Tag Archives: freelance news

What You Can Learn About Freelancing From Vinyl Records

Josie and the Pussycatsby Joe Wallace

When I am not freelancing, I sell vinyl records on Etsy, Discogs.com, and on my vinyl blog Turntabling. Vinyl records is a passion of mine and also an additional revenue stream for me, helping me stay in business as a freelancer and remain generally self-employed.

Believe it or not, the two worlds have a LOT in common. The whole reason I turned to vinyl in the first place, years ago, was because of the freelancer’s need for diverse income sources. Clients come, clients go. Some pay on time, some never do.

So diversifying the income portfolio, as it were, is a must–you want to eat every day? Make sure you have three or more checks arriving at various times in the month. Save up a cushion to deflect the problems created by those late-payers. That’s the message the freelance life has consistently given me since I started in 2002.

But the most fascinating things I’ve learned about freelancing from vinyl records can really be summed up by that Josie and the Pussycats vinyl record you see here. Look at this thing! You probably laughed when you spotted it, right? But here’s a fascinating little piece of data–that record is, at the time of this writing, up for sale on Ebay (not by me) for TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS.

It’s sealed, very hard to find, and somebody might actually pay that $200 to get it. MAYBE NOT–but there’s actually a chance, because of that tricky combination of nostalgia, impulse buying, and the near-eternal appeal of vinyl records for some.

The lessons I take away from this for the freelance life? Pretty simple but very important:

1. Like the vinyl record, your services are worth what people are willing to pay for them. I have been paid $200 an hour or more for my work. I’ve given it away for free, I’ve bartered, I’ve cut people deals. But at the end of the day, you get paid because a client was willing to pay and you were willing to do the work. It can be counter-productive–at least for me–to view freelance work in terms of fixed, unchanging price tags.

2. There is a market for expensive services, and it’s harder to find. In the vinyl market, I have customers willing to pay large dollars for rare, near impossible-to-find records. But I have just as many who simply want good, decently priced vinyl they don’t have to scour the earth to purchase. Balancing the high-paying hard-to-find commodities with lower-priced volume income is key. When it comes to my writing work, some writing has much greater inherent value, and therefore costs more. Some is intended to keep Google’s attention focused properly through steady posting and dependable content. This lower-priced work is not the same research-intensive stuff as the high-priced material, not should there be an expectation that it be anything more than what it is.

3. Go where the market is. I’ve tried selling on Amazon, at fan conventions, on Etsy, eBay, Bonanza, and many other places. When one avenue isn’t working over time, I ditch it and move on to something else. If you’re pounding your head against the proverbial wall in one area of your freelance career, it may be time to look elsewhere for better results. This is a notion that has served me very well since 2002.

There’s more, there’s SO much more…but the last lesson I can impart from my experience selling and collecting vinyl records is knowing when you’re in danger of overstaying your welcome.

Joe Wallace sells vinyl records, writes about military issues and finance, and runs several blogs and social media concerns. Since 2002, he’s written for acres for magazines and the Internet. His credits include American Fitness, Indie Slate, HorrorHound Magazine, and is one of the many essayists featured in a forthcoming book about obscure and under-appreciated horror films. You can reach him by email at jwallace242 @ gmail.

Freelance Social Media Management: Mutate and Survive

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorby Joe Wallace

Any regular reader of this blog knows that some of us (myself and Catherine L. Tully) are freelance social media managers as well as writers and editors. I myself have been working with several websites where my duties could simply be listed as “all of the above”.

Since I started working in social media, the landscape has changed so much, so often, and in so many ways, that my advice for newcomers is now essentially boiled down to one sentence, cribbed from a creaky old Rush song: “Constant change is here to stay”.

A great example of that concept is found in the Ad Week post, Agencies Start to Get Really Anti-Social, by Christopher Heine. Here’s a sample:

“Just a few years ago, legions of businesses practically tattooed themselves with the label “social media agency” so they could ink deals with brand clients looking to get on Facebook. But as the marketing landscape shifts toward cross-digital solutions and demands for big data, the term is beginning to be seen as too limiting by some.”


“Agencies have always adapted to a changing media world. Just as brands some eight decades ago began seeking ad services that facilitated both print and broadcast, companies may soon routinely expect that digital services (display, retargeting, search, etc.) and social get packaged together.”

It’s funny—when I first started working in social media, I knew people who were “giving up writing and editing” to work more exclusively on campaigns for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I simply added social media services to the people I blog for in addition to my other work–with an expanded billing rate to match the time investment, naturally. But I never felt entirely comfortable giving up one thing for another.

And now, it seems, current trends–and my cash flow–justify my position. But I do wonder what people who are social media-only these days are thinking about the Ad Week article, the implications, and how they are planning for the future. What’s a social media marketer to do in an age where traditional PR and digital strategy are locking arms? It’s an overdue trend, in my opinion–at least from the point of view of a company that needs the services.

Will digital-only services become an endangered species? Is this a trend, a fad, or has it always been this way in certain sectors but not in others?

Joe Wallace is a freelance writer, editor, social media manager and part-time film maker. His current projects include editing a book for voice actors, social media campaigns for the retail banking industry, and he is currently developing a video series about rare vinyl records. Wallace accepts new assignments on a limited basis. Contact him for more information at jwallace@freelance-zone.com