Re: Freelance, contract part-time

Subject: Re: Freelance, contract part-time
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: "Karl Norman" <kylesimmons0164 -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 May 2015 19:33:28 -0400

I am headed out so this will be short, but I thought you might want to know this and I'm sure others will comment.

There are two main types of contracts: locals and life on the road.

Local is typically less money. You compete with all who are willing to take less just to stay home.

Experience is money. If all you have is 10 months, ride it out for a bit longer. Otherwise, you will be working for minimum rates for some time.

Like Peter said, 1099 is a trap for most. To use one, you really need to be your own company. You will have to pay out taxes, SS, and the rest. As such, your 1099 rate should be about double your W2 rate, but typically shops wanting you to work 1099 means they want to get you on the cheap. The main company avoids 1099 to individuals as there are too many pitfalls for them, getting stuck with paying you employee benefits due to lawsuits and government actions. A 1099 doesn't insulate them enough from you.

Temp to Hire is another trap. Say the rate should be $35 but they tell you it is only $30 because it is Temp To Hire, as though you get some huge benefit by being hired. It is a carrot. If you do get hired, your pay and benefits probably won't equal the $30, let alone the $35, because they will say your $45,000 salary plus the benefits equal the larger amount.

Learn to save. You without question MUST have 3 months of money to live on. You need to increase that to 6 months as soon as possible, within the first two years. A contract can end at any second and there isn't any recourse, so prepare to weather the financial storm. For example, you go 1000 miles to a job, work a week, and it ends. You are out all the money traveling there, having to pay hotel rates for a place to stay for a few weeks, and travel back home, if you have one.

Live light. If you can't pack it in your car, SUV, van, or truck, you don't need it.

You are NOT an employee. Never mistake that status.

There are lots of rules and laws you need to know. Learn them.

One is overtime. There are laws that allow them NOT to pay it for some contractors, HOWEVER, if it is in your contract, they must. ALWAYS get that in the contract or do not work OT. Contracts are written agreements between you and the shop you are working for who rents you to the client. You can always change a contract before signing, as it is what you agree to. As long as they are small changes, they almost always agree. Regardless of what they tell you, they do not have 100 others for the same job, or they would not be sending you a contract. You are it.




Now it can be rewarding. You get to see a lot of the country. You get to learn new industries. You don't get bored. You gain a sense of freedom most will never know. When a company begins layouts, you shrug your shoulders and don't worry, because you probably have one bag in the place and can leave with 5 minutes notice, unlike those whose world just fell apart and have no idea what they will do now.


Have a good weekend and safe holiday.


In memory of those who served, thanks.






----- Original Message ----- From: "Karl Norman" <kylesimmons0164 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:40 PM
Subject: Freelance, contract part-time


I've noticed a number of contributors here and in other tech writer forums
have gone rogue and begun freelancing at some point in their careers. Seems
the trend is to get the feet wet with a big company for x years and then
make the switch to freelance/contract work. Maybe some of you could expound
upon your decisions to make that change. What were the determining factors?
How did you feel confident that you could go it alone?

I'm at the beginning of my career. I've been with a medium size company for
10 months, and I'm working on building a document control department.
There's plenty of opportunity for me to grow here, but a significant part
of me doesn't care about the work. I've pursued working with nonprofits,
helping with procedures and ISO documentation, and I like that kind of work
better than my current position. I just like the working relationship I
have with small organizations. But, obviously the bills have to be paid,
and tech writing as a value added service is a hard sell to small
businesses and nonprofits. Do any of you rogues have advice for someone who
might want to leave his cubicle? Most importantly, how do you ensure the
bills get paid?
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Freelance, contract part-time: From: Karl Norman

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