Last night on #MoChat we talked about the business side of freelance. Some good questions were raised, as well as good tips:

  • Be weary of clients asking for pitches. If it’s necessary, put in the minimal amount of time you’re comfortable losing.
  • If moonlighting, make sure clients are completely clear about your schedule ahead of time.
  • Save up cash, especially when starting out. Paychecks are sporadic.
  • Work out payment schedules with clients. If they’re late, find out why and react accordingly.
  • Set aside some percentage of your paychecks for quarterly estimated taxes.
  • Insurance is expensive, but there’s some major changes coming with the Affordable Care Act.
  • Check the Freelancers Union.
  • Accountants can be a huge help. As can lawyers, but maybe less frequently.
  • Prioritize. You don’t need to be working 24/7.

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Welcome to #mochat everyone! Tonight we’re talking the business end of freelance.8:59 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

To start things off, what are some of your concerns as a freelancer? #mochat9:00 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

competing on price against folks who live outside US. #mochat9:01 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

My concerns are on becoming a part-time freelancer but honestly is there such a thing? #mochat9:02 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

my concern with being a freelancer, if I did it exclusively, would be knowing when the next job is coming in. #mochat9:03 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

There is as long as clients are clear that you’ll be mostly unavailable 9-5. #mochat9:03 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

My biggest concern right now is how to stop thinking of income the same way as a fulltime gig. #mochat9:03 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

that sounds like moonlighting. One way to get your feet wet #mochat9:04 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

you can’t just do great work. You can’t win the race to the bottom #mochat9:04 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

If you can, live as frugally as possible and hoard cash until you have a decent buffer. Then pay yourself. #mochat9:04 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

true dat I need to get my feet wet… 8) #mochat9:05 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

You also have an advantage in that you live in the culture you’re helping to create. You can’t offshore that. #mochat9:05 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

the offshore thing is above our control, focus on being great here. #mochat9:06 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Yeah, there comes a time when the buffer is big enough you just stop being worried. #mochat9:06 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

the cost of insurance was one of the big factors that deterred me and family from going full time freelance #mochat9:07 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

It can just take a while. #mochat9:07 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I’d go as far to say, you don’t want to work for companies who send work offshore. They are hurting us all. #mochat9:07 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Insurance is a big issue for a lot of freelancers. How many of you are doing without? Do you have a family? #mochat9:08 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

How much do people hate calling tech support? Language barriers aren’t always worth it #mochat9:08 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I hear that. Would love to hear what freelancers with and without families do for healthcare. #mochat9:08 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Also one thing to note, is does everyone understand how insurance is going to change after next year. #mochat9:09 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I’m a staff animator but occasionally freelance by night. How to convince potential clients I have enough time for them? #mochat9:09 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I’ll say no. please expand on that. #mochat9:09 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

http://t.co/ktUQ0Rmo read that over, its changing for everyone, but it means even more to freelancers. #mochat9:10 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

When I was fulltime freelance, I bought my own insurance for the family and paid through the nose… Even with an HSA plan. #mochat9:10 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

, which insurance liability, medical? #mochat9:11 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Obama’s healthcare plan. http://t.co/ktUQ0Rmo #mochat9:11 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I have an llc and through that have my healthcare setup for my family but it is still $$$ #mochat9:11 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

, yes required health care, also any luxury plans (what used to be good ones) will now be taxed as ordinary income. #mochat9:13 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

what kind of plan? Who’s the provider? #mochat9:13 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

As a small business and single freelancer it will benefit us, I cant speak to familys as I havent read into it. #mochat9:13 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

By delivering on time, and for new clientes telling them that you did deliver on time every previous work #mochat9:13 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

also for those who have day jobs to support their bills, you can expect the folks who are older to be tracked out. #mochat9:14 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

There is also The Freelancers Union offering help and plans https://t.co/qR32I0lL #mochat9:15 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

the biggest single reason that has always kept me away from full-time freelance is insurance #mochat9:15 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

in your case, not paying, yes you will lose out…but for my plans its actually beneficial. #mochat9:16 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I think were talking american companies asking for lower pay by outsourcing motion. #mochat9:16 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

there’s lots of people that have issues with the new healthcare stuff. i say, go to cananda like you threatened. WAIT #mochat9:17 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

yes I am referring to american companies. #mochat9:18 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Hey man, multiple translations are where the money is! #mochat9:20 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Is anyone seeing any considerable amount of offshore farming? #mochat9:20 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

there is tons!!!! It just isnt something anyone cares to actually watch. Farmed motion graphics sucks. #mochat9:21 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

i always like the ‘wow you are english’ comments when i worked tech spt #mochat9:21 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

On the issue of money, how do you handle taxes? Quarterly estimated taxes seem to surprise everyone. #mochat9:21 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Hahaha, gotcha. I’d been hearing the same in programming actually. #mochat9:22 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

around where I live (washington state) there has been more work going to our neighbors (Canada) to the north because of price. #mochat9:22 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Going to do quarterly next year, but this year I have set aside almost double what I need so I will be ready for the hit #mochat9:22 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I recommend that everyone use an accountant for taxes when making quarterly payments. Worth it. #mochat9:23 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

if there was a physical representation of ‘taxes’ it would look like a giant spider eating a fetus #mochat9:23 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I would take 30% of each paycheck and set it aside, pretended I didn’t even have it until tax time. #mochat9:23 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

what do you usally end up paying? #mochat9:23 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

RT : I would take 30% of each paycheck and set it aside, pretended I didn’t even have it until tax time. #mochat9:23 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

how much cheaper is Canadian mograph work? #mochat9:23 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

do even more, and you get to surprise yourself at the end of the year. #mochat9:24 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

i say take out 1.5 to 2x what you need quarterly to be safe #mochat9:24 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

~15% #mochat9:24 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I usually would anyway. We owned a house & had kids so had lots of deductions. #mochat9:24 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

, re tax: B&O tax, state income tax (if applicable), federal income tax, social security & fica. #mochat9:27 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Taxes suck, but they pay for all of the things we need to freelance. #takingtheotherside #mochat9:29 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

What do you do if clients are “untimely” with payments? #mochat9:29 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I do taxes on a monthly basis #mochat9:29 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Find out why they are untimely, its a bad economy give them the benefit of the doubt. #mochat9:30 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

ditto on the insurance fear. Having cancer makes it worse! #mochat9:31 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

the way I work with my clients is payment is due upon milestone completion. #mochat9:31 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

but making things clear up front, with contracts or legal protection can be preventative care. #mochat9:31 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

That’s a good point. How many of you have contracts or any agreements in writing when taking jobs? #mochat9:32 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

– late fees/penalties/late deliveries, etc are discussed in contract. #mochat9:32 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

best not to work with those who are “untimely” with payments more than once. #mochat9:33 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

do you charge fees for rework or changes from original idea? #mochat9:33 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

depending in the project, I require half up front based on an estimate. Then provide followup emails every two weeks #mochat9:34 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Off topic, but how many regular clients do you freelancers tend to have at once? #mochat9:34 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

RT : if there was a physical representation of ‘taxes’ it would look like a giant spider eating a fetus #mochat9:34 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

, depends if we agreed on work, then customer changes their mind I will charge them for the work. #mochat9:35 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

A million possibilities and 1-2 current clients. #mochat9:35 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

As in working on concurrent projects, or just in contact with? #mochat9:35 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

treat it like a business. I can’t say it any other way. #mochat9:35 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

good point, there are times if it is a good repeat customer you will give them a pass on some rework. #mochat9:36 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

At a time. And also, how often do you have to call around asking for work? #mochat9:37 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I always feel like people do that when they know it will ultimately get them more work. If it makes sense do it. #mochat9:38 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

curious how do you deal with customer untimely payments? #mochat9:39 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

: I try to every time. 50% up front. (Not freelancing in traditional sense)” #mochat9:43 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

We’re approaching the final minutes of #mochat. What about lawyers & accountants. Who has them? Worth it?9:45 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I never had either. But there were times I wish I did. #mochat9:47 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

no? I guess its good that none of us have needed one. #mochat9:47 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I will admit to asking legal advice of a law friend when a client asked me to do some questionable work (copyright). #mochat9:48 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

yes to both. Accountant worth it, Lawyer not so much, I use them for non-standard contracts. #mochat9:48 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Just getting in. Hoth battle and popcorn with kids = Priorities 🙂 #mochat9:49 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

work-life balance. Definitely worth it. #mochat9:49 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Percentage-wise, how much of you income does having both cost? Is the lawyer on retainer? #mochat9:50 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I had a client like my work, but still asked for a sample motion to their project up front before discussing money. What to do? #mochat9:51 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Always 🙂 #mochat9:52 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

A proposal is one thing, that’s a little questionable. #mochat9:52 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

for accountant it < 1%, lawyer ~3-4%. #mochat9:53 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

make a sample and watermark the hell out of it with travitacus all over it.. just kidding. #mochat9:53 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I wouldn’t unless you are ok with probably losing a bunch of time. #mochat9:53 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Yeah, just sayin’ that they trust my skills to their task already, why need an unpaid sample instead of doing business? #mochat9:54 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Right 🙂 I was planning on making it a smaller render and lowering the rez if I did it at all. #mochat9:56 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Actually, if you think getting the job is a non-issue, has a point about watermarking. #mochat9:56 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

if client reside outside US then I’ll need to deal with lawyers to make sure contract is binding in their country. #mochat9:56 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Yeah, feels like I would waste time and effort. So I am probably going to decline the work. #mochat9:56 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Good advice. #mochat9:57 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I’ve done proposals and worked on style-frames for a bid, but only two hours on something like that. #mochat9:58 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

How many use any of the programs out there for insurance and such as a freelancer, or are you covering yourself as part of the bid? #mochat9:59 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

They sound like the sort who will go “This is so great! We can pay you $25 to finish it.” #mochat10:00 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

We’re just about out of time. What’s one thing you wold tell others about the business of freelancing? #mochat10:00 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Good point, I don’t think I would loose a whole lot that way. Thanks 🙂 #mochat10:00 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

🙂 It is starting to smell that way to me too. #mochat10:01 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

, that is good advice. #mochat10:02 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Setting up a hangout here at the end of #mochat has some fun tips for us today. Come hangout out and tweet me for an invite10:04 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Thanks to everyone for their advice and time tonight. #mochat10:06 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

That’s it for tonight everyone. Look for the transcript tomorrow. #mochat10:07 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

I do, and make them sign it, but to some clients that doesn’t mean Shit #mochat10:07 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

Join us next week for a #mochat on title design. Thanks for coming out everyone. And as always, #GoMakeSomething10:07 PM ET Nov 27th, 2012

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