Silicon Valley's Contract Worker Problem Earlier this year, I hired a house cleaner. I wouldn't have done so normally, but my place was a mess, I was busy at work, and I saw an offer on Facebook that looked too good to be true — a San Francisco start-up called Homejoy was offering home cleanings in the Bay Area for $19. (Not $19 per room or $19 per hour. Just $19.) So I booked an appointment through Homejoy's website, and a day later, a young man showed up at my door. [more inside]
"Pastry work takes a level of skill, precision and rigor that I lacked in spades. I could’ve maybe become a decent pastry cook, with months of practice and a patient boss, but I was in no way qualified to be a pastry chef. I gave it my best effort, for three days, until the chef-owner realized her mistake and fired me. The place closed in less than 6 months. I never got paid." Laurie Woolever at The Billfold talks about how she went from Botantical Garden Intern to Anthony Bourdain's assistant.
"I decide I should really read this Updike biography from cover to cover right now if I want this essay to be worth reading." Heather Havrilesky (of the fantastic Ask Polly) on How to Write.
Guilt, gratitude, music photography. Freelance Australian music photographer Leah Robertson writes about being underpaid, and how pervasive it is in the industry. Check out rates from around the world at Who Pays Photographers?
Up and coming? Looking for exposure? Trying to break into a field? You might consider working on spec to get that name recognition, or even... for FREE! But if you are looking for a professional to do something for you, I would strongly recommend you do not ask for it for free. [more inside]
DontGetScrewedOver.com features a video called "What it Feels Like to be a Freelancer." They also provide tips on how not to get screwed over, for freelancers, clients, and subletters alike. The site and video were brainchild of Docracy- aimed at offering free, open-source legal documents that are edited and fine-tuned by the community that uses them. They range from a variety of subjects, from personal [subletting, wills] to business [freelancers, consulting].
Novelist Neil Gaiman tells the graduating 2012 class of the University Of The Arts everything he wishes he knew starting out and all the best advice he failed to follow. (Vimeo 19:55)
Are you a freelancer held hostage by deadbeat clients? Add what you're owed to the world's longest invoice.
F*ck You! Pay Me! Customers not wanting to pay for work done (or pay less than what was originally agreed to) is a common problem that many business owners run into. In this 40 minute video, Mike Monteiro, a web designer, and his lawyer offer advice on how to get clients to pay up. The talk is aimed at freelancers and small firms that provide creative services. Note: There is some swearing in this video. [via Ask Mefi]
Byliner and The Atavist might be heralding a change in how and how much longform article authors are paid.
Are you a designer? Artist? Musician? Web designer? Writer? Freelancer whatever? Then you need to know: Should I Work For Free?
Single Link NYT Post: A Tax-Form For The Marginally Employed.
A female freelance writer assumes a male pseudonym and finds much more work, respect, and pay. She tells the story of her accidental experiment. (via)
Commercial artists have always had it tough, and photographers are no exception. Magazines are folding. Advertising is down. And to make things worse, this week large companies like Omnicom and GM shifted the financial burden to the artist. Some say production insurance, commonly used in film, is the answer. Others recommend fighting the already bad contracts by demanding payment before usage rights are released. Of course, if things go wrong you can always file for bankruptcy.
FreelanceSwitch covers many of the topics freelancers need to know about with their daily articles and tips. They run a freelance job board and have regular podcasts so you can learn a little something while you work or commute. Check out the FreelanceSwitch forums for support and advice from other freelancers, or check out their resources section. [more inside]
15 awful mistakes made by designers in the music and apparel industries - such as not charging enough, ignoring typography, and unprofessional behaviour.
Ink-stained wretches need not apply. "This is probably terribly unfair, but I just never quite trusted a writer whose letterhead described him or her as a "wordsmith," a "scrivener," "écrivain" (with or without the diacritical), or an "ink-stained wretch." Nor was I favorably impressed by printed citations of honors received ("James Beard Award-Winner Biff Bartleby, Scrivener"). And kids, please, no personal logos: Above all, avoid cute drawings of kitty cats at laptops, or manly fists grasping ostrich-plume pens." And other things freelance writers should avoid. (From Mediabistro; registration may be required.)
I'm no Anton Corbijn, but from time to time I snap a damn fine photo. And now you're telling me I can get paid for them? Bitchin.
Detonate.net rants on freelancing with eLance “The problems on eLance can be divided roughly into two groups. Jackoff buyers, and lowball sellers.” All I see are projects to build complete e-commerce sites or full intranets for $1,000. Does anyone have a positive experience using eLance? Is there a better online resource for freelancers to find work?
Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be freelancers Maybe I should get my plumber's license?
The official newspapers of staples.com gets huffy about integrity. Back in 1999 the L.A. Times produced a special section praising the Staples center and sort of forgot to mention that they were splitting the ad revenue with Staples. At the time their management was pretty upfront about tearing down the wall between news and advertistisement. Now they've decided to act like journalists again. However, I'm not so sure that what this guy did was all that unethical. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't.