I started my freelance journey in 2016 and made terrible mistakes in the first 5 months. I am here to help you mitigate some of those early mistakes so you can save yourself time, headaches, and money.

Here is a run-down of this weeks newsletter

  • 4 Ways To Optimize Your Service Agency.
  • Season 3 Podcast compilation is out on YouTube.
  • One interesting thing from my week.
  • Two tweets from the week.

This should only take about 7 mins to read.

I started my freelance journey in 2016 and made terrible mistakes in the first 5 months. I am here to help you mitigate some of those early mistakes so you can save yourself time, headaches, and money.

One of my first mistakes was that I didn't have a proper scope of work document to reuse. Every time a new client came through the door, I wrote a new one. I was reinventing the wheel and wasting time.

Secondly, I didn't have my automations in place. I was all over the place doing everything manually. I focused on closing sales but not saving myself time, which cost me significant time and money. It was a vicious cycle.

Recognizing red flags early:

Not every client is a great client, and not every dollar is a good dollar. As a freelancer, learning to recognize red flags early can save you from potential problems down the line.

After serving a few difficult clients, you'll notice warning signs on the first call. Common red flags include:

  • Unrealistic expectations: They have a champagne diet but a beer budget. These clients may expect high-quality work at bargain-basement prices.
  • Overreaching demands: They want the Ferrari but can only afford the 1999 Toyota Camry. Be cautious with clients who expect premium services without the budget to match.
  • Micro-management: Some clients want to dictate every aspect of your work. This can lead to constant revisions, disputes, and dissatisfaction.

To protect yourself, learn to recognize these red flags and be prepared to walk away from clients as soon as you recognize them. Trust your instincts and prioritize quality partnerships over a quick buck.


Staying organized is crucial to maintaining a smooth workflow. Start by creating systems and processes for commonly used documents to improve your organization.

  1. Scope of work documents: Develop a reusable template outlining main deliverables, timelines, and pricing. This ensures consistency across projects and saves time in preparing proposals.
  2. Google Drive structure: Organize your files using a hierarchy of top categories, sub-categories, and documents. This makes it easier to locate and access essential resources when needed.
  3. Standard operating procedures (SOPs): Establish SOPs for common tasks so you and any collaborators understand how to complete them efficiently and accurately.

A structured approach to organization helps reduce stress, saves time, and ensures you deliver a consistent, high-quality service to your clients.


Automation is the most efficient way to save time and increase productivity. Here are some ways to incorporate automation into your freelance work:

  1. Project management tools: Use tools like Asana, Trello, or Notion to automate repetitive tasks, such as assigning work, setting deadlines, or sending reminders.
  2. Zapier: If your preferred tool doesn't have native automation features, use Zapier to create custom automations.
  3. Integrations: Set up seamless integrations between your project management, billing, and communication tools to streamline your workflow.

For example, my agency uses Qwilr, Stripe, Quickbooks, and Asana, connected through Zapier, to automate our proposal and onboarding process. This saves hours of manual work and eliminates human error.

Poor communication:

Effective communication is essential for building trust, rapport, and client collaboration. Here are some tips to improve communication:

  1. Set expectations: At the beginning of a project, establish expectations for response times, working hours, and preferred communication channels. This will reduce a ton of frustration and streamline your process.
  2. Regular updates: Keep clients informed about project progress, milestones reached, and any challenges you run into. This shows you're proactive and attentive to their needs.

Prioritizing clear and timely communication increases client satisfaction, smoother project execution, and a better overall reputation.

I hope that was helpful and easy enough to implement it for your business.

2 tweets from the week.

Tweet 1: This tweet from Nathan Baugh was phenomenal, Steve Jobs was the master Storyteller.

Tweet 2: My Essay on therapy and how it helped me in early 2020 when shit hit the fan.

One interesting thing from my week:

I've been toying with ChatGPT more over the past few weeks. Understanding the science behind prompts and how to format them for the best possible output.

There is a big opportunity to build a service business around ChatGPT prompts with a human touch.

What Is My Brain Podcast?

This week is all about YouTube!

The Season 3 compilation of videos is out in the wild.

Watch some of the best moments below....

Watch the Season 3 compilation on YouTuBe

That's a wrap for issue #45.

Email me at z@zlatkobijelic.com if you are building something. I'd love to know what you're working on and if there is anything I can do to help you.

See you next Wednesday!



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