For me, the first day back after Labor Day always feels more like the start of a new year than January 1. With everyone (and it does seem like quite literally everyone) back from summer vacation and Q4 looming, the start of September always marks a renewed focus on work. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of my secrets to a successful September. Read More →
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While breathlessly watching Nik Wallenda’s teeth-clenching, death-defying, and awe-inspiring tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon, I found myself reminded of another type of daredevil: freelancers.
While most of us are not literally going to plummet to our death if we make a mistake, as a freelancer it can often feel like we are all alone in the world, trying to get from Point A to Point B, hundreds of feet in the air without a safety net.
So what can a Flying Wallenda teach us about the solo wire-walking act that we have to do every single day? Read More →
This is the final part of a three-part blog series by Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA, founder of Minerva Financial Arts, and author of Arts & Numbers (Agate B2, 2013). In her first piece, The Secret to Happiness she addressed the connection between budgeting and happiness. Her second piece, Budgeting for Those Who Would Rather Not, outlined the five-step budgeting process she finds most effective. Here, she addresses the most pressing need: budgeting for plenty of cash-on-hand.
Creative entrepreneurs in any field face a similar challenge: managing cash. Whether we are artists, performers, freelancers, contractors, or simply part-time dabblers, we lack the income predictability and stability of colleagues with more traditional forms of salaried employment.
But even as our incomes may be wildly unpredictable, our expenses rarely are. They occur with the same regularity we’d expect from a traditional employer. Our rent or mortgage payments are due monthly, as are our utility and phone bills. The professional and business expenses we incur while pursuing and completing projects often occur long before we receive the project’s income. And although we have some flexibility when it comes to paying our bills (delaying payment by small increments, setting the date of recurring payments, etc.), that flexibility is hardly sufficient to solve the cash flow irregularities we may experience.
For creative entrepreneurs, building a budget isn’t enough. We also have to tweak the budget so that it will serve as a cash management tool, not simply a budgeting tool. Read More →
This is the second part of a three-part blog series by Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA, founder of Minerva Financial Arts, and author of Arts & Numbers (Agate B2, 2013). In her first piece, “The Secret to Happiness,” Luttrull addressed the connection between budgeting and happiness. Here, she’ll outline the five-step budgeting process she finds most effective. Next, she’ll conclude the series with tips on managing cash flow challenges within a budget.
Few tasks overwhelm us as much as budgeting. We worry the budget will be wrong. We fear that we’ll omit some key part that makes it “work” or worse, makes a working budget fail. We cannot begin to summarize our existence in a few key budget categories.
We associate budgeting with guilt. We are bombarded with messages that we “should” budget, track our expenses, and know how much we are spending on our basic needs, our indulgences, and our professional pursuits. Read More →
This is the first in a three-part blog series by Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA, founder of Minerva Financial Arts, and author of Arts & Numbers (Agate B2, 2013). In her three pieces, she’ll address the connection between budgeting and happiness (really?), the five-step budgeting process she finds most effective, and the challenges associated with managing cash flow within a budget.
I wish the secret to happiness or professional success was simply budgeting. Wouldn’t that be easy? I mean, it wouldn’t be fun or exciting, but at least it would be clear.
But as it turns out, professional fulfillment, creative liberty, and technical satisfaction in your career isn’t something you can solve with one task (even one as powerful as budgeting). Read More →
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 →
No one is doing more to secure the financial well-being of freelancers than Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and author of The Freelancer’s Bible. Her new book is filled with vital info for the experienced freelancer and the novice alike, and covers everything from landing (and keeping) clients to reputation management to setting fee structures, negotiating contracts, and surviving dry spells. She’s also the driving force behind Dispatches, a site devoted to highlighting the ideas and builders behind the new economy. She was kind enough to answer our questions about the new book and the emerging freelance economy.
How did freelancers’ rights become your passion? Given your father and grandfather’s ties to labor rights (a union lawyer and a union vice president, respectively), did you find that it was just in your blood?
I was lucky in that I grew up in a family where I always knew it was an option to grow up and help workers. So when I was misclassified as a freelancer after law school, I saw that there was a new kind of worker that needed to be organized. Back then (the mid-1990s), people didn’t really know what a “freelancer” was. Now, our 200,000 members are proud to be freelance. The institution we’re building with them is really the next wave of unionism. Read More →
Time’s 100 Most Influential People, that venerable annual accounting of who’s who the world over, is in its final stage of voting. We’d like to encourage you to vote for Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and all-around champion for freelancers’ economic rights. As our economy continues to shift to a freelance, distributed model, Sara is a vital voice for the economic and social well-being for countless professionals. Swing by Time and tell them why Sara deserves a place on the Top 100. All it takes is a click.
February’s BLS Jobs Report landed on Friday, and the numbers were surprisingly positive. A healthy 236,000 jobs were added to the private sector, a whopping 71,000 more jobs than expected. While you might think this would be cause for celebration, the reaction among major news outlets was decidedly mixed. The Gray Lady — followed by scores of other outlets – unleashed a frenzy of upbeat articles, each presenting a rosy outlook for the still-wobbly economy. NPR was more measured in its coverage, being bold enough to give some airtime to the falling participation rate (this number measures the amount of employable adults actively engaged in the labor market). It also balanced Friday’s good news with coverage of the continuing challenges faced by the long-term unemployed. Naturally, The Wall Street Journal did what the Wall Street Journal does best: rain on everyone’s parade.
In short, the numbers are more promising than many observers expected, but change is still to come. Here’s what the situation looks like from our spot in the jobs space. Read More →
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 →