The ultimate combination of business and pleasure for those of us who love the taste of a good, cold beer? Throwing open a laptop in a pub and downing a pint or two while firing off queries and polishing first drafts.
I won’t make the draft beer joke here, but I will say that freelancing in the Irish pub down the street from me is one of life’s little pleasures. I was reminded of how much I enjoy this when I stumbled across a 2008 blog post at FreelancerMagazine.com called 6 Alternative Work Spaces to the Home Office by John Cottone.
Some find the pub too noisy to work, but for some reason I enjoy the atomosphere–it actually makes me concentrate a bit harder somehow. Continue reading Can You Freelance in a Pub?
by Joe Wallace
You know you want to, and everywhere you look there are websites encouraging you to take the plunge and go full-time freelance. Wanna know why I do it? It’s not for the huge paychecks or the accolades, but that DOES help. Instead, here are my top ten reasons why you should drop everything you’re currently doing and go full-time freelance THIS WEEK.
10. You can go from a thankless 60 hour work week to a life of ease and fun. Don’t set the alarm clock, wake up when you feel like it and go to work in your pajamas. But if you do this, make sure the curtains are open so your neighbors can watch you taking it easy. Nothing screams “successful freelancer” than when your next-door buddies come home from a hard day slaving away in the land of the cubicles to see you still in your PJs laughing at some e-mail your favorite editor just sent you.
9. There’s no shortage of work, when you feel like actually writing something. Don’t worry about that 3PM tee time at the golf course, you can bang out that first draft and submit it after your two-hour lunch. The editor’s going to re-write you anyway, why polish?
8. It’s about time you purchased a brand new car, isn’t it? When was the last time you could afford to do THAT? Oh, and don’t forget to pay in cash with the money you made off putting Google Adsense on your resume page.
7. You’ll score big with members of both sexes, and cats will purr at the very sight of you. To make this happens, it’s especially important to cultivate an image of carefree living, even when the last check you were due is 90 days late. Never let them see you sweat, and tell your landlord to go take a flyer—you’ll pay when you’re damn good and ready.
6. Two words. Pizza Buffet. Now you can do it anytime you want, including for breakfast. Since you’ll be waking up around 11:30 or later now, that’s more of a possibility than ever before. Continue reading Top 10 Reasons to Go Full-Time Freelance This Week
by Joe Wallace
There are many things I see my fellow freelancers do that I don’t understand. Some for the better, some for the worse. I could write miles of advice on some of these issues, but I think that sometimes the best course of action is merely to ask a probing question.
The best answers may come from within on some of these burning questions, and while some of my friends will howl with laughter at such seemingly faux-mystical nonsense, read my burning questions and decide for yourself. Some of these questions are presented to make you ask yourself if you’re ready to make a new commitment to higher rates, better work, and recognizing that you’ve actually made it as a freelancer.
Fellow freelance writers, I ask you:
- Why do some freelancers insist on looking for new freelance jobs only at the most heavily-trafficked freelance job sources on the ‘net?
- Why do some writers work in a vacuum, not reading the work of their fellow writers and comparing skill sets?
- Why do freelancers make their Twitter feeds private?
- Why do some freelancers include TMI in their professional profiles? (as in Too Much Information)
- Why do freelance writers fail to make lists of their skill sets and specialize in their truly awesome skills?
- Why do some fail to study the major-leaguers in the business and examine what makes those big names so great?
Continue reading Burning Questions for Freelance Writers
by Joe Wallace
It’s not specifically designed as a freelance writer bailout program, but the end result is the same–freelancers who need a new vehicle can get a nice price break thanks to President Obama’s new Cash For Clunkers program.
Officially it’s called CARS, the Car Allowance Rebate System. Under the program eligible buyers can qualify for up to$4,500 in government funds for trading in your old vehicle for one that has better gas mileage.
There are a few caveats. According to CARS.gov, the trade-in car must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date and your trade-in must get 18 miles per gallon or less. The CARS rebate is only good for the purchase or lease of a new vehicle.
Those restrictions may put some buyers off, but the Cash For Clunkers program has inspired some auto manufacturers to go the extra mile to get customers in the door. You might be purchasing a car on a freelance writer’s budget, but when Chrysler offers matching funds to help offset the price, suddenly that new car or truck seems a lot more attainable. Under the Chrysler program eligible buyers would get a whopping $9000 off the sticker price.
The best part about Cash For Clunkers is that the customer doesn’t need to do anything but check with the dealer to see if their current vehicle qualifies. The car dealer must do all the registering under this program–your end comes at purchase time.
Freelance writers take note, now is the time to make that new car purchase if you’ve had your eye on one and have an eligible gas guzzler to trade in.
Note: After a few horrified responses to this post, I should point out that I am wearing the pointy hat for much of this screed…that is to say I may have actually DONE this, but remember that all editors are slightly crazy and I’d never expect anyone to seriously take this advice unless they are as much of a rabid workaholic and certified nutter as I am.
There is no one tried and true way to make the jump from part time to fulltime…except possibly ONE method, the one I tried myself with great success. (How egotistical is THAT? There’s no way to make it except MY way, HAH!) Yet, when I think about it, this is the only method I know that makes any sense at all IF you have a day job you need to dump with extreme prejudice, and want to get yourself into a freelance situation where you wake up and tell yourself that your job is getting in the way of your career.
Naturally it’s a painful, isolating and downright masochistic path to follow to fulltime freelance success, which is why many people shy away from it. And who can blame them? Do you really want to suffer for your dream? You’ll find out just how committed you are when you contemplate doing “the Crazy Joe Wallace Method”. Also known as “Leaving Las Vegas, For Writers.”
What you do is decide, sort of like Nicholas Cage in that uber-depressing movie, that you’re going to write yourself to death.
Well, not quite. The actual trick is to write so hard that you WISH you were dead, but manage to take care of yourself in the meantime enough to maintain your madness. What madness would that be? Continue reading How to Go Full Time as a Freelancer: Five Painful Steps
In the early days as a full-time freelancer, I did not have health insurance. Part of the reason for doing what some would call playing healthcare roulette had to do with the fact that I had plenty of free coverage (albeit limited in some cases) thanks to my former job as a military writer and editor. When I worked for Air Force News and the American Forces Network, I never needed to pay for healthcare and when I got out I had a transition period where I had access to coverage. No longer.
And yes, in the interests of transparency I will admit that I didn’t have ANY health insurance for a time after my old coverage no longer applied. I figured I was healthy, careful and not about to develop any major problems. I took a gamble that fortunately for me, paid off. But I could easily have been flattened by a runaway bus or a nutjob with a steak knife. Lucky for me it never happened.
My research into the scary and daunting world of health insurance for freelancers has turned up some scary numbers. Since it’s so early in the hunt for affordable healthcare, as someone with the unmitigated audacity to work for themselves instead of being chained to a desk in the Land Of The Cubicles I am naturally a bit put off (terrified?) by what I have found so far. But for every unnerving discovery about freelance health insurance, I find at least one solid resource or advice site with practical, no-nonsense advice either about taxes, the insurance itself or the business of freelancing in general.
One of my most fruitful discoveries to date is AllBusiness.com. I will confess that I’ve only seen the articles on self-employed taxes and health insurance, but I have high hopes based on the strength of this series. Granted, it was written in 2006 and some legal issues have changed or will be changing, but it feels like a great place to start. All Business seems–again, at first glance–like a great no-nonsense resource for anyone serious about making a profit as a freelancer, small business owner or self-employed person. They have not one, but THREE podcasts and feature call-in numbers so you can ask questions on the shows. I am impressed.
The quest for AFFORDABLE freelance health insurance that doesn’t demand insane deductibles goes on. I’ll be passing along my findings here, including a look at what you can find by joining MediaBistro.com’s AvantGuild or the Freelancers Union.