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Monday, April 21, 2014

Learn from a Master: Debra Gordon's New Freelancing Class

I'm a big believer in learning from the best, so I was intrigued by Debra Gordon's new class, The Business of Freelancing: Getting to Six Figures. I've known Debra for years and she's a smart, very successful freelancer who's now branching out into offering classes. I asked her to tell me more about the class: 

Q: As you know, I’ve written a book on the topic of this class, Six-Figure Freelancing, and I think the title captures readers’ attention. Why did you decide to name your class what you did? 

A: I've served on two panels with this name in the past 14 years and participated in numerous discussions on listserves. I think the phrase just resonates with small business people (as you know, since you used it for your book!). I also think that the idea of earning more than 100,000 a year on your own represents one of those goals that many of us have.

Q: I completely agree with that. So, why did you decide to offer the class? 

A: I've been speaking about the business aspects of freelancing at the American Medical Writer's Association (www.amwa.org) and American Society of Journalists and Authors (www.asja.org) for years now. Every time people come up to me and tell me how much they learned -- even those who have been in business for years--and often come up to me years after my talks to tell me how it helped them improve their business. 

I finally decided I had enough knowledge and content to pull it all together and reach a broader audience.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your freelance background. 

A: I have been freelancing for 14 years now, with 100 percent of my clients in the healthcare and medical fields. I write for a variety of audiences, including consumers/patients, physicians and other clinicians, and business-to-business. I have an English degree from the University of Virginia and a master's degree in biomedical writing from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. My specialties include most therapeutic areas, as well as writing, speaking, and training on healthcare reform and the healthcare system.

Q: Debra, what common misconceptions do you think freelancers have about being able to make a good living, including six figures (and more)? 

A: Relying on one or two clients; not treating the business like a business (ie, not saving money from every check for taxes and retirement); not taking marketing seriously; not being creative enough with their marketing; not planning ahead; getting caught in a rut and not continuing to grow themselves (and their businesses).

Seriously, though,  I think of this course as providing them with a good solid foundation upon which they can build their business -- as high as they want.

Q: So, what type of writer is the class aimed at? 

A: It's aimed at anyone who has their own small business, not just writers. I think graphic artists, web page designers, IT professionals, even Realtors could benefit from this course. Of course, I expect the majority will be writers. So . .any kind of writer, regardless of your experience and specialty. One caveat: I'm not going to talk about writing—but about how to build and run a writing business (if that's your business). 

Q: Anything else writers should consider before signing up for the class?


A: I will assign "homework," such as writing a business plan . .. but there's no grade! Also, I'll be setting up a private Linked In group for participants so we can continue the discussion . . .They can also get a discount off one-on-one coaching with me. The webinars will be recorded and available on demand as well as live.

**If you're serous about your freelance career, I highly suggest you consider this class as a worthwhile investment. It's one more way to help you take your career from so-so to stellar.