Hi. I’m Shane. I tweet about my misadventures running (with some pretty smart people) a 100% freelance driven agency at @justlikeair. Working with freelancers offers an interesting conundrum. In a polygamous environment, a genuinely free market, how do you build loyalty? Why would a great freelancer choose my urgent project over someone else’s? How do we stay attractive after the 3rd date (project)? What about after dating (without getting married) for 3 years? After all, the best freelancers get to pick from a wide pool of suitors.
Check out the slides from the entire talk. The article below elaborates on section 4. Continue Reading
I’m sure over the last year you have all seen announcements for Freelance Camps in Texas, Florida, California, Nevada and Washington DC. The dialog is engaging and the events continue to grow stateside.
Many of you probably thought to yourself, that’s just dandy for the Americans (it is). Well, your chance is here! Volunteers have stepped up in Bremen + Leipzig + Nürnberg Germany, in Milan, Italy and in Jaipur, India to put on camps.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have camps happen on every continent. After all, this is our time. The era of the freelancer. If you live in Australia or New Zealand, South or Central America, Africa, Western or Eastern Europe, or Asia, and wish there was an event you could attend, consider throwing a camp yourself. It is a bit of work, without a doubt, and the rewards are awesome.
The San Francisco Bay area’s annual FreelanceCamp is coming Saturday, August 15 to a beach in gorgeous Santa Cruz!
FreelanceCamp is a community-driven conference that will connect, educate, motivate and inspire freelancers and startup entrepreneurs looking to grow a business.
- Venue: Downtown Santa Cruz, CA
- Date: Saturday August 15, 2009
- Time: 8am – 6pm + after party
- Cost: $25 or free if you are a student or really, really, really need the help
- Schwag: Klean Kanteen 27oz bottles (retail cost for these is more than the price of your ticket)
- Register: http://freelancecamp3.eventbrite.com/
- More Information: http://freelancecamp.org
Not in the area? Don’t worry! We have a freelance camp coming to Reno soon (date still to be decided). Still out of luck? Start your own. We have already had five freelance camps in 2009 and every freelancer who has put one on sent me personal notes telling stories of how much this has caused a serious boost to their careers and the local economy.
Why write this post so early? I usually wait until 2 weeks before the events, but in this case we have limited space. Fire marshal has us capped at 300 people and I love the venue we are finalizing so I won’t change even if you all try to beat the doors down. Last year, after my email blast (which we will be sending out around June 18th or so) we sold out in 3 days. This is my first mention of the event in any public form and we are already down to 231 tickets as of tonight (June 13th) just based upon word of mouth. So if you want to come, sign up fast.
Miami’s first FreelanceCamp is coming Saturday, June 6 to the Miami Beach Convention Center!
FreelanceCamp is teaming up with LaidOffCamp Miami to host a FREE community-driven conference that will connect, motivate and inspire jobseekers, freelancers and startup entrepreneurs looking for some hope during these challenging economic times.
- Venue: Miami Beach Convention Center
- Date: Saturday June 6, 2009
- Time: 9am – 2pm
- Cost: FREE
- Register: http://laidoffcampmiami09.eventbrite.com
- More Information: http://laidoffcampmiami.org
Texas’ second annual Freelance Camp is coming this Saturday! All the details you need after the jump.
Don’t live in Houston? No problem. There are freelance camps starting to be organized across the country. Visit freelancecamp.org to find out more. If you don’t see one for your town, start your own.
Come hang out August 16th in the amazing coastal city of Santa Cruz, California (bring your beach towel)!
Freelance Camp is a place to discuss and explore the different approaches to running a successful freelance business / small service company. The event is FREE and we even feed you (thanks to our very cool sponsors). Come ready to learn, and if you are up to it, ready to talk!
The event is capped at 150 people, so sign up quick if you can make it.
More information after the jump! Continue Reading
Editor’s note: Thanks to Shane for this fantastic post. I have to say that this is one of my favourite articles in the history of FSw, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did
According to the Webster Dictionary, a practice is:
- to follow or observe habitually or customarily
- to exercise or pursue as a profession, art, or occupation
- to perform or do repeatedly in order to acquire skill or proficiency
Five years ago, John Maxwell, the author of every leadership book conceivable, told a group of us at a conference: “I can predict the long term outcome of your success if you show me your daily habits.” I have often heard that most business is 90% science (or how to) and 10% art (which is about you). None of the practices below are technical / how to’s for one simple reason – you should already be good at what you do. After all, you are selling your services as an expert, and if you truly suck at your specialty, then god help you and those who hire you. It’s those vital practices that you may NOT be good at that creep up behind you and then take you out.
This is the fifth day of our series on The Business Of Freelancing. This is the last day of the week, but don’t worry – we have another two series coming up over the next two months!
If you missed the previous posts, check out Saving For Taxes,You Are In Business To, Creating A Business Plan – How Will You Make Money, and Picking A Legal Form Of Business. For more, check out ShaneandPeter.com.
Bookkeeping, the Difference Between Profit and Loss
How do you make profit? It may sound silly – your goal is to make more then you spend. But how do you really know? You keep track, kind of like keeping score in basketball. A good business owner is constantly finessing their game. The score in business is measured primarily by two things:
I put enormous emphasis on bookkeeping in our business. Proper tracking and reporting allows me to measure the health of the business and make sound business decisions. For years, I truly hated bookkeeping. I’m not into details and felt the same dread about bookkeeping that I felt about cleaning my room. That was until Carla Sikand, the owner of BookkeepingPlus, during a course provided by the Small Business Development Center (an amazing free resource for all US business owners), sat me down and explained that bookkeeping wasn’t about details, it was about a system that could significantly increase my income if properly applied. I decided to try it and immediately learned a few things about what was working in business and what was not. My income doubled that year. I stopped offering a few services that I could now tell were not profitable.
This is the fourth day of our series on The Business Of Freelancing. Every day this week we will have a new tip to help you make the most of your freelancing career.
If you missed the previous posts, check out Saving For Taxes,You Are In Business To, and Creating a Business Plan: How Will You Make Money? For more, check out ShaneandPeter.com.
Picking a Legal Form of Business
What legal form of business is best for you? This is important to consider carefully as it has many implications for your future. For some it is a sole proprietorship, for others it will be an S corporation or an LLC. Over the years, Peter and I have owned sole props, general partnerships, and S Corporations. Don’t think that because you picked one you are trapped, you can change (it’s just a pain), but picking one is an important step in defining exactly what your business is.
First, let’s state the two most important factors that you’ll take into account when finding your business form.
- Liability. What is my business (freelancers, this means you) responsible for? How much risk does my business place me in? Do I have personal assets that I want to protect?
- Taxes. Based on expected income, what form of business will save the most on taxes? Or rather, will one form of business offer me tax savings over another?
I picked a sole prop first because it was simple. I wasn’t too worried about liability (because I owned nothing and I wasn’t doing high risk services). The paperwork was relatively straight forward (I didn’t need a lawyer) and the cost was in my price range.
This is the third day of our series on The Business Of Freelancing. Every day this week we will have a new tip to help you make the most of your freelancing career.
Creating a Business Plan: How Will You Make Money?
When someone asks you, “what do you do?” or “what type of business is it?” can you answer in 30 seconds or less? It’s called an elevator pitch.
If you don’t have one yet, take a time out and write one down. Then learn it, drill it, live it. It will help you focus on your goals and trust me, you will get asked that question all the time. It is nice to have an answer that leaves people with a clear understanding of what you do and how you make money at it.
That’s actually the first part of a business plan. If you get audited, one of the first things the IRS will look for is a written plan on how you will generate profit. There are many templates online and some good free courses offered by SBDC and SCORE if you’re interested in learning more.
Some people spend years perfecting their plan, while others take 30 minutes and handwrite it on a napkin. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it, put it in your files, and take the time to run it through your head when things seem complicated.
NB. This information should augment, not replace advice from an accountant or lawyer. This information is mostly relevant to US citizens. While we would like to include information for more localities, because FreelanceSwitch readers hail from all over the world this cannot be accomplished.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, Picking A Legal Form Of Business.
This is the second day of our series on The Business Of Freelancing. Every day this week we will have a new tip to help you make the most of your freelancing career.
You are in Business to…
First off, from a practical sense, you are in business to make money. The government expects you to and hopefully you do too. You may have got into business to make new friends, leave a legacy, control your own time, express your creativity or a multitude of other reasons, but the only thing that the IRS cares about is money. You have somewhere between 2 to 5 years to begin showing a net profit or the IRS gets grumpy and starts calling your business a hobby (and so might your spouse).
That Said, Money is not Enough
According to multiple studies, a staggering 80% of small businesses owners give up and go back to a job within 5 years of starting out. Why? When I asked one of my mentors, Tom, that question, he had an interesting response: most business owners get distracted by life and do not consistently focus on the things that would have made the greatest difference. It might be that those extra details are uncomfortable for some people; it might also be that they didn’t have a mentor, business group, or an amazing source like FreelanceSwitch to guide them through the many pitfalls of the first fragile years of a business; but in Tom’s opinion, they just didn’t have a big enough reason why they had to succeed. This may sound a touch preachy, but after enough mutli-millionaires and three billionaires all personally cited to me (I’m a nosy bugger) that having a powerful dream is the difference between success and failure, I started to listen.
This is the first day of our series on The Business of Freelancing. Every day this week we will have a new tip to help you make the most of your freelancing career.
Whether you’re getting started or just want to optimize your freelancing business, don’t miss this series thanks to Shane from ShaneandPeter.com.
You are deciding to become, or currently are freelancing. Let me tell you right now, in the eyes of the government, you are a business owner. Your odds of success increase dramatically if you see yourself that way and behave accordingly.
If you ask the IRS, the purpose of running a business is one thing, and pretty much one thing only – to make them money. They expect business owners to keep careful records (or pay someone else to), worry about things like profit and loss, and offer services and/or sell goods.
Saving for Taxes
Whether or not you realize it, your employer paid approximately 15% on top of your wages to the government for the honor of having you work for them – I hope you were worth it =) . This is called payroll taxes.
As an independent contractor, you are now responsible for covering this cost on top of your normal tax burden. Keep in mind that when you were an employee, your employers paid your income tax before you ever saw a pay check. As a result, many new freelancers never really think about having to keep money for taxes.