Maleeka Hollaway's Lesson to Freelancers: Not All Clients Are Your Clients
Maleeka Hollaway is one of the smartest and most passionate business women I've ever met. She started out as an editor and ghostwriter. But her business savvy helped her morph her skills into a profitable venture. Today she runs The Official Maleeka Group (theomg.biz) based in Atlanta and does brand communications and PR consulting.
"I operate on the cusp of where business, marketing and PR collide as I do a lot of work in
foundational strategy for companies and individuals," she says.
Here she shares her wisdom for freelancers and small business owners.
giggs: Please share 5 tips for freelancers who are just starting out.
1. All clients are not your clients.
2. Don’t compromise your integrity.
3. Find your passion niche.
4. Find a support group.
5. Never give up.
giggs: What's the worst business advice someone has given you as a freelancer?
Maleeka: The worst advice I have ever received was to “take what I can get.” In times where clients weren’t flowing, I operated out of that feeling of fear. And it caused me many days where I hated my work. Now I know, all clients are not my clients. I don’t have to “take what I can get.” I can ask for what I want and get it.
giggs: How do you keep your business afloat?
Maleeka: I keep my business afloat because I am always marketing! There are more than a few constantly moving pieces in my companies where there is always a stream of income flowing. And now, I have a small team who help me manage.
giggs: Do you have streams of passive income? If so, what are they and how did you develop them?
Maleeka: I am just now starting to plan and produce passive income streams. I’m one who loves working one-on-one with my clients. But, I’ve learned the danger in being the bottleneck – it can be impossible to scale.
I am planning to release a membership, a mastermind group, and a new suite of digital products (some joint venture products) to get my passive income up to par.
giggs: How did you come up with your pricing structure?
Maleeka: I create my pricing structure based on industry research and the value we deliver. I study what the going rate is for some things and I cater those rates to fit my company.
giggs: How do you market your services?
Maleeka: Social media and word-of-mouth referrals are my bread and butter. I have yet to invest a heavy amount into advertising. I just make sure the work we do creates raving clients for us.
giggs: How do you deal with unhappy clients?
Maleeka: I don’t have unhappy clients. Or at least, they haven’t voiced their unhappiness. I try to make sure I ask directly if there is something lacking in our working relationship so I can better service my clients at all times.
giggs: What does a typical work day look like?
Maleeka: A typical day for me is long. But it’s not all filled with work. I use a block schedule and I delegate certain time blocks to clients and others to myself. I wake up around 7 and I typically fall asleep around 1am. Mondays and Fridays are my light days. I reserve those days for team meetings and family. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are when client work gets done, oh, and research for my doctoral degree.
giggs: What does your dream project look like?
Maleeka: My dream project would be to have a Fortune 500 company as a client, consulting them on rebranding or reaching a new audience.
giggs: What are the keys to success when working remotely with clients?
Maleeka: The key to remote work is communication and an easy project management system. Scheduling is key as well. I use Asana to stay connected to my team and clients. Everyone gets to see what everyone is working on or what needs to be done.
giggs: Anything you’d like to add?
Maleeka: I just want to encourage everyone to keep going!
Thank you for your insights, Maleeka! Make sure you connect with Maleeka on LinkedIn.
Maleeka also invites you to join her Facebook group, Social Proof Success Incubator.
If you are a freelancer, solopreneur or small business owner, and would like to be featured in this blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.