The future looks bright for us freelancers and solopreneurs. The day will come — and come soon — when we will be recognized more for our ability to help build strong businesses than our gypsy existence. Why? Because businesses will need us to be the eyes and ears of what is happening outside of their business. Businesses (and sectors) have, for too long, been insular in their approaches and models. The result of this insularity has been stagnation. Those businesses need people from the outside to bring in new perspectives. Think of us as the bees of the coming economy – cross-pollinating ideas and best practices among and amidst the big companies. Read More →
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Long before Marissa Mayer upset the Yahoo cart (and the well-articulated response to that overturned cart in The New York Times), I’ve had to weigh out the pros and cons of what it means to have a work life when you don’t have an office. In the solopreneur world, it isn’t one way or the other, but rather a blend of both. And that blend is something bigger companies can learn from. The best part is that we set the policy and we can change it! Read More →
Finding the right date for Valentine’s Day is tough. It takes a lot of dating to find that perfect someone to settle in with, someone worthy of a ‘Be Mine’ candied heart. Rush in and it can easily become the worst night of your life.
So why is it that your go-to Solopreneur is doling out dating advice? As it turns out, there are a lot of similarities between having the perfect date and getting a great client. Read More →
Back in the day, there was a cartoon character whose catch phrase was ‘now waaaaayyyy a minute’ when things didn’t sound quite right. That is instinctively what I thought as soon as I read a recent article in Forbes predicting a future in which stable careers are replaced by low wage temp work. While I do believe that permanency in employment is decreasing (and I wrote about it back in 2008), I think the Forbes author chose the cautionary tale route versus the “let’s get prepared for it” one. If you read me regularly, you’ll know I believe that when it comes to your career, have no fear. Read More →
Freelancers and freelancers-in-training: for more of Beth Temple’s hard-won, practical tips on getting paid what you deserve, check out her May 16th Hired Guns Academy class on Freelance Success: Independence, Not Insecurity.
It’s no surprise that the two most common questions I get in my class are about how to price yourself and how to get paid. Although we are in it for the love, love can’t buy food and shelter, or a ticket to a movie now and again. Read More →
The digital business consultant Beth Temple will be bringing her newest class, Freelance Success: Independence, Not Insecurity, to the Hired Guns Academy on Wednesday, May 16. This three-hour course is designed to help freelancers at all stages of their career become more successful at what they do best. They’ll learn how to bring in more business, develop a unique selling proposition, and be better at navigating corporate politics and managing their own finances.
It’s been a few months since Fast Company’s much talked- and tweeted-about cover story on Generation Flux. The title’s been bothering me ever since I read it. The magazine had it wrong by a vowel! We don’t need a generation in flux (which sounds negative and unstable), we need one that has flex (which is much more agile and proactive).
Flexibility is going to be the key to the next few decades for every business, big and small. It is also going to be the defining characteristic for those individuals who want to thrive in the next few decades. Read More →
There seems to be a series of confessionals going on — one from an ex-employee of Goldman Sachs and another from Google and likely more to come — so I thought it might be the right time for me to join in. This is not a rant. I hope it might be an inspiration. Read More →
If you are like me, a solopreneuer, you get to the end of the year and wonder where where it all went. Hopefully you’ve been busy doing great work and enjoying making and keeping in touch with new connections, but you probably haven’t been thinking about how to wrap up the year. You’re not alone!
Here are four things you can do now to end the year on a high note:
Taxes: This is the time of the year you really need to start planning for your 2011 taxes. It’s best if you do it year-round, but we’re busy and often don’t keep up. Be sure you have all your receipts in order and you’ve got all your billings tallied. If you work with an accountant, be sure to schedule a December checkup to do some taxes preplanning. For instance, it may make sense to pay your state taxes for 2011 before January 15 in order to relieve some tax burden come April. Read More →
The New Year is approaching, and it’s a perfect time to make a change. If the change you have in mind is from “corporate life” to “freelance life,” then you’ve stumbled on the right post to get you started.
Let’s start with the mechanics. Know who you are and what you are selling. Design. Marketing. Sales. It doesn’t matter what skill you are taking to market (and that is what you are doing) — you have to be sure you are exact in the telling. It has to be short and easy to transfer from human to human – this kind of selling is called referral sourcing. For example: “I specialize in SEO” is easy for people you meet to remember and to tell others about. “I specialize in SEO for big companies who are selling imported goods” is a lot harder. Take any leads you can get in your area of expertise — it’s better to be the filter than the drain. Read More →
A new session of Beth Temple‘s popular class on successful freelancing, Be Your Own Boss, will be held at The Hired Guns Academy next Thursday, May 5th. We thought we’d give you a taste by asking Beth to discuss the three most common questions that have popped up in previous sessions.
“How (and how much) should I charge?” Hands down, this is the top question. Of course, if I had an exact answer to the “much” question I would start a side business and add it to my own revenue line! The “how much” question usually refers to an hourly rate, which affects the “how should I charge?” end result. So let’s break it down.
The classic ways to charge are by the hour, by the project, and by a retainer fee. All methods require some knowledge of what an hour costs you in relation to how much a client is willing to pay for that same hour. Start by estimating an hourly rate based on what you were making at your full-time job using this equation: salary / 2000 (hours) + hourly costs of benefits = hourly rate. Then estimate the hours it would take to complete the project, and charge a project fee based on the total hours multiplied by your per-hour rate. (There are a lot of other variables that can come into play, of course, and I go over them in the class.)
Once you start the project, be sure to track your actual hours. At the end compare the number of hours you thought you’d work with what you did work. You will likely come up short that first time–but over time you’ll easily make that up. Read More →
Today we welcome to the blog Beth Temple (@bethtemple4u), a digital consultant whose column is for the “preneurs” in The Hired Guns family. Although her focus will be split among advice for the entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and solopreneur, she will always return to proven ways to get ahead–whether it’s by growing your company, mastering important leadership skills, or learning how to sell yourself.
I know what you’re thinking–you missed the mark. Tax Day has come and gone. Well, for this year it has, but trust me, it will be back next year, and the best time to start planning for April 15, 2012, is now.
If you are like most small business owners (and yes, being just one person counts as being a business!), you’ve probably made some tax mistakes. I did my first year out: I didn’t realize that I had to pay quarterly estimated taxes based on forecasted income. Only made that mistake once.
Here are some things you should be doing now (and forever after) to help ensure a smooth tax season next year:
1) Beth’s 40% rule: In order to be sure I have the money I need throughout the year to pay for taxes, I take out 40% from every check (let me repeat that–EVERY check) and put it in a special account just for taxes. This way I don’t see it, I don’t spend it, and I always have the cash I need. Put the money in a saving account attached to your business checking account–it’s never a good idea to co-mingle your business and personal money. At the end of the year, if there is any left over in the tax account (and there usually is), that’s my yearly bonus. I either invest it back into the business or buy something small as a reward. (You could also use it to bulk up the three to six months’ worth of living expenses that financial experts say we all should have but often don’t.) Read More →