Fear is so 2009

The best antidote for fear is knowledge.

– Robin Sharma

At last week’s FreelanceCLT event, one theme stood out for me – freelancers, not surprisingly, are afraid. Afraid of failure. Afraid of running out of money. And I know it’s not just freelancers and solo entrepreneurs, but those fears seem louder when you don’t have a salary and a 401(k) to fall back on.

I have seen a similar fear overshadow the confidence of small business owners. It takes confidence to start a small business, to quit a corporate paycheck, to go out on your own and put your stamp on the world.

So, why not name that fear and then do something about it? Are you afraid to start a company Facebook fan page, because you don’t understand the inner workings of Facebook and don’t have time to read a dictionary-sized guidebook about it? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to track your time, your invoices or deal with the IRS?

My philosophy? Jump in, get your feet wet, and then change and grow as needed. The world will not stop to let you catch up.

I am not a blogging expert, but I started one. I am not an expert at naming a company, or putting together invoices, or going after new business – but I didn’t wait to become an expert first. I’m learning as I’m doing – isn’t that what the “real world” is all about?

None of us had a Twitter handbook when it first came out. But I didn’t want to wait for one – I wanted to find out for myself. I think many of us who are freelancers or small biz entrepreneurs have that itch within us. So why do we let fear take away that drive for knowledge?

So today I say to you – just do it. (thanks Nike). Just start that Facebook page, create a Twitter account, put together an invoice system – put pen to paper and just go. You will be amazed, once again, at what you can do. And when you need help, just ask.


Freelancers: Is it time to give yourself a raise?

Are you a freelancer (any industry) in or near Charlotte, NC?

Tomorrow night, I’m serving on a panel of freelance specialists as part of the Freelance CLT meetup group. We will be discussing how much freelancers should charge for their work and other related issues. Some of us write, others communicate, others edit or shoot film, and others do it all as serial entrepreneurs.

Sometimes it’s hard to be “on your own.” This group of people will understand your gripes about invoicing, clients, work/life balance and other freelance-related issues. Do you know how much your time is worth? Is it time to give yourself a raise?  Join myself, Melissa Lamkin, Adam Hobbs, Brian Pace and Philip Dodds to explore these questions and more.

If you can’t be there in person, follow updates on Twitter.

Share your own tips, advice below and I’ll be sure to mention them tomorrow night.


Tuesday, June 29

6:00 p.m.

Lightbulb Coworking

1430 South Mint Street
Suite 103
Charlotte, NC


Stop the Boring Writing!

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”

– John Jakes

When my May issue of Inc. arrived last week, I turned immediately to Jason Fried’s article on business writing. So many of his points reflect my own thoughts about how businesses communicate, so I wanted to share.

He points out a few fun facts:

  • Full-service solutions provider – A quick search on Google finds at least 47,000 companies using this phrase
  • Cost effective end-to-end solutions – brings you about 95,000 results
  • Provider of value-added services – nets you more than 600,000 matches

Jason goes on to give several examples of companies that are doing it right – with business writing that is fun, personable and clear. My suggestion? Think about your approach – how do you go about the writing process when you are creating copy?

Step one – Stop thinking about yourself. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Once you have given blood, sweat and tears to build your company, your products, or your brand, you must realize that at the end of the day, it is NOT about you. It’s about your customers. What do they want to read? What will draw them to your company, rather than your competitors?

I hate filler. Don’t say the same thing over and over. Each sentence, each word must be intentional.

Bottom line – the words you use to describe your business could ultimately affect sales. Words are important. Is it time to re-evaluate your own business writing? Try this: read your website. Go through it line by line, and ask yourself – what does this really say? What do my customers want?

Don’t be afraid to be real! For some good examples, see Jason’s article. What other business writing have you seen that you actually enjoyed reading? Feel free to share here!