Archive for November, 2008

Up in Lights

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Life as a freelance writer is crazy at times: working at the dinner table, burning the midnight oil, cranking out a project while nursing a six-month-old. But every once in awhile, something pretty cool happens that makes it all worthwhile.

For me, it was getting interviewed by a reporter for U.S. News & World Report last week — he was doing an article on successful women entrepreneurs and asked if Iíd like to be featured as a web freelance writer. After about half a second of deliberation, my uber-professional answer was “Heck, yes!”

Take a look at the article.

Recession-proofing Your Freelance Business

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Save Money

The impacts of our struggling economy are, sadly, numerous and impossible to miss. Most businesses are operating on a “lean and mean” mentality, cutting back on full-time staffers and outsourcing whenever possible. Not bad news for freelance consultants like me, who are more than happy to pick up the slack

That said, I don’t think any of us are entirely immune to the effects of the widespread penny-pinching. Even us freelancers will feel the impacts of non-essential projects being cancelled or deferred, fees dwindling to lower amounts, and more competition among those who have lost their jobs and hopped into the already crowded freelancing pool.

So, what’s a freelance writer to do? Any (or all) of the following:

  • Sock away as much as you can. This should be a rule of thumb for all of us, but itís especially critical for freelancers who donít know exactly how much is coming in each month. Create an automatic savings transfer and regard it just like an ordinary bill. Having a nest egg will help reduce anxiety if and when you face a slow period.
  • Hit up past employers for work. With many companies facing hiring and salary freezes, thereís a greater call for temporary help. If you previously held a full-time position, check with your former boss to see if they have a need for your services. Your experience in the trenches will give you an immediate edge over other candidates.
  • Cut back on outsourcing. It can be tempting to take on extra jobs and hire other people to help you complete them, but you need to take a good, hard look at just how much youíre netting from farming out these jobs. If youíre spending a considerable amount of time reviewing and editing the work, and paying out a significant chunk of the project fee, you may want to consider doing it yourself and pocketing the full earnings.
  • Be tax-savvy. As a freelancer, youíll more than likely owe some taxes at the end of the year. Set aside a percentage of each and every payment (see your accountant to determine a recommended percentage, usually somewhere between 25-35%) to go into a tax account, out of which youíll pay estimated or annual tax fees.
  • Become a more well-rounded writer. By stretching outside of your comfort zone and taking on a broader range of services and topics, youíll be more likely to snag jobs from many different types of clients.

As many financial analysts predict, our current financial bind is likely to begin unraveling in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, do your best to remain patient and positive. Happy writing!