Being a Freelancer in a Connected World

The LIFT conference is taking place in Geneva in a couple of weeks. Attendees are allowed to submit speech/workshop/discussion proposals. This is my proposal for an “Open Stage” — a 3-5 minute speech. It explains quite a bit of the spirit behind Going Solo, so I’m reproducing it here.

I thought becoming a freelancer would be rather easy: 18 months ago, when I quit my day job, the phone was almost ringing off the hook — and it seemed just magical that people were willing to pay me to do stuff that was so much fun.

That is, until I realised that I had to start thinking seriously about how much I was charging. Was it enough? Was it too much? How could I tell? Some people told me I was horrendously expensive, while others accepted my quotes so quickly I thought I should have asked double. I didn’t really know where to start.

Luckily, I had a few friends in the business. I mentioned my “how much do I charge?” problem — a bit timidly at first, but then with more assurance when I realised that they, too, were facing similar issues (or at least, had faced them at some point). “No, you’re not too expensive — you can charge at least this much!” “Look, here is how you figure out your daily rate…”

It didn’t make things easy as pie, but at least I wasn’t alone facing those issues (and the following ones) and I could benefit from others’ wisdom. That’s what communities are about, isn’t it? Soloists work alone, but actually need each other to collaborate on common projects projects or simply to share experiences and offer one another support.

There is a lot more to freelancing than doing the stuff we’re good at and passionate about. And there is a lot to say about this “business-y” stuff. It first really hit me when I was asked to go and give a talk about being a blogging consultant in Serbia a few months ago. People actually thought my story was interesting and inspiring!

So, when I started thinking about organizing events, I decided that the first one had to be for freelancers: Going Solo. The idea is to find the soloists with the best experience to share, and have them speak about it.

How do you fix rates? How do you close deals? Find new clients or help them find you? Deal with taxes? Find a balance between work and the rest of life? Adapt to the different kinds of clients you have? (I’ll share a tip or two I’ve learnt when I give my speech.)

I think these are questions all freelancers bump into at some point, and I want to offer people working solo or in very small companies the opportunity to firewall a day “off” to think about these issues and educate themselves about them in the company of those who have been “there” before.

If you’re coming to LIFT (and you should!) remember to keep an eye open for my Open Stage, and come and talk to me! I’m going to order Going Solo moo cards… very soon.

1 Comment so far

  1. Warning: Undefined variable $isByAuthor in /home/clients/239a9ebe877c2fba9e53d9fac195cadb/web/wp-content/themes/light/comments.php on line 37

    […] and an open stage speech in which I want to tell the story behind Going Solo (I also reproduced it on the Going Solo blog — have you subscribed to it […]

    Warning: Undefined variable $isByAuthor in /home/clients/239a9ebe877c2fba9e53d9fac195cadb/web/wp-content/themes/light/comments.php on line 41

Leave a reply

Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /home/clients/239a9ebe877c2fba9e53d9fac195cadb/web/wp-content/themes/light/comments.php on line 75