Use code THEWRITELIFE for $30 OFF enrollment for this course.
I have a confession — I don’t have a knack for organizing a business.
Somehow, I’m obsessively tidy in my daily life (you should see my closets), but when it came time to launch my business, I struggled.
I had to force myself to create Google Sheets to track client research and payments. And set up a separate bank account for business expenses. And figure out how to make an invoice. All of these steps felt like pulling teeth.
Yet they are all vital to be a successful freelancer, and I know I need to master this if I want to meet my income goals.
So I was a good fit to try out Creative Class, an online course that helps freelancers with all the aspects of running a business.
Most freelancers are comfortable with how to do the work we’re hired for, whether that’s writing, marketing or another specialized skill. But what can be challenging when you first start working as a freelancer is all the pieces that turn your skill into an income-producing business: finding clients, figuring out how much to charge, invoicing, managing revisions, and more.
I was eager to see if Creative Class would help me solve some of those challenges, so I could get more clients and earn more money.
Why 2,400 freelancers have taken Creative Class
Jarvis is the author of “Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business,” and is the original course creator. Moore has been freelance writing since 2013. Together, they bring 25 years of freelancing experience.
They understand that some parts of running a business — like connecting with clients and earning money in a way that feels right — can be intimidating for freelancers. “Action,” they say in the course, “is the cure for fear.”
The goal of the course is to help participants go from “typical freelancer” to “pro freelancer.”
They define a typical freelancer as someone who bills by the hour, allows clients to control the work, has no onboarding or exit processes in place and gets burnt out easily. In other words, typical freelancers aren’t utilizing all the tools at their disposal to run an efficient, profitable business.
A pro freelancer, on the other hand, charges via project, knows how to shape feedback to benefit their work, has project processes in place and builds a long-term career. Otherwise known as a badass.
The course has been running since 2014 and more than 2,400 freelancers have taken it. For me, the number of graduates combined with Jarvis’ solid reputation in the writing space was a big selling point.
What do you get when you join Creative Class?
So we know what we hope to learn by enrolling in Creative Class. What do you actually get with a membership?
Here’s what’s included in the online course.
More than a dozen video lessons
Subscribers get lifetime access to the online course, which consists of 15 videos that walk you through how to create better systems for your freelancing business.
The format is simple, but effective. In each video, Jarvis takes you through an easy-to-follow PowerPoint, explaining concepts along the way. You can watch each of the videos at your own pace, and return to them as often as you need.
The videos focus on four areas:
- Mindset: How to shift your thought process to that of a pro
- Management: The business operations side of things
- Connection: The part where you bring in clients
- Process: How to integrate systems that make your freelancing life easier
I learned strategies for increasing my rates, how to develop an effective mission statement, ideas for finding high-quality clients, and how to generate referrals.
The course also goes into the nitty-gritty on specific situations most freelancers have to deal with over time, such as what qualities to look for in an accountant and how to respond if a client doesn’t pay.
The most helpful lessons for me:
- How to find clients. The creators offer ingenious but common sense ways of finding clients that I would never have thought of on my own. The steps are also easy to implement — no waiting for that networking event to happen to continuously refreshing your email inbox. They offer concrete actions that any writer can do right now to land gigs.
- Pricing, including the difference between cost and value. This lesson is a serious upper. You finish feeling like you are valuable and deserve to get paid well. The course offers detailed steps for presenting your work as a worthwhile investment. They also give advice for how to deal with the nerves and fear of pricing yourself fairly, which is probably a lesson we all need.
At the end of each video, the course provides a list of action items. These are helpful because you know exactly which exact steps to take to get your desired results.
The videos themselves are brief, around 10 or 15 minutes on average. This worried me initially; I thought they might not provide enough useful information in such a short amount of time. And during the first area of study on Mindset, I wasn’t completely convinced that I would learn skills I couldn’t find elsewhere.
But I stuck with it, and as the course went on, it did feel like true expert advice that I hadn’t heard before.
Templates to customize for your own business
The course also includes 15 downloadable templates with email scripts, processes and spreadsheets for steps like pitching, client onboarding and a client follow-up script. I found these helpful because they showed me how to accomplish my goals, rather than just telling me.
You’ll also find worksheets at the end of lessons, which provide a helpful starting point in terms of accomplishing suggested action steps.
(They also offer a lawyer-reviewed contract you can download to use, but that has to be purchased separately.)
An online community of freelancers
Along with your membership, you get access to a Slack group of 1,000+ members. There are several channels in the group, including one for copywriting and one for feedback. This is a great place to ask for help or suggestions. I noticed a number of freelancers who requested feedback on their websites or newly-created courses received thoughtful and helpful tips from other members.
Occasionally job opportunities are posted in Slack as well, but most of these seem directed at developers rather than writers. (Remember, all types of freelancers take Creative Class, not just writers.) Members post on the general channel almost every day, where the conversation skews heavily toward design.
In addition to connecting with other freelancers who have taken the course, joining this group also gives you direct access to Jarvis. He’s quite involved in the group, so it’s an added value that he’s easily reachable that way.
How much Creative Class costs
So what’s your investment? The course costs $274.
As a reader of The Write Life however, you get $30 OFF just for using code THEWRITELIFE.
While that can be a lot to spend when you’re just getting started as a freelancer, I recommend thinking through what you’ll get back from spending the time and money on this training.
If you learn how to increase your rates, how quickly could you earn back that $274? Would you be less stressed if you knew how to deal with demanding clients or how to implement time-saving processes?
If you plan on sticking with freelancing as your income stream, the sooner you learn how to overcome these business challenges, the better.
Is Paul Jarvis’ Creative Class the right fit for you?
This is the kind of course that freelancers could return to again and again at different stages of their career.
The course is useful both for new freelancers, and for freelancers who have been at it for a while, feel overworked, and aren’t landing the client or revenue they need.
I’m relatively new to the freelancing game, so I was grateful to have found this course before I put ineffective systems in place. Like if I was just learning to play tennis and taught myself to swing backhand like a fool, but by the time a good teacher came along, it would be too late because the wrong move would be committed to muscle memory. I avoided similar foolishness in my freelancing business by taking this course early on.
At the same time, some of the advice that’s included is too advanced for me at this moment in time, so I’ll keep on trucking and return to those lessons when I’m ready. I appreciate that the advanced tips are there for freelancers who are ready for it.
In terms of what could be better…The Creative Class interface is a bit tricky to navigate. The website has a simple black-and-white build, but it’s almost too modest. The first time I logged in to the lesson page, I was unsure how to begin the lessons or mark them as complete. A more obvious lesson plan might aid the user’s experience.
The course also includes a LOT of information. There’s no way I could process it all in one go. If you decide to join, know it will take some time — a few days or even weeks — to go through the class in a way that really lets you digest the information.
Overall, if you need help with the business side of freelancing, Creative Class is a high-value option. And because it’s on-demand, if you join now, you can return to it whenever you’ve got a sticky situation to figure out.
I’m happy to have it as a resource as I grow in my freelancing career.
Don’t forget: You’ll get $30 OFF when you use code THEWRITELIFE at checkout!
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!
Photo via GuadiLab / Shutterstock