STC Technical Communication Review of Business Matters

Business Matters front coverFrick writes in a refreshing tone with her blatant honesty, showcasing the roller coaster of emotions you deal with in creating and maintaining your own business. She starts off with a soul-searching questionnaire that makes you look hard at your own life to see if being an independent is right for you. And although you don’t get to calculate a score, by the time you think through all of the questions, you know the right answer. You might also be mentally exhausted as you rehash every detail you like and dislike about working in general!

Owning my own business was not something I thought I’d do with my life. But suddenly, after I had my son, I realized corporate America was not fitting into my dreams. I needed something with a work/life balance that kept me involved in my family yet still plugged into the technical communication world.

Business Matters: A Freelancer’s Guide to Business Success in Any Economy is helpful as it provides in-depth details in maintaining client relationships and identifying the right clients for my business.

This book is full of lists! I never knew that I needed to do so much on the back end to keep my own business running long-term as a success. I could probably still be successful without following these lists, but I found Frick’s suggestions of figuring out if I was a generalist or a specialist, and the benefits to both, to be invaluable.

I felt very connected to Frick as she opened up about her personal and professional life’s struggles to show why she recommended doing a task in a certain way. Some of these lessons, unfortunately, must be learned the hard way before you make the right changes (read as: drop the clients that are not a good fit for your business model).

Frick’s most powerful suggestion is the power of belonging to groups. As a freelancer, work life can get lonely and your inner voice can be very confusing, contradictory, and sometimes downright mean! I remember one day, not too long ago, I stared at my screen for what seemed like an eternity. I filled my mind with such doubt on the grammatical correctness of a sentence that I was paralyzed from moving forward. Snapping myself out of that trance took about 5 minutes as I realized I could merely copy and paste the dilemma to a friend within STC and, a few minutes later, I was back on track.

No matter where you are in your freelancer journey, or if you long to become your own island (which, Frick says, there is no such thing), then I suggest you pick up Business Matters. You’ll certainly learn more about yourself and which path is right for you. You will also finish the book feeling that other freelancers out there truly understand your struggles because the struggle is real.

Reviewed by Kristin Kirkham-Broadhead

Kristin Kirkham-Broadhead is an instructional designer and technical writer from Dallas, TX. She previously served the STC North Texas Lone Star Community as President from 2009-2010. When she is not writing, she loves scrapbooking, photography, and chasing her son around the house.

Review from the February 2016 edition of STC Technical Communication. Used with permission.