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If you’re a storyteller of any kind, or an aspiring writer, The Authentic Swing is a superbly inspiring book for you to read.
It’s not a long read. It’s not about golf. And it’s not yet another how-to book.
In essence, it is the origins story of a novel, and—on a much deeper level—it is a book about finding one’s authentic voice and writing style.
Steven Pressfield based this book on his notes from the writing of The Legend of Bagger Vance, his first and breakthrough novel, set in the game of golf. It sold over 250,000 copies and was eventually made into a movie directed by Robert Redford, and starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron.
Of all Pressfield’s nonfiction books for creators and artists, this is perhaps the best, aside from the far more famous War of Art.
It reads like a great story and feels like one too.
But it can also be practical. For example, here’s a great passage from a chapter on Steve’s writing habits that can easily relate to anyone struggling with a major writing project:
“Each day when I finish work, I write down the project I’ve worked on and how many hours I’ve worked on it. I have a wall calendar too, the Sierra Club/Ansel Adams type, with a two-inch square for each day. In the bottom left corner of each square, I write what fitness stuff I did that day—gym, run, whatever. In the upper right corner I put a one-letter abbreviation for what project I worked on—and a check mark beside it.
When I can scan a calendar month and tally up twenty or twenty-five check marks and the same number of fitness notations, I know I’ve got the momentum. A writer doesn’t have a boss. No one hands me a paycheck or pats me on the back or buys me a drink and tells me: Good job, Steve. I have to do that for myself. I have to haul myself out of bed and march myself into the office. I have to psych myself up to plunge in and kick myself in the ass when I start grumbling and complaining. I reward myself too. Simple stuff. If I get a package in the mail that looks like it might contain something interesting, I won’t let myself open it till the day’s work is done. The writer’s life is about self-motivation, self-discipline, self-reinforcement, and self-validation. I need every trick I can think of to help me keep going.”
Tom May wrote an interesting piece for Creative Boom about how creative freelancers set their prices, whether they prefer hourly or day rates, fixed fees, etc.
The overall message is that prices vary wildly (from £30/hour to $1875/day just for the freelancers mentioned in the article) and that freelancers often soften their pricing for smaller clients. Don’t expect universal advice, but it’s worth a read.
His picks cover daily planning, email, personal finance and budgeting, reading, SaaS, and even money transfers and exchange rates. All tips come with Jan’s personal comments and direct links. A useful and honest selection!
Joshua Toovey makes an excellent point on the IPSE blog that not every business wants to scale up. He quotes recent research that asked the British self-employed what growth means to them:
The article goes on to illustrate how out of touch UK government policy is with what the self-employed need to grow their businesses. Is it similar in the country where you are based as a freelancer?
As a joint-venture between Impact Hub Prague K10 coworking space, located in a beautiful villa, and the Czech part of our freelance community, we organized a meetup for 100 freelancers in Prague last weekend. Check out this half-minute video to see how awesome it was:
If you’re a supporter of transparent fixed pricing in your freelance practice, you’ll enjoy the following exchange from the classic 1922 Sherlock Holmes story, The Problem of Thor Bridge 🤑
A billionaire client to Sherlock Holmes:
“Money is nothing to me in this case. You can burn it if it’s any use in lighting you to the truth. This woman is innocent and this woman has to be cleared, and it’s up to you to do it. Name your figure!”
Sherlock’s cold reply:
“My professional charges are upon a fixed scale. I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether.”
“Well, if dollars make no difference to you, think of the reputation. If you pull this off every paper in England and America will be booming you. You’ll be the talk of two continents.”
“Thank you, Mr. Gibson, I do not think that I am in need of booming. It may surprise you to know that I prefer to work anonymously, and that it is the problem itself which attracts me.”
A few additional notes:
There are precious few TV series about running a small business, and most of them are quite romantic and detached from reality.
It tells a fictional story of a world-class chef who inherited a debt-ridden restaurant business in downtown Chicago from his brother and decided to quit his job to turn it around into a great diner.
However, his coming to reality is brutal. Employees shout and fight all the time. Everything breaks, everything’s dirty. The whole place is a total mess.
Can it be fixed?
At least one person thinks so…
Creative copywriter Kim Hobson has published a comprehensive article about what to do when you lose a freelance client (besides stressing). The situation is really unavoidable:
“It’s important to remember no client relationship will last your entire career. One of you will inevitably be the first to move on. It happens to all of us — it’s just that most freelancers only talk about their successes and not their failures.”
The article covers common causes, immediate action steps, emotional coping strategies, prevention, analysis, and damage control. In other words, it's full of actionable advice:
“One of the most important things I’ve learnt from running a freelance business is: Don’t just work in your business, work on it. Keep your existing clients happy, but always be looking to expand your reach with people and businesses you want to work with.”
„Remember how a few months ago I complained about potential clients who reach out to me and immediately ask me for my rate? … Turns out I also kinda, mostly, only care about how much a freelancer is going to cost me,” writes Linda A. Thompson in a recent article titled Can you send me your rate? about how price inquiries are essential in real-life scenarios of dealing with freelancers.
She also recounts her experience with a passive-aggressive company representative whom she asked for a quote, and her touching gesture to an underpaid cleaner. A good and honest article.
Of course, in business you have to be prepared to talk about prices.
A new BBC article written by Ellen Nguyen asks why side-hustlers are sharing their incomes.
She points out that freelancers in the creator economy are much more likely to be transparent about their income than full-time employees. Even more curiously, those who are both employed and freelancing share their freelance income, not their salary.
“There’s no guidance set by HR or clear career paths laid out in the world of side hustles; instead, people have to turn to each other for information about the steps they take and how much they make, which is often encouraged on social media.”
This part also rings true:
“Side-hustles release the ‘inner entrepreneur’ in individuals – so talking about their earnings is one way to demonstrate their success.”