About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

Twitter @bissell

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Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but its bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

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Some Thoughts On Freelancing
2013-03-20 19:58:27

It is interesting to look at the two ends of the spectrum of what constitutes "freelance" professionals and everything in between. At the youthful end of the spectrum, we see the Digital Natives (Millennials, GenY). This generation wants flexibility, to run their own show, to get paid well for their talents. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, I think it's fantastic to see young professionals plying their chosen professions and making an honest living at it.

At the other end of the spectrum, you will find the Boomers and older GenX'ers, and many of them have "put out their shingles" out of necessity. In a recession, many companies have been loath to hire older professionals with decades of experience. There are still very few industries and companies that provide "exit strategies" for aging professional populations. There does come a point in a professional's life when they are ready to start winding down, and unfortunately it isn't always easy to do so without looking like you are "giving up." More mature workers still have bills to pay, children in college, and retirement savings to contribute to.

There is also a band in the middle, those professionals that have chosen to be freelance professionals for a variety of reasons, many of them having to do with work-life balance. I know several professionals (especially women) in their mid-thirties to early forties that decided to go the freelance route to devote time to their young families. Often these professionals have a spouse or partner that can provide benefits, a steady paycheck, and some stability.

Some professions will always be "freelance"; authors, artists, and solo musicians often are freelance professionals by default. Real estate agents, many bookkeepers, accountants, massage therapists, hair stylists are almost all are considered "freelance" if they aren't employed by corporations. There are advantages and disadvantages to the freelance lifestyle. I was recently looking for a part-time graphic designer to work onsite 20 hours a week. It's a great opportunity for someone that has a solo business but also wants to have some stability and get a steady paycheck. I will say that almost every professional that we brought back for a second interview was someone that was excited about collaborating with a team, being in an atmosphere where there is an energy to the work space. The person we just made an offer to was *genuinely excited* about the opportunity, in contrast to the other five people we considered. One of the biggest drawbacks for many solo practitioners is the isolation of not having regular contact with colleagues.

I have interviewed a lot of freelance or small business consultants over the last few years. One of my close friends finally had to close up shop after over ten years because of the overhead cost, and an offer to work for a company managing their on-site consulting at a Fortune 100 company. He was sad at losing his autonomy, the office he had gone to every day, and there was a sense of failure. On the flip side, he didn't have to worry about trying to sell his services, he now gets to concentrate on what he is good at, has full health benefits, he gets a regular paycheck and doesn't stress about paying the bills. It was a positive tradeoff for him.

Most people starting out forget that a major part of your efforts are going to be related to *running a business* and *developing your client base* (read: sales and marketing). Make sure you understand the costs you are going to incur as you figure out your fee scale. Know the tax laws for your city/county/state, and hire yourself a good accountant. Get your business license before you do *anything else*. (Check your state's website under "licensing" for information on filing a business license.) Keep your personal and professional monies separate. Pay yourself only out of the profits from your business after you satisfy the costs you have (things like taxes, supplies, electricity, your health care and 401k contributions, your internet connection/website hosting fees, cell phone bill, etc.) Just remember, if you are setting out on your own, your business is with you 24x7, and no one else will do it for you. Get EVERYTHING in writing; bids, contracts, invoices. In this day and age, you are only as good as your business practices. The money you make is built on your own sales efforts and expertise at whatever you do professionally. Keep your reputation clean, and if a client doesn't treat you professionally, remember that you can pull out of the relationship at any time.

I found this great calculator a few years ago which is very helpful for budgeting .

If you don't know what you should be making as a salaried employee, check out either salary.com or payscale.com by zip code.

Being independent is great for some people, and not so much for others. Only you can make that determination and make a go of it in the business world.

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