At first I was excited about Business Matters, but once I started reading it, I began to feel very ambivalent about the prospect of freelance work. I found the questionnaire “Is the Independent Life For You?” in the first chapter rather off-putting because it enumerates the challenges that freelancers face without providing much inspiration to overcome those challenges. If you’re already determined to be a freelancer, you may benefit from Frick’s experience and incomplete business training.
The subtitle of Elizabeth Frick’s book reads “A freelancer’s guide to business success in any economy,” but I think she tried to make this book appeal to too many different types of people with too many kinds of challenges. Some information makes sense for independent freelancers, while other information works only for potential freelancers; however, it’s difficult to be comprehensive in 159 pages. In Frick’s favor, she includes footnotes to various resources in each chapter and refers to her website that contains links to even more resources for each chapter.
She organized the book with an Introduction, a section Business Strategy (nearly half of the book), one on Marketing, and one on Operations. Though there was an index, there was no table of contents in the review copy I received, and I found the book difficult to navigate because sections were set off too subtly and there wasn’t much explanation on what each section would contain. The introductory paragraphs for the book’s chapters sometimes provided a helpful summary of what the chapter contains. But in other chapter summaries, I found text that repeated information within the chapter nearly word for word.
Frick’s level of detail varies with some chapters going into depth (there are a couple of chapters on picking clients) and others merely outlining potential solutions. Since information on finance was promised on the cover I was expecting at least a small section on the topic, but Frick only devotes a four-page chapter to the topic (where her solution to facing her fear of numbers was to take a class and hire a bookkeeper) in addition to some general finance tips hidden within other chapters.
Overall, I would only recommend this book with some reservations. I think it best serves people who have already started their independent businesses and have an idea on what areas of their businesses need to be improved. In order to better serve potential freelancers, I recommend a more thorough introduction, with key business terms defined. And, spending some time outlining the contents and cross-referencing relevant information would benefit both audiences.
Title: Business Matters: A freelancer’s guide to business success in any economy
Author: Elizabeth Frick
Publisher: XML Press (November 1, 2013)