Every week I read about a dozen blogs by freelancers. And most aren’t even writers. There are lots of people out there making a great living in the gig economy. Every one of them is a business owner. While their businesses may not be exactly like mine, it’s remarkable how often their insights and tips apply to what I’m doing. I usually bookmark links to good articles so I can read them again later. Here are three of the best blog articles I’ve read in the past few months that can help you improve your freelance writing business. 129 Conversation Starters for Every Situation – Every small business owner must become a successful sales person. That often involves learning how to network. Some people are naturally gifted at striking up conversations with strangers, but most of us are not. I recently wrote a blog about Small Talk and how important it is in networking. Guess what? Another blogger just did me one better by coming up with a list of more than a hundred opening lines to use in jump starting conversations. Memorize a couple of these before your next business networking event, and you’ll be making meaningful connections in no time. Change the Way You Brand Yourself – If you don’t brand yourself, you’re liable to end up with a reputation instead. And it might not be one of your own choosing. That’s why it is critical to establish your own brand. More than just positioning yourself as a freelancer in a particular niche market, your brand sets you apart from all those other writers out there. I’ve built my brand around my geology degree, which includes courses in mapping. A science degree is rare enough for a freelancer, but an educational background in cartography was unheard of when I got started 25 years ago writing about surveying and mapping. It set me apart and led to lots of work. Read this excellent blog by Super Bowl Champion Ryan Harris. I guarantee you’ll learn two important things – the importance of personal branding…and the fact Ryan’s a Super Bowl Champ. Two Years After Leaving the Corporate World…- Still thinking about jumping into freelancing full time? Believe me, most of us stood on the edge of the pool for a couple years before taking the plunge. My new favorite business blogger, Scott Mautz, wrote a thoughtful article reflecting back on his experiences two years after making the leap into his successful business as a speaker, writer and consultant. Read his insights, assess whether they apply to you, and then you’ll feel better about the decision facing you. Hopefully, like Scott and the rest of us, you’ll find yourself a couple years down the road saying, “Jump in! The water’s cold at first, but you get used to it.” Need more help making the decision to freelance full time? Check out my free IGNITE! class on Six-Figure Freelancing: Three Keys to Success.