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Can you believe it? A year ago today, I returned to the helm of Get Rich Slowly. Eight-and-a-half years after selling the site, I bought it back. During the past twelve months, GRS has been through three distinct phases as I've struggled to figure out my focus and direction. First, I tried to manage the […]


The post Celebrating one year of Get Rich Slowly 3.0 appeared first on Get Rich Slowly.

59

Last week, I was a guest on the new Fire Below Zero podcast. The interview was fun. (It'll probably be several weeks before the episode airs, though.) Toward the end of our conversation, the hosts asked a question that my mind keeps returning to: “What's something you spend money on that other people might question?” […]


The post Potential needs versus actual needs: Re-writing my financial blueprint appeared first on Get Rich Slowly

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.

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Why doing business with family might not be such a bad idea

How many of us have heard the expression that we “shouldn’t do business with friends and family?” As someone who once subscribed to this idea, I now realize just how wrong I was. My mother is my de facto personal assistant; my cousin designs our company t-shirts, and my brother has referred so many people that he has VIP status.



Their presence in my business life has made an incredible difference. My output is greater;

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I have generated new leads; and I have had a chance to meet and network with new clients. Just this past year, one of my former students, turned friend, starting working on projects with me.



Much like my experience with my biological family members, working directly with my friend has been an amazing experience. She is detail oriented, highly skilled, and flexible. In a fast-paced industry with tight deadlines and a diverse clientele, she has been an ideal addition to my team.



But what if I had dismissed her or my family members as potential team members simply because we are friends and family?



Why not work with family?

This question made me wonder: Why are some of us so quick to disqualify family and friends as potential clients, customers, and even business partner? I even tried to trace back to where my stance came from, considering the fact that I haven’t had any overtly negative experiences.



I guess I, like so many others, have heard so many cautionary tales from other entrepreneurs that I thought I was protecting myself.



But protecting myself from what?



Just as many of us would welcome a new client, a total stranger, on the assumption of good will, we need to think about how our friends and family may also be wonderful resources and ambassadors for our business endeavors. With an open mind, you may even find your next business partner at Thanksgiving dinner.



The importance of boundaries

The key is being clear about the line that you draw between your business and personal spheres. It may seem odd at first, but you want to make sure that you use the same safeguards that you would with others, including contracts where applicable. It is also important to talk about expectations up front.



Of course, it is perfectly feasible to offer a Friends and Family discount, but just make sure that it is an amount that you are comfortable with. Friends and family members who are serious about supporting you will respect your boundaries. They will also accept your policies and procedures.



Sometimes, they can become your biggest cheerleaders as they spread the word about your business with their networks and share your work with others. I have literally seen people expand their businesses exponentially because of their ability to work collaboratively with their kinship units.



The one advantage of potentially working with people who you know very well is that you can vet them before you do business with them. Drawing from past experiences and interactions, you can probably determine if it really is a good idea to proceed in a business-like capacity.



Know what you're getting into

The ones who are not able to respect your boundaries or who don’t have the work ethic that you desire are simply not good candidates to do business with. Because no transaction is worth severing familial bonds and friendships, if you are in doubt or not sure, it’s best not to move forward.



Even with the possibility that some familial transaction will not be positive ones, don’t miss out on potential business relationships that can have positive outcomes for everyone involved. You may want to start with one or two people to figure out how, or if, it will work for you. And you may even want to spend extra time prepping family and friends because they are familiar with you in a personal context, but they may not be familiar with you as a business person or as an employer. Remember, by drawing boundaries, you are protecting all parties involved.



Try it out

Still not sure? Well, if you have been hesitant before, give it a try!



Whether it is serving as a referral, a client, or even a partner, remember that family members and friends can turn out to be tremendous assets.



47
What does it mean to be an independent contractor?

I have been an independent contractor and now, in my capacity as a small business owner, I hire independent contractors on a project by project basis. Having sat on both sides of the table, I understand how being an independent contractor can be confusing, so before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few questions to ponder:



What is an independent contractor?

As independent contracting is becoming a more popular me

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ans of employment, it is important to have a clear understanding of how it is defined. According to the IRS:



“People such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, or auctioneers who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors. However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax.”



I strongly recommend that you review the IRS’ website on the difference between being an employee and an independent contractor. Recent cases against Uber and Lyft in the state of California, in particular, have led to challenges over employment status misclassification. As such, California and other states have implemented an “ABC” test.



In California, workers are considered employees unless:





The worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with performing the work

The worker performs work outside of the usual course of the hiring entity’s business

The worker is usually engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity



If you are unsure as to whether the position that you have been offered is really that of an independent contractor or an employee, check your state’s labor laws and if possible, consult with legal representation. Your employment status is important for several reasons, mainly because it can have long-term implications, especially as it relates to paying taxes.



Are you prepared to pay taxes?

As the aforementioned description explains, independent contractors have quite a bit of autonomy. The thought of working on a project for weeks or months at a time as a project status worker may sound ideal, especially if you dislike the idea of working for the same company over an extended period of time.



However, if you have never been an independent contractor, it is important to understand that your compensation does not factor in Social Security, Medicare tax, unemployment insurance, local, state or federal taxes. So, if you are accustomed to having everything taken out of your check for you by a conventional employer, you may want to think about how you plan to save for taxes.



Let’s admit, the idea of earning an exact amount is appealing, but remember this is your gross pay. In other words, it is taxable. So, if your compensation is $10,000.00 for a contract, remember, it is subject to taxation.



The easiest way to adjust to independent contractor status is to put away the money that is taxable. You may even want to open an account that you use just for the purposes of paying taxes. This will save you the heartache of not being prepared when it is time to pay the IRS.



Are you prepared for the end of the contract?

The duration of an independent contracting project is usually pre-determined. Many businesses rely upon project managers to help them determine throughput rates and reasonable deadlines. Because of this, many contracts will have approximate start and stop dates. These are often determined by volume and budgetary allocations.



If you are relying upon such contracts as the primary means for your income, then you don’t want to get too comfortable. You also don’t want to assume that you will have multiple opportunities to work on projects for the same company.



I highly recommend that you stay abreast of other opportunities and that you are preparing yourself for the next contract. Because you are not an employee, you also have the right to work on several other projects.



Being an independent contractor is a great way to experience job stability without feeling restricted by working for a singular entity. However, it is not for everyone. There is an element of unpredictability, and it is probably too stressful for those who are risk-averse.



My advice: Before you venture into the realm of independent contracting, make sure that you learn as much as you can about the position and whether or not it is a good fit for you.



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in-Book-200x300.jpg 200w" sizes="(max-width: 333px) 100vw, 333px" />by Joe Wallace


A few years ago, I was approached to edit a book by Chicago voiceover legend Jeff Lupetin. The project was still in progress at the time and while there are some book editors who won’t touch a manuscript until it has been declared more or less finished in some form, I accepted the project for a variety of reasons including the fact that I have a background in broadcast and understood where the book was going.


That’s something a book editor shouldn’t take lightly-if you aren’t as experienced in a certain kind of subject matter and don’t know where the project might go, you are potentially at a serious disadvantage when it comes to avoiding task creep.


How did I help this project and what can a freelance editor do to help YOUR book project?


For starters, I asked the author some very direct questions. Who is the intended audience? For this book, that seems like a no-brainer. People who want to become voice artists and do voiceover work. But is that all?


We managed to refine the audience type by asking ourselves as author and editor what kinds of people would be interested in this book. We came up with two basic types (not that our discussions were limited to that, mind you) including those who are gear savvy and those who are not.


So we needed to reach people who didn’t know one end of a microphone from the other, and the people who know the difference between a cardioid mic, a shotgun microphone, and a large-diaphragm condenser mic.


Knowing the business the way I do, it wasn’t hard to make suggestions about how to reach people who don’t know the technical side of things. And it was easy to suggest changes to make the book more “evergreen” so that technological advances didn’t render whole portions of the text obsolete in a few years.


But the real work was the author’s-he had to organize his thoughts in such a way that the progression of information from the introduction to the closing chapter makes sense and can help the reader make a step-by-step journey through the craft and realities of working in the voiceover industry.


What a good editor can do for your book project, especially non-fiction, is to provide the outsider’s perspective. When you write a book and devote enough time to it, it’s easy to miss some obvious things along the way. Everything from perspective on the subject to the basic ability to understand the progression of facts and information between the introduction and “about the author” can be tainted by being too close to your subject or the mechanics of writing about it.


Hire A Freelance Editor To Get A Second Opinion Or Outsider’s Perspective On Your Project


A freelance editor can be hired to do several things. One is nothing but a technical review of the book-is the grammar good? Punctuation and spelling? Does the book make sense to read or does it need formatting changes to make it easier to follow? These are all critical technical issues.


But you can also hire an editor to give you more detailed feedback. Does the book make sense in terms of its’ overall presentation of content, the structure of the information, and the narrative? This is a more subjective process and an author who hires an editor to do this needs to be ready to hear real and constructive feedback. Don’t shy away from the hard things your editor might say-if the goal is to make your book as good as it can be, the advice you get is worth considering even if you wind up disagreeing.


[Hire a Freelance-Zone.com freelance writer, editor, or social media manager by contacting us via e-mail with some basic details about your project. We will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.]


A good editor will be tactful but will tell you what you need to know about getting  your book into shape for publication.


If you need to hire an editor to help you format an eBook, understand that this is a completely separate process from editing the actual content of the book. Some editors refuse to touch eBook formatting and others love doing it. But the electronic book formatting process is totally different than working on the material itself.


[Hire a Freelance-Zone.com freelance writer, editor, or social media manager by contacting us via e-mail with some basic details about your project. We will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.]

38

Love writing short stories? I do too, mainly because they’re short. I can get an idea, start writing, and can complete the story in just a few hours. However, as well as being fun and easy to write, short fiction has another benefit. It sells. I’m amazed at how few authors realize this. Short stories: […]


The post Short Stories: The Untapped Marketplace For Your Words appeared first on

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com/blog">Angela Booth's Fab Freelance Writing Blog.

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Generally speaking, when it comes to plotting fiction, novelists comprise two major groups: the plotters, and the pantsers. “Pantsers” are those authors who write by the seat of their pants, trusting their intuition and creativity to provide characters, scenes, and words. Which group do you belong to? Does it matter? It matters, because the more […]


The post Plotting Fiction: 3 Tips For Courageous Pantsers appeared first on

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="http://www.fabfreelancewriting.com/blog">Angela Booth's Fab Freelance Writing Blog.

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The site has been up and down quite a lot in the last month due to upgrades, changes, bugs, troubleshooting, and much more. It’s great to report that we are finally getting close to being 100% up and running on a 24/7 basis! Our first official posts will be coming very soon. Thank you very much for your interest and if you have found this website because you are in search of writers or editors for a project you need help with, please feel free to get in touch via email:


editor@freelance-zone.com


We are accepting ne

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w projects for our writing team including online content writing, editing (books and other publications), articles, social media management and much more. A full list of our services and writers is coming very soon.


Thanks for reading!


Joe Wallace

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

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/2018/07/JOE-WALLACE-CHICAGO-FREELANCE-WRITER-EDITOR-300x194.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />


Freelance writers and editors often come with a wide range of skills, but a lot of potential clients aren’t sure if they need a freelancer, and what freelance writers, editors and social media managers can do for them. How do you hire and most effectively use a freelancer?


Hiring A Freelance Writer, Editor, And Social Media Manager


Freelancers offer their clients a cost-effective way to generate or edit content, manage writing teams, edit books and online content for publication, post and maintain social media accounts, and even create digital content in the form of videos and podcasts.


The most effective way to begin a search for a freelancer is to determine what your overall budget is for the project you want. Are you a theatre director looking for someone to promote your upcoming shows via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram?


You’ll need to decide how much labor you want to invest each day of the campaign, how much that labor should cost, and what your benchmarks will be for effectiveness of the campaign.


[Hire a Freelance-Zone.com freelance writer, editor, or social media manager by contacting us via e-mail with some basic details about your project. We will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.]


Bands, Indie Businesses, and Sole Prorpietorships Need Freelancers


Are you a band looking for a freelancer to do the same with social media and posts on your band’s official site? The same rules apply-you need to determine your budget in advance and commit to a certain amount of work for a certain amount of pay.


If you have an independent business to promote, the same exact rules apply but with the added consideration that you are engaging in a longer campaign to generate business and attention to your website.


Promoting an indie business takes time and results are not always available overnight. You will need to discuss your goals with your freelancer to determine the best course of action.


Some types of business are better suited for some types of freelance writing and social media work than others. If you have a product your customers will purchase or use one time only or on a limited basis, the needs of your freelance campaign will be quite different than a company such as a record store that relies on social media and their website to generate repeat business.


Corporate And Local Businesses Need Freelancers


Many big name companies including PetSmart, Lionel, Inc., Motorola, and Banco Popular hire freelancers and temp workers, consult with freelancers for advice on expanding local social media campaigns, and use freelance writers and editors to begin new projects they may choose to take internally later on.


Corporate and local businesses alike can benefit from the flexibility of having a freelance/contract writer and editor working for them because the freelancer is dedicated specifically to that project and won’t have to attend other company meetings or be sidetracked by additional duties or other projects at that company.


That is not to say that freelancers work for one client exclusively-that is an arrangement that is definitely possible but requires some additional negotiation and compensation discussions. But in general the advantage of the freelancer is that she doesn’t get sidetracked by the other issues and projects of the company hiring her. Her job is to focus on the writing, editing, and/or social media project assigned.


[Hire a Freelance-Zone.com freelance writer, editor, or social media manager by contacting us via e-mail with some basic details about your project. We will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.]


What Do Freelance Writers, Editors, And Social Media Managers Do?


Freelancers write web content, articles, press releases, social media posts, and curate relevant posts from other tastemaker websites while writing original content to go along with that curated media.


Freelance editors edit book projects (especially biographies and works that are intended to be self-published), web content, manage teams of writers, and check over any volume of written content for errors, grammatical goofs, auto-correct problems (and there are many of those!) and much more.


Freelance social media managers write, edit, promote, and network on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. The best social media managers understand how to strike a balance between self-serving posts that promote the client and content that is shared as a way of generating and maintaining interest in discussions, sharing, and reposting.


Hire A Freelance Writer, Editor, Or Social Media Manager Today


Freelance-Zone.com has many resources to help. If you need to hire a freelance writer, editor, or social media manager for contract work, short or long-term projects, or an ongoing relationship to produce results over a long period of time, get in touch with us today to hire a Freelance-Zone.com writer, editor, or social media manager.


Contact us today and please use Freelance-Zone.com in the subject line to avoid spam filtering. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Happy holidays–updated meal and entertainment deduction rules are here

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.



If you are keeping track of the rules related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TC

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JA) that are likely to impact you as a freelancer, you’ll want to take note of this one in regard to meal deductions. At the beginning of the year, it looked like the IRS was not going to allow the deduction of 50 percent of food and beverage expenses associated with business operations.



However, this rule was recently clarified to confirm that you can continue to deduct meal expenses as long as they meet the specific guidelines for such deductions.



The good news for freelancers

This is good news for freelancers, especially if you are planning to host client meals this holiday season and for any of the business meal expenses that you may have racked up throughout the year (as long as you have receipts).



Keep in mind, however, that expenses for entertainment, amusement, or recreation in the course of business are not deductible. For example, if you want to treat your client to dinner plus tickets to a show, only 50 percent of the meal expenses would be deductible.



What you can deduct

You can deduct client meal expenses, but they have to be legitimate. As a refresher, here are the requirements for being able to take advantage of the meal expense deduction on your freelance business tax return:





The meal expense must be reasonable and a necessary as part of your business operations.

Either you, or an employee of your business, must be present when the meal is eaten.

The food and beverages you are claiming must be provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant, or similar business contact.

If food and beverages are provided during or at an entertainment activity (i.e. brats and beer at a baseball game) they must be purchased separately from the entertainment on one or more bills, invoices, or receipts.



...and what you can't

In case you were wondering, you cannot try to pass through the cost of any entertainment as a deduction by claiming that the meal or food and beverages you provided is greater than it really was. In addition, you must have receipts to support your meal expense deductions (not just a credit card statement) so be sure to keep those filed with your other tax information.



Beware of the new IRS view on de minimis meal expense deductions for your business.



Aside from the above meal expense deductions, it is important to remember that under the tax reform laws, significant changes to the amount you can deduct for de minimis meal costs were also made.



These expenses related to meals provided on premise by companies to their employees are considered a form of de minimis or “fringe” benefits by the IRS. Typically, de minimis benefits are characterized by a) their low value (a good rule of thumb is the expense is less than $100) and b) the relative infrequency with which they are offered.



It used to be that de minimis benefit expenses were 100 percent tax deductible as a general business expense and included items such as occasional snacks and refreshments provided to employees by an employer or the infrequent provision of money for meals by an employer when employees are working overtime.



Not anymore.



The TCJA gradually eliminates these deductions. Starting in the 2018 tax year, the deduction businesses can claim for de minimis meal expenses is reduced from 100 percent to 50 percent. By the 2025 tax year, the ability to deduct these costs is completely eliminated.



In addition, starting in the 2018 tax year, the current 50 percent limit on the deductibility of business meals by individual taxpayers expands to include businesses. This means that any meals provided by businesses on their own premises, such as at a company cafeteria, holiday party or employee picnic—as well as any related operating costs—are no longer 100% deductible. This year only 50 percent of these costs may be deducted by businesses and in 2025 no deduction for these expenses can be taken.



So there you have it—some good news and some not so good news about meal expenses for your freelance business. If you plan to take clients out to eat or to bring treats to the office during the holidays, keep your receipts in your tax file and the above TCJA provisions in your mind.



Jonathan Medows is a New York City based CPA who specializes in taxes and business issues for freelancers and self-employed individuals across the country. He offers a free consultation to members of Freelancer’s Union and a monthly email newsletter covering tax, accounting and business issues to freelancers on his website, www.cpaforfreelancers.com which also features a new blog, how-to articles, and a comprehensive freelance tax guide.



Jonathan is happy to provide an initial consultation to freelancers. To qualify for a free consultation you must be a member of the Freelancers Union and mention this article upon contacting him. Please note that this offer is not available Jan. 1 through April 18 and covers a general conversation about tax responsibilities of a freelancer and potential deductions. These meetings do not include review of self-prepared documents, review of self-prepared tax returns, or the review of the work of other preparers. The free meeting does not include the preparation or review of quantitative calculations of any sort. He is happy to provide such services but would need to charge an hourly rate for his time.



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