Tag: Sovereign Individual

Uncertainty – the freelance / gig economy destiny

Are freelancers and independents preparing for the future?

You just can’t trust the future. That’s certainly been clear over the last couple of years. We seem to be contemplating the previously unthinkable, every day.

An accidental No Deal Brexit in the UK? A prolonged government shutdown in the US? Those things could be hard on a freelancer, contractor or other independents.

Traditional employment offers an illusion. Maybe that’s part of the deal: the regular pay cheque implies continuity, that the future is someone else’s concern. But, if you work for yourself, the future comes into sharper focus. Self-employment requires a more active engagement with tomorrow.

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Gig economy, portfolio career or side hustle?

The BBC reports on research from Henley Business School:

The 28-year-old is part of a generation of “side hustlers” – entrepreneurial young people who work on their own projects alongside their main source of income.

Running a second business or sideline is becoming increasingly common.

One in four workers run at least one side hustle business, Henley Business School estimates, half of which were started in the past two years.

Those aged 25 to 34 are most likely to be involved, with 37% thought to run a sideline of some kind.

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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 (1821 – 1881) , Notes from Underground, 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.

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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.

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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…

 

Seth on Trust

Seth Godin on trust … and how easily it’s lost.

 I’ve wasted many hours over the last few months trying to work my way through some significant bugs (workflow and data loss) with them, and each of the many customer service people I’ve worked with have pushed me to do more testing, and they’ve clearly stated that my problem is unique. This ‘bluff, stall and get used to it’ strategy is the sort of thing one might expect from a traveling salesman. Yesterday they finally let me know that in fact it’s a known issue, that it affects many people with hardware and software like mine, and I’m stuck with it. I can’t easily rip it out, and I can’t happily work with it either.

Interestingly, I recently had a similar issue with Sonos. They were, admittedly, a little slow to respond, but worked hard to resolve my issue (album tracks losing their correct order and appearing alphabetically under each album). And, as a result, they’ve retained trust and an advocate.

 

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash