After starting podcasting several years ago, I had no idea where my podcasting journey would take me. And it's still an excellent opportunity to refine and grow my process as I explore podcasting further in 2020. All that being said, you're tuning into the 100th episode of this podcast.
I've gone through some changes since I launched, such as niching down even further to content that will specifically help freelancers. And I took an 18 month break in between ending that sort of first season of my podcast and rebooting in 2019. That being said, if you're a new listener to this show, I wanted to do a recap for this 100th episode of the top 10 episodes that are the most downloaded, the most talked about, the ones that I feel are the best and can be the most helpful for freelancers.
So I'm going to recap these 10 episodes for you to give you a brief introduction about what that episode is about and why it's important. This would not be a good episode to listen to if you are driving, exercising, or not able to easily write things down. If you are able to write things down, you can grab these episode numbers and make note of the ones that you want to go and take a listen to.
A relatively recent episode that is all about the freelancers guide to raising your rates. I get questions about people raising their rates all the time. It does not have to be that complicated. It's important to raise your rates on a regular basis. But a lot of freelancers seem to get stumped with this idea of how they should do this. I get questions like:
This is an area where a lot of freelancers tend to overthink. So if you're confused about some of my recommended approaches, check out “Episode 91: The Freelancers Guide to Raising Your Rates”.
This is one of my favorite time management and productivity tips, the Pomodoro Technique. I use the Pomodoro Technique every single day. And Episode 10 is called “Pump Up Your Business with the Pomodoro Technique” because it really has the potential to be a game changer and help you lay out your dates more effectively.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see a lot of people make is trying to work in really long uninterrupted stretches and thinking, “Well, you know, if I spend six hours on this project, I can knock it out from beginning to end.” What tends to happen for most people is that that's too overwhelming and too long. So thinking about how you can chunk your work into smaller segments, and remain hyper focused during that period, is really what the Pomodoro Technique is all about. In this episode, I gave you some ideas for how to get started. And then some of the different timers and tools that I recommend or have used with the Pomodoro Technique.
Now, there's been a lot of really good research about how many pomodoros, which typically means 25 minute work segments, but can also refer to 50 minute work segments, are optimal in a day? This isn't a situation where you want to take that eight hour work day and say that you're going to have 16 pomodoro in that period with no breaks beyond five minutes in between each one. There's definitely a sweet spot to hit there with several focused work periods per day. But not overloading yourself, because your brain really has a hard time keeping up with that.
I would love for you to go back and listen to Episode 17, where I had guest Catherine Morehouse talking about the power of niching down. Now a lot of freelancers and freelance coaches will tell you that you should never niche down. That is something I do not agree with. Because I think that niching down has the potential for you to start charging as an expert and really be a specialty provider.
If you are just a writer, there are so many writers that you have no way to distinguish yourself. And niching down doesn't have to mean that you claim one particular industry or one type of project and you do that forever. With freelancing you have a tremendous amount of flexibility. But we talk in this episode about how focusing on the clients you like to serve best makes you become the go to person for that service. So go listen to Episode 17 if you're curious about whether or not you might want to niche down in 2020.
Switching back over to these time management and productivity tips, This one is called “Stop Changing Lanes in Your Brain”. This is another thing that I coach freelancers about a lot. And it works hand in hand with the Pomodoro techniques that I covered in Episode 10.
Changing lanes in your brain by constantly switching between different types of tasks is not just exhausting, it's really inefficient. And yet, it's the way that 90% of freelancers run their business. Choosing instead to batch your work and to focus on particular tasks during certain blocks of time is much more likely to make you feel successful and not as exhausted at the end of the day. So check out Episode 23 if you want to learn a little bit more about what I mean by changing lanes in your brain and how you can kind of break out of some of those bad habits.
Another challenge into that basis, a lot of freelancers, especially those who are scaling, is shiny object syndrome. This is the idea that you see a new project or idea and you run with it all the way before fully evaluating it. And that takes your focus away from some of the activities that you really need to be doing to grow your business.
So Episode 26 with guest Rita Morales is perfect if you're thinking about how to cope with shiny object syndrome. How much is enough? When is an idea just an idea that you should store as a potential future thing to explore? And when is it something you need to take action on right away?
I just recently recorded this episode. It is a must must must listen to episode. This was with guest, Mariam Tsaturyan. And we were talking about freelance contracts. What goes into a contract? What mistakes do freelancers make when putting together contracts? What clauses are Must have, or clauses that you should be aware of when they come to you and a client provided contract?
Mariam is not just an attorney, she is a freelancer herself. And she sells some amazing templates to help you get started so you don't have to pay hundreds of dollars to an attorney.
So that's Episode 94. Any Freelancer in business for themselves has to know how to use contracts. So I strongly recommend that episode.
This episode is all about choosing the right clients. I had a guest on the show who was an editor and we talked a lot about what it really means to define who your ideal client is and how to work specifically and mostly with those clients.
If you've been listening to this podcast for any period of time, you know that I am a big advocate of only working with the right clients. The right client means your ideal clients, the rock stars that you want to build your business around. But so many freelancers get tied into this idea of wanting to work with everyone and making themselves a little too available to those potential clients.
In this episode, you'll hear from both me and my guest Elizabeth, what it means to choose the right clients and what that looks like for us. Because even though it's important that everyone should implement only working with their ideal clients, that's going to look different from one freelancer to another. And it's up to you to determine what your ideal client avatar is.
A lot of freelancers get hung up on, “Well, should I only work with one particular type of client? Should I only work with one type of industry? Is that what it means to say that I have an ideal client?” Sometimes you can go too far with that and you limit yourself as far as what opportunities are coming to you.
So it's important to think about what's that perfect balance that I can implement in my business that is going to be really successful for me to attract the right people and also repel the wrong people. Because you definitely want to make sure that you have a nice balance between those two things.
And I've got a great freebie that goes along really well with that, and it is called “Creating an Ideal Client Avatar”. You can visit https://www.betterbizacademy.com/creating-an-ideal-client-avatar/. There is a PDF there that can help you walk through figuring out who your ideal client is.
I believe this episode is a must listen. It is all about toxic freelance clients. And it's interesting because since I recorded this episode, I've seen so many people own that term of toxic freelance clients and use it in their own way. So it's been really interesting to see how that has kind of spread from what I define a toxic freelance client as working with the wrong person or the wrong team can be really detrimental to your mental and physical health and also the way that you feel about your business every day. So listen in on some examples of what toxic freelance clients can be, and how to figure out if you are currently working with one.
Another must listen is the episode that comes in the number two spot on this top 10 list. That's “Episode 75: What to Do When Nothing is Converting with Your Clients”. Nothing drives me crazier than someone who says, “I've been pitching for two years and haven't had any results.” Never wait until the point where it's been six months, a year, or even two years before you ask questions about what you could be doing more effectively and figuring out why nothing is landing.
When I've worked one on one with freelancers in this situation, 9 of 10 times there's something wrong in their process. That's pretty easily fixed. It could be that their pitches are terrible or their work samples don't speak to what they're claiming in their pitch. They're targeting the wrong clients or they're not pitching enough. And so all of those things are really within your control as a freelancer and business owner. So listen in on what I recommend you do, based on where you're at in your business and some of the challenges that you're having if nothing is working.
And number one on the list of Top 10 episodes is “Episode 80: 10 Habits of Successful Six Figure Freelancers”. At the time I'm recording this episode, I am working on the final draft for my second book, which will come out in October 2020, “The Six Figure Freelancer”.
I've done a lot of interviews with other six figure freelancers. And I've worked with quite a few aspiring and current six figure freelancers in a coaching capacity. I've taken some of the things that they all have in common, or some of the habits they tend to most frequently have or work towards, to be successful.
Even if your goal isn't to have a six figure or multi six figure business, it's very important to think about the mindsets and the habits that other people who run a business at that level have. Because even adopting some of those could help you with your time management, your client selection, or with the way that you attract clients to you. You may be thinking, “I don't have the time or the interest to build a six figure freelance business.” It's still valuable to listen in to those different habits and workflows that six figure freelancers adopt because it can really make a difference in your business, even if you are only a side hustler.
Remember, if you have an episode idea, you can submit that to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those of you who have been tuning in since the beginning, thanks for hanging around until Episode 100. And I hope the future episodes continue to serve you just as well and help you really scale your freelance business.
Thanks for tuning in for another episode of the advanced freelancing podcast. For more freelance advice, get a copy of my book Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business—available now! Buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and more.