Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women is a handy, pocket-sized guide addressing the taboo topics faced by freelancers and creatives. The short 128 page book, written by Otegha Uwagba, arrived through my letterbox last Sunday afternoon, and I had finished it within two hours of throwing the packaging into the bin.
Little Black Book is heavily work related, tailored to the likes of bloggers, designers and general content creators. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned self-employed babe, you need this book. Some of you may need it more than others, but I feel that the little gems of wisdom that Uwagba shares, based on her experience in the industry, are ones you don’t want to miss.
Contrary to popular belief, freelancing is hard work. Yes, I may well get to sit in my pyjamas on the sofa tapping away at the keyboard some days. But sometimes I’m chasing a late payment, or inquiring about products I was meant to be sent 15 weeks ago. True story.
It has the same stern-word, no-nonsense tone as The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight, providing that much needed tough love to give you that kick up the butt you need to get yourself in gear. It helps you realise your worth, discover what you want and encourages you to go out and get it.
There are 10 short, very nicely laid out and sub-categorised chapters that discuss the topics we’re all too nervous to put our hands up and ask, such as how to get the cash you deserve and how to network. There is also advise on public speaking, which is a really helpful chapter for any students that may need to do a presentation, as well as building a brand and getting over writers’ block.
This book is not a definitive guide as to how to live your life, but it’s a good place to start and figure out what works best for you.
Here are a few of the tips from the book that I really resonated with:
Getting dressed – Uwagba suggests a ‘work wardrobe’, much like a capsule wardrobe. This makes your choice of dress in the morning simpler and helps you ‘build a brand’ with your outfits. Personally, capsule wardrobes aren’t for me, and I love to get creative with my outfits and not be restricted with guidelines. I do believe, however, that you should always take pride in your appearance and how you look. You never know who you may brush shoulders with.
Make lists – One at a time – Set deadlines – three birds with one stone, ay? They all go hand in hand really. I like to make a list on Sunday of everything I want to get done in that week. I then allocate different tasks to different days, setting them deadlines, and work through them systematically. Since using this method, my productivity has increased tenfold.
Self-promote – Sometimes you really do have to toot your own horn. When in a foreign country, I choose where I want to eat based on how busy it is. The game isn’t so different for freelancers. People want to work with creatives that are in demand. If they’re busy, the chances are that they’re good at what they do. Plug your work and the people you’ve worked with and reap the rewards.
I won’t say much more, but hopefully I’ve given you enough to make you want to read Little Black Book. If not, what if I told you it was only £3.25? And you can buy it here.