Specific resources to share from session: (links, books, organizations, articles etc.)
Small Business Administration, local offices
Freelancer’s Union, Gig Union @ Bay Area Video Coalition
Go Giver (book)
FreshBooks for invoicing
WorkRave, Pomodoro, and SelfControl for productivity apps
Freelancing FAQ’s agenda:
• Flexibility vs uncertainty
• 1099’s good or bad?
• What are the avenues online? How do you connect with people?
• Tips on working from home
Getting started & paperwork
• Your city might have a small business office – Small Business Administration – you can schedule a meeting and ask what you need to do to be legal. You may need a “business permit” sometimes called a “tax license” …you can work in tech but be certified as a consultant. At the county level you need to file a DBA
• Go to your local office and get personalized advice. Get a DBA, open a separate bank account at a different bank to make a clear distinction for yourself.
• Contractors w/ W-2 or W-4’s don’t need to do the above
• But if you’re 1099 you need your own business/tax ID number… a sole providership/proprietorship. Set aside a third of your income for taxes. File your taxes quarterly
• Paying your health insurance – put the subsidy on your tax return so you can continue receiving it.
• Liability insurance – minimum these days is a million in coverage. – price your quotes from multiple vendors – it’s a tax write-off, so is health insurance
• Freelancer’s Union – blog answers a lot of questions in good ways
• Gig Union @ Bay Area Video Coalition
Marketing, finding clients
• Stop thinking client, start thinking relationships. Network, network, network! Think beyond clients, you can meet partners, collaborators, friends, mentors!
• Everyone you meet is a possibility to introduce you to a new opportunity
• Your reputation is everything
• People don’t look to insta or fb, people think “who do I know?”
• Passion is the foundation
• Set goals to get out of your comfort zone / niche / market
• Learn your contacts
• Go Giver is a highly recommended book – has 5 basic philosophies. First is to bring value to everybody. Give, give, give, and it will circle back to your space.
• You can’t be too hungry or too desperate. Finding clients is kind of like dating. Give, give, give, but learn how to say no. 20/80 rule: 20% of your clients give you 80% of your headaches.
• Assess whether your work is bringing you joy, whether your clients are providing the resources. If they’re not, fuck em and move on.
• Have people who you can subcontract. Clients just want a good product, they don’t necessarily care about the breakdown of labor.
• “In collaboration with” or “in creation with” is a great way to show work that’s not 100% your work. Don’t believe your imposter syndrome. Take credit. Get your foot in the door to pitch what you can do and where you want to be.
• Repurpose your old projects, for example, use #TBT on instagram to highlight 1 old project every week.
• Go to meetups. Beware though, some events are full of people who pretend that they’re not unemployed. But do go to look for mentors or co-work with.
• Always have a contract, invoice everything — even the pro bono work. The client won’t think of you as free, they think of you as high-value and they will forward you to new clients.
• Be ruthless about billing.
• CB recommends FreshBooks – it has a timer that dumps hours into an invoice.
Difference between freelancer / starting a business
Staying sane & WFH
• Have a schedule, timebox yourself.
• Schedule “black days” where you’re unavailable so you can have downtime to do nothing or to run errands.
• Use different parts of your house. Don’t check your email in your bedroom. Have a designated office space.
• You can become so absorbed that you forget to eat, to move.
o Schedule yourself hour by hour. Get some fresh air every 50 minutes. Interact with other humans
o Have somebody who you CAN interact with. It’s rejuvenating. Lunch dates are awesome.
o You’ll get more done when you have interns or employees co-working with you in your office.
o Show your face. Show up at the office sometimes. Skype. Get the gossip. Then get back to work.
o Post lunch Youtube dance choreography videos to pump you up for your second wind.
• WorkRave app is similar to Pomodoro.
• SelfControl allows you to blacklist/whitelist apps on your computer.
• Your phone is a tool, not a requirement. Leave it across the room sometimes. Turn it off.
• However long you think something will take, tell the client that it will take twice as long.