing. We've got a lot of strategy and, um, and actions moving along, but working for a few years and really moving towards this really neat place in terms of the success and sustainability that he has. But along the way he gets concerned. He questions a challenge, is it? He's worried about it, but we're moving and we continue move any trust me, and we work through those those moments of doubt and help reassurance. But I believe in this vision in this destination and that we're going to get there, and, uh and I and many times I have to believe when he doesn't and and so I've got a vision for this customer and further where were taken in his business. And you gotta have the same thing and got to be able to push through those difficult challenges that they may bring up. And they may, you know, you were trying to carry them to this wonderful place and They're the ones dragging and screaming. Um and ah, So we really got our seeing with the vision is and and and Ah and believe that we can we can get it. We can get us there on us speeding us and our clients. So So that's the second area of the way that we can differentiate. And the third is doing hard things. It doesn't make us unique in all senses, but doing hard things is hard until less people do it. And so the more hard things were willing to do, Um, the more likely it is, what we're going to be different from those around us. So figure out what those hard things are in the areas that we work and do them. And so once we've got those pieces figured out, we know what we do when we've kind of come up with a compelling way to present it and in position. Then we've gotta publish it. We've got to get it out there. We gotta put on your blogger to put it on our Facebook are linked in and got to get it out there so people know that's what we do, and and there's a lot that goes to that. But we also need to make sure that we start to build and promote our personal brand as a freelancer. It's us. Now. Some people may want to present themselves in the company versus a freelancer and pros and cons to both approaches. But then today, however you do it, I would just recommend that she be direct and transparent about it. Don't try to pretend that you're this big marketing company when you're just you just you know, you can still present yourself as a company, but present yourself as, ah individual come as an individual in that company and eso start to build your personal brand blawg, right, do the things you need to do and, uh, and start to grow your business. So again, we want to understand, you know, we talk about our offerings and a compelling package. We understand who we are, what our shrinks are, how we can help our customer who are customer is what our vision is for them. How we're gonna get him there. We make make sure that we publish what it is that we do, and then we promote that what we've published in as well as our personal brain so that people confined us. They know about us and, um, and make it easy for them to do business with us should they choose. So that's our offerings and a compelling package. Let's dive into the next one, which is building a steady stream of paying clients. 5. A3 - Steady Stream Of Paying Clients: All right, let's jump into building a study stream of paying clients. This is where the rubber meets the road. Can we actually get someone to pay us for the work that we do? And that's the idea here. So the first step is figure out how to get one client and then the figure. The final step is as creating enough clients that were able to sustain ourselves financially in terms of surviving but also accomplishing our goals. When we think about trying to find clients, a lot of it's going to depend on the context that you enter into freelancing. You know, for me when I entered in freelancing, I had a large in it. I had a large network I had built from the business that I had before that I had been in now in the city of Atlanta, and I had been in the city for for about a decade, so I'd built a large network, and so I knew a lot of people, and in fact, a lot of the people ended up working with initially were clients of my marketing company, or they were people that wanted to work with my marketing company. so I had a huge and just a huge advantage. And, ah, going from a marketing company to freelancing. But the idea is that the really to area as sides of the spectrum, you've got active clients which are the best source for increasing our our income. And then you got strangers and you got everyone in between. You got people that seek us out. You got people that that are interested in working with us. You got, um, people that have worked with us in the past. But you've got this spectrum and he got strangers on one side and you got active clients on the other. And I made the huge mistake when I first moved to Atlanta to To Target when I was working with my marketing company to target strangers and I'm went to networking event after a networking event, and they end up getting a lot of business out of it. But I had to put so much more effort toe build this network of strangers to get enough people and meet enough people, um, in order to get enough work for the business and and my freelancing by kind of reversing it , starting with active clients. People I've worked with people I know people that are interested in working with me. I have had way more success and haven't had to talk to many strangers at all in order to build a book of business. So when we think about going after, customers really need to figure out what are the lowest hanging fruit and how do I go after those people first and then when I've gone? You know when I've done that and I still need more work than I can start to explore some of the lower, um, hanging fruit, the ones that require more time and energy. So how I approach those people is really there's two ways to do. I kind of come up with this metaphor is called the Grill in the Cock the Crock Pot and the pretty simple You know, when you're grilling in the backyard with hamburgers and hot dogs, it's a flash of flame, and it's hot and you're cooking those, um, cooking that meat fairly quickly, and then you put it on the plate in your treatment and you've got the crock pride approach , and that's where you put in all the ingredients and you let it stew for hours and hours, and after several hours it's finally ready to eat. And in sales is really those air two ways that we can approach it. We can go look for the business. We can meet with people we can call. We can be fairly aggressive, and we can try and win that business and and be proactive in that. Or we can set the stage we can. Blawg Weaken writes it on articles on social media. We can make phone calls, recon, send letters. We can do all these things to cultivate the relationship and to marinate it to the point that sometime they'll end up working with us. And, you know, I've had clients where I've had an email newsletter that I sent out, usually on a sometimes a couple of times a month, and at least usually it's at least once a month, and I have had people that they were on that for for over a year before they end of ever even started asking about working with them and and, uh, and so I've had clients as a result of that. But some of them took over a year to really do that. And so as I've been freelancing as they become a freelancer, I become much more of a crockpot type of a sales person. And but when I started, my marketing company was much more of a grill sales person. And so the idea is not just to become one of others to figure out when is the best to be the grill on. When is the best to be the crockpot type cells person, and you may have a preference in a strength, but you're gonna have to just know how to read the situation and be able to adapt and do both if you want to have the most success, the next. Ah, um, you know, segment when you talk about building or having a city extreme of paying clients is having a predictable sales process. And the idea behind this is once you've done enough activity, you could start to figure out what are your numbers in terms of trends, to be able to figure out what it is you need to do to accomplish what it is you need to accomplish. So, for example, if you wanna have a certain amount of futile So you wanna have, um, $5000 in income per month and seen and you wanna have. That's five clients. So five clients paying $1000 per month. Okay, So in order to get five clients at $1000 a month, I need to be meeting with 25 prospects per month because ah, fifth of those, we're gonna become clients. So in order to get 25 prospects per month, I need to be networking and meeting Ah, 150 people per month. If I meet 100 50 people per month, I get 25 prospects. I get 25 prospects. I get five clients, I get five clients. I generate $5000 a month. OK, so it's a numbers game and simply what are those numbers? What are the conversions from one stage to the next? And it's simply determining. OK, and this is I know what my annual income is because we did that earlier. I know. In order to accomplish that, I need to have ah, Mr Nano clients based on my average, you know, and, uh, monthly income from each of my clients. And then I can back that up and go. You know it for me to do that, I need to meet 152 150 people per month. And by doing that I'll accomplish my financial goal. It might be 10 people. It might be 200 people, but we'll at least have a number. And that's our starting point. And then we could follow that process and weaken. Come in. I'm getting more business. I am planned on star conversions are better. Then we could pull back the numbers and do less meeting left people calling less people things like that. If we find you know what, we actually need to meet more people and we can start to adjust it. So the idea is to figure out what those numbers are, what the activities are, and then a map out a funnel so that we can actually accomplish our financial objectives has freelancers. We also have to fulfill the work that we're selling, so it is a bit more difficult. So one of the things we really need to do is we need to build a team of advocates. We need to get others out there that are advocating are selling on our behalf so that we don't have to do as much of that effort and their Streep three categories of people that can help us. There's rainmakers, happy customers and friends, rainmakers, happy customers and friends. Rainmakers are people. They don't nestle work with us. They just know us. They trust us. They have a good relationship and they send people to us because they know that we're going to do a good job and we're gonna take care of the people they send our way and And we should have a history that says that and if they do send them our way, we should take care of them. We also gonna have happy customers, people that love the work we're doing and they're just gonna tell everyone about us. They are raving fans, and so we want those. We want those customers, and so for us to have those when you make sure we do good work, we maintain good relationships with their customers. And then last we got friends, people that just care about us and want to help us, and they'll send people are way whenever they can. So we want to build a team of advocates. As we meet people, we want to try and put those into put people into those categories if they fit and really maintain those relationships because those were gonna be the lifeblood off our freelancing work and they're gonna be a part of our sales team and we can't do it alone. Freelancers You know, as much as we want to be independent, we really do need help. And, ah, and so building that community is hugely important when it comes to building a steady stream of paying clients, The last area is really building, Ah, book of work and a reputation where referral seek us out. Maria. People calling us emailing us that we have no idea who they are. But somebody told somebody told somebody, and they heard about us and they have to work with us. And when referrals are seeking us out, we know we've done something special in the work that we're doing, and we know we've had a milestone in terms of creating a sustainable business and creating a steady stream of paying clients. When it comes toe building a city stream of paying clients, there are a lot of factors It's about hustle. It's about understanding what that activity generates. It's about sort of ironing out that the formula of our activity and really understanding what's working, what's not and improving what's working, decreasing what's not and generating enough activity and essentially enough income to help us accomplish your financial goals and not doing it alone. We need help. We need referrals from rainmakers. We need referrals from customers and many referrals from friends. And by doing that, you know, we're gonna have a lot of success and we do good work. Over time, we're going to have people seek us out for, um, for the work we do, and we're gonna have those referrals and, um and that's what it is. You know, that's what we need to do. In order to have a steady stream of pain customers. Let's dive into the next section. Active clients are maximized 6. A4 - Active Clients Are Maximized: all right. The next area. Want to talk about its active clients are maximized. This is the fourth achievement, and probably one of the most neglected in terms of active clients are just the best way. They're the easiest in terms of getting more work, getting more income, adding to our annual revenue. The reason that is because we're working with them. They trust us. They're already paying us because of all those factors. There's less friction. That makes it a lot use here to get, um, new projects. As long as we've got the capacity to do it and the clients happy with us, this should be a no brainer. In order to do that, you know, there's a couple things that we need to keep in line. And first, as we need to cultivate client relationships, we need to be meeting with Their customers will be talking to them, even outside of just the work we do. We need to have a relationship with them. We need to care about them and their their life on bear, family and community be on the work that we do with them, and sometimes it might best. It might be a simple is getting a meal, giving him a call wishing him Happy birthday. Just letting them know, you know, that we care beyond the work we're doing, and sometimes this can be best done when we're not working together. You know when there's a glass gap between the time we're working together, you know, just reaching out and interacting with them. Even when there's nothing in this terms of a financial working engagement, that's, ah incentivizing us to do that. So another thing we want to do is talk. You know, it really explore passive incomes. You know, what are some ways that that's or some services I could offer where they would pay me in on a monthly, an ongoing basis, even if we stopped working together or even while we were working together. So what are some passive income streams that we could explore? You know, for me, I've got a website hosting service that I offer marketing consolidated marketing report that I offer also do a backup, an update package for those clients that have a website, so you know, they're kind of technical and marketing oriented, but there's a lot of other options out there, so simply is figure out what are those passive income options and make sure that we extend those to our clients. And, you know, even if they're not a lot, you know they can, they can add up really quickly. So at this point, I think in my journey, um, at about six or $700 a year and and excuse me six or $700 a month in passive income streams . And so you know, it's not a lot, but over the course of the year, you know, that's, um, you know, eight or $9000 there and ah, you know, it's it's ah, it's a lot of money when you ah, when you consider it's part of your annual income, it's it's ah good percentage of it. So we want to definitely keep that in mind and take it seriously. We were talking about maximizing our active clients. What we really want to do is we're wanting to take project work and turn into ongoing engagements, and so sometimes I'll have a client that comes to me, says Hey, can you build me? Yes, sir, Can you help me solve this problem and I'll help him do that, and sometimes it will be a one and done and we'll move on. But really, the sweet spot or the goal or the gold mine is to figure out how to take that one project and turn it into an ongoing engagement where we're working them with them every month and and hopefully over the course of the year or over the course of multiple years. And one of the ways that I've done that is by having a mindset by wearing this mindset called So fi and so fi stance for seeking opportunities for improvement, S O. F. I seeking opportunities for improvement so fi and so fi is, is essentially it's again some mindset that goes when I'm working with a customer on Project One. I'm looking around. I'm surveying the area. I'm keeping an eye out for opportunities for improvement, for problems, for issues that I see while we're working on the thing we're doing. And the idea is not to get too distracted by those things, but to simply document them to have a project management system that organizes those things so that when I'm finished, Project one and come back to the repository of ideas and go. Okay, we've got these other things. Do you want to move forward on addressing these? And so we go from one project to the next, and we've already got the next one lined up by having this mindset. So the idea is we got a document and we've got a organized, those things that come to mind. And so one of the ways that I do that as they use a system called Idema i d m a I d eight discover execute, maintain audit I e eight discover, execute, maintain, audit, Idema. And this is a system. It's a framework for capturing and sustaining ideas. And when I go into company and I start to ah, aggregate these ideas for these opportunities for improvement, I will take them. I will see them, and I'll put him into one of these buckets. Each of these letters I'll create a board and shallow or an air table and essentially start to place. I you know, ideas and I d. A. L. Projects that have started been planned. I'll put them in Discovery products that were executed, but they weren't finished. I'll put him in their products. That are being maintained, their being done on a regular basis of Put him in there. And then there's things that oh, you know what we need Audit this or we need to audit that. And I'll start to plug those into the audit stage once this Idema framework really gives me ah, great way to organize the different ideas and I and concepts that come from using this so fi mindset. And so, um, you know, that's really help sets the stage ultimately for what I call the sweet spot working relationship. And this is ah, when I think about a client, ultimately, I want all my clients to be a sweet spot client, and this means that I get proactive and responsive communication. You know, they're responding to my emails, phone calls and texts within a reasonable amount of time, and they're not essentially ignore me or what not. And if there is, there might be a reason or whatnot. But it what's the normal? And the second is value the relationship, you know, Do I care about the work we're doing, the person that I'm working with, the company that we're working with, those you know, those intangibles that that are more than just the money. And then when it comes down to it, you know, making the money does matter and making sure that there's prompt, inaccurate building, that we're getting paid on time and things like that. And so, ultimately a one a sweet spot working relationship with all my customers and and, you know, we were first starting out freelancing. We may have to accept some customers we don't like all the way around, but But over time we want to really, ah, filter down the customers we work with with just those that we love to work with the most. So those are a few the ways that, you know, we really add maximize our active clients again. It's one of the areas that tends to be neglected. But as you know the most easiest, um, ways to increase the amount of income and work that we're getting in. Some of it just takes being proactive, having some tools and systems in a mindset to help us really take advantage of that in a way that's organic and and invited. And so that's what it means to to maximize their active clients. So next we're going to talk about. How do we be unaffected by the roller coaster ups and downs that come with freelancing? 7. A5 - Unaffected By The Roller Coaster: the fifth achievement of freelancers that are successful is there unaffected by the roller coaster, The roller coaster. It's feast, It's famine. It's up and down. It's, Ah, journey. It's emotional, It's financial. It's a struggle. That's the struggle Weah's freelancer face. Entrepreneurs face it, Um, anyone without a job, he's someone. And that really faces the roller coaster that trends in economies. The trends in local, um, situations and contexts and mistakes and failures and successes. You know, they all affect the ups and downs. And so the idea is, how do we mitigate against the, you know, the downs and how do we really lean into the ups? And so we got to build a system that helps us, you know, combat that and the first is really building a financial flag system or a way to trigger or communicate or give us visibility and two thes ups and downs. The system I developed is called a color zone Sistemas Sesay s colors own system red, yellow, green and red. Being the survivor, the red alert, the all hands on deck kind of thing green is you know, there's abundance, There's good, everything's going well. Um, you know And then there's yellow, which is in the middle, you know, And we need to figure out in terms of the amount of income, the amount of hours were working. We need to have a way to identify when we're in green when we're in yellow and when you read. And so when we're in green, it means we need to be doing more project work, take care of our clients when we're red. It means we don't have as much project work. And we need to be out there meeting people doing sales, blogging, things like that to get awareness and essentially get more activity at the same time. When we're in green, we need to make sure we do a couple of those things that we when our clients or projects do . And we're not, um, in famine mode again. So having a system t give us visibility into where we're at on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and so for me, that's what I do. I know every day when I'm green on every week when I'm green. I know every month when I'm green. I know if my year is trending toward screen and um And if I'm in red, I gotta change my activities. And I know it in real time, and I'm able to adjust accordingly. That's the idea. The colors own system. Second, as we needed emotional support system, we need close friends. We need community. We need, um, some people that air that air mentoring us, or maybe, ah, if you've got a spiritually, um, belief system, you know, praying toe higher authority for guidance and support and seeking wisdom. But we gotta have both individuals and a collective group of people to really help shoulder the load and help us service ups and downs. Because there will be emotional depressions. There will be anxiety seasons of anxiety. I mean, I've had them both, and some of which have been very in devastating in a lot of ways than without the emotional community and support system. There's no way would have been able to push through some of the struggles that I faced in my journey, and so we really need to proactively build those communities and and do that ahead of time . It's always great to have a couple people in your community and your emotional support system who do What you do are freelancers who get it because you want to be able to just, you know, look at him and not and they get it, they understand, and someone to listen in to hear you out. And this is just critical for the success. On the flip side, we also want to have So we've got, you know, an activity buffer. We've got, ah, emotional buffer. But we also need a financial buffer. And I've developed a system called the water tower and a dive into in the book. Um, quite a bit, but really, what it is this the financial cash buffer. It's where you've got enough money in cash flow. You know, customers. You might envoy. Somebody may take him a week or two or a month to get paid. And so, while you're earned enough income, you may not actually have that money in your bank. And that could be trouble, man. Problematic. So the ideas let's make sure we've got a lump of money and are business bank account. We've got a lump of money in our personal bank account. And so when the client is late to pay, or when we don't have a project that we expected to come through. We have a financial buffer where we don't feel the brunt of that force. And we can essentially, through this financial buffer, create more of a steady flow or a steady, you know, feel to to our journey instead of feeling every time we don't have money or we do have money. Um, we can actually ah, um alleviate some of those adrenaline rushes that can come our way. And so the water tower is simply a way for us to understand what is their cash flow. And then how much money do we want to set aside, um, Teoh buffer us from that. And then ultimately, in the long run, it's how do we actually start to build wealth and income toe to sustain ourselves and say, for the short, medium and long term, um, Future and the Unites Real answers were we really gotta figure those pieces of a puzzle out ourselves and ah, and if we wait for somebody else to do it, you know, nobody's going to. And so we really got to be proactive and responsible in that regard. And and that's one of the ways that we do that. So the roller coaster, it can be brutal. There are ups, there are downs, but we can, you know, through giving ourselves visibility of those ups and downs, having activities that we know what we're going to do before who were stressed and emotional through the colors own system. You know, having an emotional support system and having a financial buffer and working towards building all three of those things is going to be huge towards us, having sustainable, um, financial and relational success and our journey. And that's the roller coaster analys dive into our six achievement wise and precise financial management. 8. A6 - Wise & Precise Financial Management: wise and precise financial management. It is probably the most boring of the eight achievements. But maybe most one of the most import and ones. If we don't keep an eye on our money, it can very easily get spent or disappear from different expenses. So we really wanna have visibility of our money and and understand what we're doing and how we can do it. Well, when we talk about getting precise and wise, we really wanna first. Starting point is to get legit, set up a bank account, set up a business. Yes, we're a business of one is a freelancer, but go set up A s corporation or an LoC or some type of business entity One for the protection. But there's also financial benefits as an escort. You know, weaken, Uh, we can pay ourselves a dividend for some of the income that we earn, which saves us a little bit of money on taxes. And so, you know, we want to get legit. We also have a bank account by keeping it separate. It makes it a lot easier to manage it. It also protects us several years ago is audited by the I. R. s and the way that I had everything set up made it really difficult, um, to challenge a lot of the things that they were saying. And so I ended up as a result. Um, you know, going forward with my business, I changed it to an escort. And so as a freelancer, that's what I have is An S Corp. And it really gives me the most protection and the financial benefit. So we want to get legit. We want to set up our bank accounts and and really manage our freelancing separately from our personal finances. We also want to make sure that we're easily tracking our expenses, our time and our invoices again. We want to be tracking our expenses, our time and our invoices. So expenses. We just want to make sure where we know what we're spending, and we're not going above what we're able to afford. We want to manage your time, especially for billing hourly. But even if you're not charging hourly, you still want to know how much your time you're spending for different clients and what you're working on so that if you're doing a fixed fee, you can at least at the end of the project run a report of how much you earned and how much time you spent. Um, if you are charging hourly than it's important for me toe and for those that do that to really understand how many hours you're logging when you're when you're logging them and and being able to report on those so that you can build appropriately and then invoices and you know we need to make sure we're sending them, we need to make sure that they're being tracked in a system so that we cannot follow up when they're late or when, UM, when they don't make it through and make sure you know, when there's, uh, issues were able to resolve those and and quickly view and have visibility and what's going on. And so these three areas, if we just miss one of them or two of them, or even all three, it could be devastating to our business. And we confined ourselves in a financial situation very quickly, Um, that that were not happy with. I'll give an example. I have a client that I'm working with, and I switched my invoicing systems recently in the new system. Their voices weren't going through, and I noticed that they hadn't been paying them by, but I didn't really do anything about. I figured it eventually get resolved. And and so you know, the oldest invoice was about a month old and I was like, All right, something's up. So I ended up looking at it, Will turned out all of my emails were going into their spam folder. And so if I had a address that a few weeks earlier, then I would gotten paid earlier and I would have to deal with that that issue so late. So even an experienced freelancers such as myself can still face these issues and they crop up and it's just a matter of being proactive and continually, you know, fighting against the different realities that that come closing in as freelancers. Lastly, you know what we wanted to. We also want to figure out, Ah, when we are invoicing, we want to make sure we're getting paid and we're painting either earlier on time. And so what are your terms? You know, for me, I used to do net 15 which meant they could pay 15 days after I ended up, I decided to do it at net 10 which would give me, you know, it would become late five days earlier, which would give me a reason to follow up. And ah, and so I ended up making that change and that helped get cash will make it a little bit cleaner and tighter, as always, get paid a little bit earlier if I really wanted to get paid, um, early than I would actually expect payment as soon as I sent an invoice due on receipt and even expect payment before I start work on projects. A lot of the clients I work with it be a little bit difficult to do that with. So I try and adjust it so that it's practical for them as well as you know, not too much trouble for me. So, you know, being like Net 30 or or net 60 which I've heard and and have experienced before, is not something that that I would recommend, and I would definitely push against that unless it was just the absolute only way to do it . But usually even in those cases where you have companies like that, they always have a work around, so if you push hard enough, you're likely be able to get accommodated accordingly. So, though, and when it comes to precise and financial management, we also we want to make sure that that the way we pay ourselves and our taxes are turn key . It may not always be easy, but if we can at least keep things organized, keeper expenses in line be tracking them. Ah, when it comes to paying ourselves, I use a payroll company so they will actually take the money from the business account and run a payroll and put it into my personal count. And they deal with the taxes as part of that process. And so I'll run a payroll every month, and, um and so the idea is, Ah, when they get to the end of the year, they've done all the tax pieces they've done the reporting that that needs to be done with the Harris. And I simply, um, you know, just run the, uh, initiate the payrolls. And so it makes my life easier. I do pay them a fee, and so you know, it's just a trade off. Do I Do I want to pay that fee or not, and I found that it's been worth it for me toe to avoid that headache of of the payroll in taxes. So that's part of the puzzle. I also at the end of the year I pay ah ah attacks C p A. To go through my taxes and and run both my personal and professional business returns and evaluate everything. And make sure you know, that if there's anything I need to do or adjust or change or pay that I can take care of that. And so I try and make those just easiest possible. And by using the CPI and apparel company have taken a lot of the responsibility off my plea , and I've outsourced it for a small fee. Be able to help me with that. And so that's part of precise and wise financial management. Again, it's not sexy. It's not exciting, but it is vitally important to our freelancing business. So next up we're going to talk about unifying our personal and professional lives 9. A7 - Unified Personal & Work Lives: the seventh achievement of flourishing freelancers is they've unified their personal and work lives both professionally and personally. There's alignment. One works on the behalf of the other and vice versa. And so one of the things with with this achievement is we really don't want to go into freelancing and sacrifice the rest of our lives. It's very easy, as the freelancers will be consumed by our clients and the work that we do and essentially forget everything else that matters, including our own personal well being. And so one of the first steps we gotta do when it talks or one of the first checkpoints, you know, when it comes to personal and professional unity, is toe have what I call a response of budget, and so our personal finances are going to be affected by our professional work and the finances, an income of our freelancing work. So we knew adapt. And so in the first year freelancing for me, I really had to figure out how to We were making money, but we weren't making money, and I realized the reason was, as we were spending as if we had a steady income. But we weren't actually making a city income. So I had to build a responsive budget. And so I had in a Survivor's budget and headed achievers budget. And then I had a and between budget, and essentially when we were doing well, we could spend more. When we were doing less, we could spend less, and it helped. Reining in our spending allowed us to spend more or less based on the situation, and so that responsive budget really adapts with us with the ups and downs that we talked about in the roller coaster. Um, the second thing we really need to talk about when it comes to unifying our personal and professional lives is bringing our family and close ones along. I'm married. Many freelancers are married, some or not submergence stating some maybe ah, living with family or, um, have close, ah, friends that that are in their lives. And the idea is that we really need to bring them along in the process. For me, I need to bring my spouse along. You know, it can be stressful, um, for me, but it can also be stressful for her not knowing whether they are we making enough money or we're gonna be OK or we're not gonna be okay. What do I need to do? Any spend less, spend more. And so I ended up starting to do Ah ah, monthly report where I bring her along haters where I'm Here's what I'm up to Here's what's going on here is where we're at financially and what you need to be aware of and really gives her visibility. And so that way she knows she doesn't have to worry about the unknown. She has a good idea of what's going on. And if something's going, if something is not going well, you know, I can communicate that and what I'm doing to resolve it. And, ah, you know, I've had times in the business where I didn't communicate that with her, where things weren't going well and she operated as if they were, and in reflection years, she said, Hey, if you would just let me know I could have adapted it could have changed, so that could have made I wouldn't have made the situation worse, and and just by having that visibility and so we really want to bring our friends and family along, um, inner journey. Also, we wanna have active rhythms of rest and release. You know, we can't be running a marathon. We got a jog it and it may also means we need to pace ourselves. And else it means we need to take breaks. And and so one of things that I do is we'll take a daily, weekly monthly and annual break, will have ramp up and ramp down times to really help me get into the day and then to close out the day but to also compartmentalize the different parts of my life. And yes, they're gonna overlap, and it's gonna be a bit crazy. But I wanna have these active rhythms of rest and release so I can continually get rejuvenated because I can't keep giving and giving when I don't do anything to recharge. I've got to take that time to do that. And and and so, ah, you know, part of that is also about living a healthier life and would be drinking water and teas and they need to be walking and running and praying and journaling. I need to be taking care of myself and taking the time to rest and reflect and grow personally and also physically take care of myself and my body and um and so those are a couple of the pieces. When it comes to unifying both personal and professional lives, it's it's bringing, you know, making sure our finances, Aaron Unity, making sure that are really close relationships are in unity and that are freelancing is is benefiting those not not harming them. And then we also want to make sure that we're giving her were pacing ourselves in a positive and healthy way as well as taking care of ourselves. And, you know, when it comes down to freelancing you, what is it for us? Is it a launching pad? It is. Is it a destination? You know, for me, I intend to be a freelancer for a an extended period of time. In the type of freelancing I'm planning to do is probably going to change over time as well . But But it's sore for me. It's a bit of a destination and a and a launching pad in in those two different ways, But the idea is to really understand what it is and how is freelancing actually helping me personally accomplish my goals aspirations and really help me have the financial and time freedom that that I want. That's what it looks like when we unify our personal and professional lives. The last achievement next is we share what we mastered. We take what we've known, what we've learned, what we've bastard and we share it with others, and we're going to dive into that next. 10. A8 - We Share What We've Mastered: when it comes to mastering freelancing. By this point in the journey, we figured out how to succeed in how to do it in an on going basis, and it's at this point we need to take what we've learned, what we've experienced, what we were. He failed and where we succeeded and we need to share with the next generation. We need to share it with those around us, and that's the last and final achievement we share. What we've mastered. This is the achievement where we learn how and why we know what we know. We get to refine the parts of what we know to be even better. We get to realize where their gaps and cracks in our understanding and we're really tested as we share what we mastered with others and they challenge us and push back. But it's a really need opportunities for us to finish and finish the work in terms of understanding, freelancing, how it works, how it affects us and how we can really succeed at and also understand that there are also many ways to succeed at it, and not any one way is the only way. And so um when we're sharing what we've mastered, it helps us. You know, we do grow. We do learn, but also helps us give back and share with others and help others accomplishing. When we were freelancing in ourselves, many people have come alongside us and helped us and and really want to take that, um, generosity, and we want to pass it along. We want to pay it forward and do it to those, um, you know, share what's been given to us with others, and and that's what this last achievement comes down to. And there's really four areas that we're gonna talk about when it comes to sharing. We wanted to share insights with others. It might be verbally. It might just be meeting with them and, ah, and hearing what they're going through and just saying, Hey, here's what I did. Here's how how you can overcome that. Also, it's about broadcasting those things. It's writing. Um, it's sharing them on social media. The third areas were actively mentoring. People were getting together on a one on one basis on a regular basis, and we're sharing life. We're helping them through different challenges, but we're getting we're going deeper and we're going, um, wider and really helping them as as fellow freelancer and giving them the opportunity and platform to ask us questions and help them work through it. And in the last and final area is that we've built a permanent beyond a system, something where people can access it. Resource is videos, courses, books, something that even when we're no longer able to teach when we're no longer able to share when we're possibly no longer here on Earth, when we've passed away or died, um others can still benefit from the wisdom and insights and experience that we've gone through. And people can continue to be helped even beyond ourselves. And so it really comes down to our legacy. You know? What are we leaving behind for those that follow us in a way that they can really benefit for themselves? You know, it really comes down to a legacy. And how can others benefit from what we've gone through even beyond what we're personally capable in terms of our time and availability and and and where we're at in our life. And so we want to be able to put something out there in a way the others can really benefit from. And that's what it means to create a permanent beyond me system. And so that's the last part of the last section. You know, really, it's about taking what we know, paying it forward, like I said, And, uh and it really needs to come out of Ah, for me. It comes from a heart of generosity. The others have poured so much, they've given so much to me. And it's really just help me succeed in freelancing and and I don't want to just hoard that . I don't want to just take that to my grave. I wanna I wanna right it documented. And I want to put it out there in a compelling and exciting way so others can benefit in the same way that I have. And so this may seem like something that you don't want to dio, um, and or it can seem like a cumbersome or or annoying. Ah, gotta teach someone. I gotta go outside of my bubble and and help others. But it can also be one of the most rewarding achievements on the list, especially after we really we have accomplished success. You know at some point that gets adult, Um, it's only when we start to share that success with others that we really understand the meaning and and benefit behind it. So I encourage you to explore that further and ah, and ah, we'll go ahead and close out this course here on ah, flourishing and freelancing. 11. Reviewing The 8 Freelance Achievements: all right, we've covered all eight achievements. We talked about being fully committed to freelancing, talked about our offerings and a compelling package. We've talked about building a steady stream of pain clients. We've dived into the concept of maximizing or active clients and being unaffected by the roller coaster. We've also talked about the achievement of wise and precise financial management, unifying our personal work lives. And finally we we just talked about. I'm sharing what we've mastered, mentoring others and building a beyond US system. And, ah, so we dived into these eight concepts, these eight achievements and really, you know, if we can understand each of these eight achievements, figure them out, understand what what they are, how the effect us and how we can master them were really setting ourselves up for success. And the idea here is that these aren't necessarily eight achievements that we're going to go through in a linear form or something that you know we accomplish one and go to the next . It's likely to be a hodgepodge. You'll probably master one and drop another, and then you'll end up figuring out how to maintain and sustained two of them at one time, and then you add 1/3 1 And it's like juggling you, juggling one balls easy, juggling two ZZ juggling three is manageable. But when you start juggling, a gets really, really difficult. And that's the idea here with freelancing is it can be very difficult to manage all eight of these pieces. And there's different tools, and resource is that we can leverage to help us do that more effectively and make our lives a little bit easier. But the idea is we still need to understand. Have a visibility into these eight areas and make sure that we're sustaining them and was long as we do that we'll have continued success and, uh and that's really what it's about. You know, it's about understanding these these achievements. But the first step in understanding them for ourselves is to figure out where we are, where we are in the process. Um, where am I and each of these achievements And so I'm gonna walk us through the process. I'm gonna take us through a couple of, you know, mental exercises and figure out Where are we as a freelancer? Where are we in these different achievements, Seiken grade myself and figure out. What do I need to do next? How do I take my next step? And so that's where we're gonna jump into next year. 12. BONUS: Assess Your Freelancing Stage & Build A Simple Action Plan Forward: all right. This video here is designed to help take us through a self assessment figure out where we are as a freelancer. And so we talked about the four stages of commitment earlier on the four stages of commitment and connection, and we talked about the survivor, the dreamer, the visionary in the achiever. And I'm going to use that phrase that vocabulary here, as we do this self assessment cause really want to figure out where we are as a freelancer . But we also want to figure out where we are in the different areas of freelancing you. For each of the eight achievements, we might be a survivor and one and a dreamer and another an achiever in another. So we want to dive into these at at a high level of a swell, as is deep down below. We're going to start with the first achievement which is fully committed to freelancing. And that's where we really ask yourselves. You know how committed, um are we and ah, so we want to ask, you know, we want to find out, you know, in my a survivor, um, I simply doing what I'm doing, um, with no idea or clue. Um, just moving along where the current takes me and my dreamer where I see the potential in freelancing and and I'm exploring it, I'm learning about it. And my a visionary, I've got an intent to freelance. I understand why I'm doing it and and how I attempt how I'm attempting to go about it. So I'm trialling. I'm testing it out. Where are you? An achiever? Freelancer. You are fully committed. You understand the realities and you're in it till the end, no matter the highs and lows. So? So just think about that. Where do you fit as a freelancer? Where are you? All right, so let's talk about the second achievement offerings in a compelling package. The question we want to ask is, Are in my an achiever? Am I a visionary and my a dreamer or my survivor in terms of offerings in a compelling package? If you're a survivor, you haven't thought about it. Um, and the fact that I'm bringing it up might simply move you from survivor to dreamer. If you're dreaming, you're thinking, Yeah, I love to figure out what I'm good at and I love to figure out how toe Publish my offerings . And and And you just kind of learning and exploring you. Your dreamer. If you're a visionary, you've tried some things out. Maybe you've blogged a little bit about it. Ah, you've told some people may be verbally, but you're testing it out. You're trying out. If you're an achiever, you have figured out what you're offering is who you're working with. You've written it down, you published it and you are promoting it in yourself. Then you are an achiever. So just take a moment. Note down what it is that you are in terms of. Are you a survivor, dreamer, visionary or achiever in the second achievement offerings in a compelling package? All right, The third achievement is a steady stream of paying clients. So if you're survivor, you're like that's even possible. If you're a dreamer, you're going add left. Definitely. I'm learning all about how to do that. What it takes if you're a vision. Er, you've probably gotten a few clients and you know it's possible, but you're not quite sure how to figure it out. If you're an achiever, you figured it out and you're doing it consistently So take a moment and write down whether or not you're a survivor, dreamer, visionary or achiever. In this third achievement of steady stream of pain clients, our rights, the next achievement the fourth achievement as active clients are maximized. We want to ask ourselves, Are we a survivor, dreamer, visionary or achiever? And this area, If you've never even knew that you could maximize clients, you're probably survivor If you've thought about how you can maximize your clients, but you never done anything about it, you're probably a dreamer. If you've actually had a few clients where you've been able to get a little bit more work or Upsell them, you're probably a visionary. If you consistently, um, up sell and get new work out of your customers. You're an achiever in this achievement, so take a moment to write down where you are. All right. The next one is you are unaffected by the roller coaster. You are unaffected by the roller coaster. If you are just riding the roller coaster screaming your head off and you have no idea how to get on or off, you're probably survivor. If you're a dreamer, you're thinking about how do I get off this roller coaster, how to get off the shoulder coaster and you're thinking about it. But that's about it. If you're a visionary, you figured out some tips and trips on how to manage that roller coaster. If you're an achiever, you've set up the emotional and financial systems where you have a steady freelancing vocation, and you don't feel the ups and downs freelancing to take a moment and write down where you are in that state and that for that achievement. All right, so the next achievement is wise and precise. Financial management. If you didn't even know that was a thing, you're a survivor. If you thought about being wise with your money, you're probably a dreamer. If you've started trying or tried out some things, you know, got some tools or bought some software started tracking things than you are a visionary. If you are consistently tracking and you have visibility and what's going on, you know how much you're spending your invoices, who's like you are an achiever to take a moment, write down where you are. If eso let's jump into the seventh Achievement with is a unified, personal and work lives. If you are essentially just working all the time and no boundaries anywhere, you're probably survivor Just simply hanging on. If you're a dreamer you've thought about man. I would love to have, you know, work life, balance or work. Life unity. You're a dreamer If you've actually put some boundaries in place and tried some things, but just haven't figured out how to make it all work. You're a visionary if you've got clear boundaries and you just consistently, um, enforced them in terms of personal and work balance. And, you know, they're both working in harmony. In fact, you know, your work is actually helping you accomplish personal goals. And your personal, um, work is personal activities were helping your your freelancing. Then you are an achiever for this seventh achievement. So go ahead and take a moment to write down where you are. All right. The last section is ah, the last achievement as we share what we've mastered. And this is where we're taking what we know and we're and we're sharing it with other freelancers and helping teach them. And if you've never even thought about it, you're definitely a survivor in this area. if you thought about you know what? I could probably help others with what I know and what have experience. You're a dreamer. If you've actually taken, sometimes you had some conversation. He may be written a few blocks here and there. Your visionary. If you're actively sharing, teaching and mentoring others, you are an achiever. Go ahead and take a moment to write down where you are. All right. So we've now gone through all eight achievements and you've documented where you are for each women. So you've self assessed yourself. Now, the question you need ask yourself is which of these is the most important? Which of these do you need to master quickly. And I want you to go and take all eight achievements, and I want you to write them down in order of most important tell least important, that's the most important toe Least important. Go ahead and take a moment to do that positive video if you need to and go ahead and write down from most important toe least important now that we have most important to least important. I want you to look at the top three and I want you to go ahead and write what's in action. You can take for a number one. What's in action you could take for number two. And what's an action you can take for number three to help move you along and and actually move over towards mastering that achievement? Go ahead and take a moment to write that down. All right, Next to three of those actions, I want you to put a date when you're going to do those three different actions. Go ahead and write down a date of your goal of when you're actually going to do those three things. Go ahead and write it down. All right. You've reading these reactions down and you've got a date next to those three. Each time you accomplish a task, I want you to look back and add another task either to one of the the achievements that you've decimated as most important. Once you feel like you've mastered it, then I want you to move onto the next one. And I want you to continue to work through these until you've mastered all the different areas and you've learned to unify these pieces of the puzzle. Now, if you want to go deeper. You want to get more insight, More details I've included Ah, lot of resource is and all the sections on this course to help you dive into the different respect, the different achievements, the checkpoints of each achievement and the details of those if you want further inside and direction. I definitely recommend that you pick up a copy of the book path of the Freelancer, An actionable guide, um, for flourishing and freelancing again. My name is Jason Scott Montoya on the author. You can find it on Amazon, and a book will go in deeper and more in depth to help guide you through this process in terms of, um, taking what's been shared and going deeper, but also giving a little bit more details in terms of your action plan. So I highly recommend diving into that, But I've also included a lot of resource is in this online courses well to help guide you through a lot of these pieces as well. If you have any questions, please do Adam to the Q and a section of the course, and I'll be happy to answer those as you post those. Thank you so much for taking the song like Works for Flourishing and freelancing have a wonderful journey