Echoes through time: no more actions or adventures in the world

you say, science itself will teach man (though to my mind it’s a superfluous luxury) that he never has really had any caprice or will of his own, and that he himself is something of the nature of a piano-key or the stop of an organ, and that there are, besides, things called the laws of nature; so that everything he does is not done by his willing it, but is done of itself, by the laws of nature. Consequently we have only to discover these laws of nature, and man will no longer have to answer for his actions and life will become exceedingly easy for him. All human actions will then, of course, be tabulated according to these laws, mathematically, like tables of logarithms up to 108,000, and entered in an index; or, better still, there would be published certain edifying works of the nature of encyclopaedic lexicons, in which everything will be so clearly calculated and explained that there will be no more actions or adventures in the world.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (Niccolo Machiavelli (1821 – 1881) , Notes from the Underworld, Part 1, chap. 6

What does a freelancer look like? Survey from @FlexJobs

FlexJobs has surveyed 1,000 (US) freelancers and found, yet again, that these are not desperate and abused individuals forced into abusive contracts by uncaring, capitalist overlords.

In fact, as TechRepublic summarises:

the average full-time freelance worker is a female Gen Xer working in the writing, marketing, editing, or creative career fields. This person works primarily for small companies and individuals, and juggles two to three jobs at a time, the report found. The average worker freelances by choice, and has been doing so for at least three years, and envisions continuing this type of career for the long-term, though they have worked at traditional companies in the past.

Among the more interesting findings:

  • 92% of freelancers said the freelance lifestyle is either extremely (55%) or somewhat (37%) important to them
  • 70% said that work-life balance was a top factor in deciding to freelance, followed by “Desire to chose when I work” (62%) and freedom (56%)
  • 84% said the biggest benefit was a flexible schedule
  • 65% held either bachelor’s or graduate degrees
  • The most popular ways of finding new clients (the biggest challenge cited by 69%) were through networking (63%) and job sites (47%)

As regards quality of life:

  • 63% said freelancing had a “positive impact.”
  • 60% said freelancing has helped them become healthier
  • 66% said they are less stressed as a freelancer.

Interestingly though, “asked if freelancing is their primary source of income, 43% said yes, while 58% said no”. That chimes with a recent report from  JP Morgan Chase (The Online Platform Economy in 2018) that found most participants in the online platform economy are active for just a few months in the year. My own view of the Chase report though, is that both the nature of the research and of the use of platforms skews the finding towards part-time rather than full-time freelancers.

Interesting reading though.

The TechRepublic article is here.

FlexJob’s press release is here.

And, the main FlexJob’s report is here.

 

Photo by Jane Palash on Unsplash

Freelancer? Are you ready for the coming storm?

A recession, or at least a significant downturn, is inevitable. No-one knows when or what the cause will be, but recessions are a part of the economic cycle. Will you be ready?

It comes with the deal. If you are a sovereign professional, your sovereignty requires that you make provision for whatever fate my fling at you. That can be tough to hear if you haven’t even got the hang of saving cash for your tax bill.

Here’s a great article from Forbes, by Jon Younger: Freelancers, Get Ready For The Coming Recession.

Have a read. It’s not all about money. It’s about being ready.

 

Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

 

Tax-man rapped for aggressive approach to freelancers

Levies for allegedly unpaid taxes, no supporting calculations and no right of appeal. The House of Lords finds that HMRC has been acting aggressively and disproportionately to freelancers it suspects of having avoided tax.

From David Byers in The Times:

The economic affairs committee in the House of Lords this week said that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was overusing “disproportionate” powers that allow it to demand swift payments of unpaid tax from those it suspects of tax avoidance. Those suspected have no right to appeal to a tribunal.

Members said that accelerated payment notices (APNs) and follower notices were being aimed unfairly at lower and middle-income freelancers such as IT workers and NHS nurses, rather than the promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the committee, said the balance of power had “tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer should expect”.

Two pieces in The Times, here and here.

The report from the House of Lords committee, here.

 

Image via Pixabay.

Don’t charge by the day … or, worse, per word

About a year ago, I had a long discussion with a prospective client about this. The simple fact is that charging by the day, or per word, creates an immediate conflict of interest: the client is motivated to go short while you are motivated to go long.

I was reminded of this by a marketing mail from John Niland’s VCO Global:

Charging for time is easy. It’s familiar in many sectors: from the oldest profession to the newest. However, there are three problems with hour/day rates:

1: While on the surface, a day-rate is easy to agree with your client, it creates a fundamental conflict of interestin most relationships. Your client wants the fewest days possible: you often need more time to do a quality job. Furthermore, the client is likely to involve you later rather than earlier, in order to save cost…

The webinar being promoted looks interesting.

 

Image: Photo by Aron on Unsplash

Something for the weekend – Jordan Peterson

These are really good: two (different) lectures by Jordan Peterson in Iceland. As I recall, the second lecture starts with some background on how he came to write 12 Rules for Life.

The book made its way to the top of the Must-Read pile and I’m currently half-way through. Exceptionally lucid.

And, as Stoic Week nears its end, I see a lot of commonality between Peterson’s responsibility-over-rights perspective and the Stoic perspective.

Set aside a few (well, five) hours to feed the mind…