Skip to main content

Working For Yourself: A Collection of the Best Advice I’ve Been Given

I have been working for myself since 2012. It was, as with most businesses, a slow start but I’ve managed to grow my business as well as maintain several original clients over the years. Along the way, I was given some great advice by a diverse group of people. These are things that have served me well in running my own business. I thought, now that we’ve crossed the threshold into 2018, it would be a good time to reiterate some of these pearls of wisdom. Here are the top 4 things people told me that helped me successfully work for myself. 

1. Raise Your Prices

Early in my writing career, a friend gave me this advice: “Keep raising your prices until someone won’t pay it.” We are so good at undervaluing ourselves and chances are your instincts are to do just that. It’s hard when you work for yourself to balance your sense of worth with what you charge. But you shouldn’t try to second guess what you’re clients won’t pay. Instead, share with them your pricing without making excuses or caveats.  
2. Pick Your Battles

We always believe that we know best. And it’s true when it comes to some clients, we may feel their requests are unusual or unnecessary. But are they really? And what are you really going to lose if you just do what they’ve asked? Unless the request is illegal or unethical, if the client is willing to pay, go ahead and do the project that you might believe is useless. The client has determined it has value for them.

3. Hire An Accountant

I am not particularly good with money or math. So it was a no-brainer for me to hire an accountant when I began working for myself. But even if I felt comfortable doing my own quarterly taxes and annual tax returns, I still recommend working with a professional accountant. It’s an added layer of protection to make sure you’re following all the right guidelines. That peace of mind is well worth the expense.

4. Have An Accountability Network

When I started many people recommended that I find a mentor. Someone who has done what I wanted to do and succeeded. And while I did find these relationships useful, over time they evolved. Now, I am far more interested in accountability. I keep in contact with several other people who also work for themselves and we check in from time to time to see how we’re doing. If we can, we offer support to one another and even project leads.

Do you work for yourself? What would you consider the best advice for someone who wants to be self-employed?  


Popular posts from this blog

What Am I Reading on Facebook?

Facebook gets a lot of bad press these days. Many people have threatened to jump ship but the alternatives haven't proven to be sustainable. Facebook is a machine, for better or for worse, and many of us still use it to not only connect with our friends and family but also for our businesses.

I manage 16 different pages for clients or projects. It was 15 until a couple of months ago when I finally decided to bite the bullet and create a professional page for my writing work. Why did it take me so long? I really have no idea but now that I have created it my job is to keep it updated and grow my audience.

I have noticed that Facebook is becoming inundated with types of content pages. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of them all. For instance, my business page has almost the same name as my personal Facebook timeline. Laura LaVoie and Laura M. LaVoie aren't that much different when you see it quickly scroll past, but for me that M is the distinguishing mark between persona…

Creative Content: What Should You Focus on for Your Website?

There is a lot of information about what businesses should or should not include on their websites. Having a blog is encouraged, but how do you optimize it? Keywords and tags are important, but not if they're part of an incoherent word salad.

As a writer, my goal is to create content for your business that is readable, educational, entertaining, and fits your overall personality and style. 

My earliest lesson with this was for one of my first clients after I started writing full time. I was asked to write a variety of small "vignette" type pages for a wrought iron company. I had to write a lot of them, using specific keywords. I knew if I just wrote the same basic stuff over and over again, it wouldn't attract readers back to their site. And it probably wouldn't convert them to customers.

So, I got creative. But not too creative. I got just creative enough. Here are some examples where the requirement was to work in certain keywords.
Balusters in Buckingham Palac…