Business Matters
A freelancer's guide to business success in any economy
Publisher: XML Press
Final Release Date: December 2013
Pages: 170

When Bette Frick launched her freelance writing and editing business in 1990, not having completed formal business training meant she would make more than a few mistakes. But not applying MBA models meant that as her company grew, her business model fit her rather than some business-school template.

As Bette learned her (sometimes) painful lessons, she shared them in her column, Business Matters, in Intercom, the magazine of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), from 2003 to 2012. Business Matters republishes those articles, substantially revised and arranged thematically, along with several new chapters.

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oreillyBusiness Matters
 
4.7

(based on 3 reviews)

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    • Novice (3)

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    4.0

    Not a "how-to" guide, but worth reading

    By Bluegeek

    from Michigan

    About Me Sys Admin

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Motivational
    • Useful Tips
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Too Much Blank Space

    Best Uses

    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Business Matters:

    Based on the description of the book, I expected a practical guide to help freelance writers improve their business acumen. To be fair, there are certainly strong elements of that.

    But this book is also very much, if not more, a motivational book with tips and anecdotes from the author's experience. It's understandable, since the material was adapted from the author's blog. It's very well organized, but it still reads very much like a blog and somewhat less like a "how-to" book.

    There is a lot of good information in here, if you make a little effort to sift the material. The author provides many useful references but also takes the time to explain the essentials of what she's referencing. The book is mainly targeted at the freelance technical writing business, with a specific slant toward medical writing and editing. Some of the ideas can be applied to other independent businesses.

    Some of the material felt unnecessary to me. If your business is not focused on writing and editing articles for medical publication, you may not get much out of the sections that discuss that. There is also an entire chapter devoted to what Craigslist taught her about "selling stuff". I would rather read about what her specific business practices taught her about selling her services (although some of that's in there, too).

    There is a lot of blank space in the eBook version. Many chapters are broken up into sections and each section gets its' own page no matter how much page it takes up. If this was a printed book, that kind of wasted space would inflate the size and cost of the book. As it is, it's inefficient to have to page through a lot of blank space on an eReader. The book would have greatly benefited from a Table of Contents that helped you to find the chapter and section you're looking for and not just the major subject headings (Business Strategy, Marketing, Operations). If it had that, I wouldn't mind the way the book is structured.

    If you're the kind of person who likes to read about other people's experiences and learn from them, this is a great motivational book with a treasure trove of useful tips. If you're looking for a hands-on, user-friendly how-to guide and reference, this isn't it. Despite that, it is well written and organized and I'd say it's worth reading for anyone who wants to break into the freelance technical writing field.

    Reviewer's Note: I am a member of the O'Reilly Blogger Review program and received a free copy of "Business Matters" which was used to write this review.

     
    5.0

    Business Matters Matters

    By James

    from Orlando, FL

    About Me Designer, Developer, Maker

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Well-written

    Cons

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      • Intermediate
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      Comments about oreilly Business Matters:

      In trying to start a small business, this book has helped me immensely. Not only does touch on the things you need to do to be successful, it also helps realize that with a little knowhow and a lot of passion, anyone can make their business thrive.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Read This Book

      By Rich Maggiani

      from Essex Vermont

      About Me Writer Editor Trainer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

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        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student
        • Writer Editor Trainer

        Comments about oreilly Business Matters:

        It was easy to start reading Business Matters. After all, the first chapter is only a little over four pages long. A nice little break from my work. And it was, except… I couldn't put it down. I just kept reading. Bette has a wonderful way to telling stories to discuss her topics, and those stories just kept me going.

        Those stories wove some deep insights into the life of a freelance entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur myself (almost 25 years), I had to chuckle at many of her insights (I'd been there), and marvel at her clarity. In many ways, I've been on a path similar to Bette. Throughout the book, I kept nodding in agreement at her thoughts, at the way she gave me new perspective on many issues, and at the way she finely analyzed the myriad of topics. Some books are a struggle and others are simply a joy. Bette's is pure joy.

        In the end, I wish that I had read this book 25 years ago. And you? If this is your path, you should read it now.

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