How do I incorporate or formally start my business?
There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because it will depend largely upon your business model, the number of partners or stakeholders, and whether you intend to offer equity in your company in the form of shares.
Check with a certified public accountant (CPA) or an attorney who specializes in small business legal issues for the most qualified advice.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has put together some information on this subject here: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/establishing-business/incorporating-registering-you-0 and you can also refer to the Inc./SCORE guide for more information.
How do I start freelancing or job searching without putting my current job at risk?
If you work for a company that has an explicit policy about “moonlighting” or working outside of your full time employment, then you will need to make a decision about whether the risk is worthwhile. Many companies do allow their employees to freelance or work on the side, provided that the work they are doing is not going to compete with their current employer, and that the employer’s intellectual property or resources are not going to be used or compromised in any way.
As for conducting a job search or freelancing business on the side, some people will use a pseudonym or working name (for example, their first name and middle name instead of their first and last name) to bid on work or freelance projects. On career sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder and even LinkedIn, it is possible to change the privacy settings so that your job search is completely anonymous, but there is always a risk that your credentials will be apparent to a current employer.
How do I apply for and obtain freelancing employment assignments online?
There are a number of sites available that make it possible for today’s workers to connect to projects anywhere in the world. Here are ten sites that you can start with, and you will be able to create an online profile on each of them to begin accessing projects and work opportunities:
- Guru – Guru.com
- Staff – Staff.com
- oDesk – oDesk.com
- Elance – Elance.com
- People Per Hour – peopleperhour.com
- Freelance Switch – freelanceswitch.com
- All Freelance Work – AllFreelanceWork.com
- Sologig – sologig.com
- Aquent – aquent.us
- Hire My Mom – HireMyMom.com
How will the success of Talent Hub and its participants be measured?
The ultimate measures of this program’s success is based on feedback from the participants who are able to use the training and resources to access projects and paid work opportunities and provide viable alternatives to unemployment or marginal employment in today’s job market.
The key performance indicators that we are currently tracking include:
- Projects identified online with a match to Talent Hub participant skills
- Local employer survey for matching freelance opportunities
- Participant expectations survey feedback
Will there be additional classes offered in the region?
This pilot program includes four weeks of classroom and self-directed learning, followed by two months of additional follow-up, resources, networking and support through Talent Hub. In Fall 2012, the Workforce Connection team will evaluate the outcomes of the pilot and the availability of funds to hold another Talent Hub training series, either in late Fall 2012 or Winter 2013. Details and updates will be made available on YourTalentHub.com and on the Workforce Connection website, www.clmworkforce.com.
Will any additional classroom training be made available?
For current Talent Hub participants, the best bet is to complete the application for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) eligibility here: http://www.clmworkforce.com/career_Specialty_Programs_WIA.asp
This step opens up additional training, certification and classroom opportunities based on your situation, and will put you in touch with a Workforce Connection career counselor or specialist who is able to guide you through your options.
What is the most important thing to put into place when starting a new project?
Before beginning on a client project, you should check to ensure that you have accurately understood the client’s expectations, including what the finished project should consist of, what the timeline is for completion, what the budget is, and how you and the client will communicate throughout the process. This is why Basecamp (http://basecamp.com) can be such a useful tool, because it provide both you and the client (as well as other stakeholders) with one place to check on the status and to exchange information and keep everyone updated.
How much money is needed to start up a freelancing business?
There is not a set amount of money, but there are plenty of examples of businesses that have started up on a budget of around $100.00 – and in many cases, you can start a business for even less if you put off the formalities of incorporating, buying equipment, printing stationery and business cards, etc.
Check out The $100 Startup (http://www.amazon.com/The-100-Startup-Reinvent-Living/dp/0307951529) for some good ideas on how to bootstrap your business and get started for a low capital investment. But make sure that you do have some reserves available to cover bills and expenses while you are getting started, and if you have a family you need to get them on board and manage everyone’s expectations.
How do I get money for my business if I have limited means or I am unemployed?
Before trying to launch a capital-intensive business, be sure to test your business concept to see if it makes sense and if there is actually a viable market for what you would like to offer. Use the Inc./SCORE guide to assist in this effort, and work out a realistic plan for your startup before you invest more than a basic amount – no more than $500 to start. Check out The $100 Startup (see FAQ above) for some information on this subject.
Depending on the idea that you have, you may be able to get what is called “crowd-funding” which will give you the ability to draw upon a large group of people investing small amounts, through sites such as Kickstarter.com and others: (http://plantostart.com/10-crowdfunding-websites-entrepreneurs)
How do I know if I have a marketable skill that can really generate an income for me and my family?
First thing to do is stop thinking about your previous job descriptions, and think instead about the results that you were able to
This is a helpful guide to assessing your starting point as a prospective freelancer or small business owner:
ASSESSING YOUR SKILLS by Rachel Goldstein
owner of Allfreelancework.com – 1000s of freelance jobs
Now that you have tested yourself with the self-evaluation test in the previous article, you should have a high level of self-awareness. Did you choose yes for self-confidence? I hope that you did, because you are going to need it as a freelancer. You see, as a freelancer you must demonstrate an expertise in your field. You will need to demonstrate self-confidence of your abilities in order to land a gig.
In order to realize what all of your skills and talents are, you will need to evaluate yourself once again. I bet I know what you are thinking . “Again?” Even if you have been working for years, there are probably many skills that you don’t even recognize that you have. One-way to find out what all of your skills are is to list you’re past achievements. Think back on school, activities, work, and other similar environments. How did you get out of sticky situations at work? How did you raise your company’s profit levels? How did you make sales? Even little achievements count here. Don’t feel bad if you cannot remember anything, just keep trying. Don’t skip this important step; this is how you are going to find out what your central theme of your freelancing business is going to be.
On the left side of the above chart you will need to list your achievements. Write down what the problems and solutions were. On the right side of the chart you should translate your achievements into skills that you hone. Take a look at the below example.
|Problem: Need to Increase Sales
Solution : Give away a freebie
|Problem: Employees in company kept to themselves
Solution: Organized a birthday pool…everyone picked name out of hat and had to bring in cake for birthday person for small parties.
Human Relations Skills
|Problem: Department was always behind deadline
Solution: Set smaller inner-department deadlines
The Problem: You need to increase sales
The Solution: Give away a freebie to entice customers.
Skills: Your skills in this situation are promotional and marketing skills. In addition, you are very innovative.
The Problem: People in your office don’t communicate or acknowledge each other
The Solution: Organization of a birthday poll. When it was time for someone’s birthday, everyone congregated for cake and drinks.
Skills: Your skills in this situation are organizational skills, human relations skills, and creativity.
The Problem: Department always misses deadlines.
The Solution: Set smaller inner-departmental deadlines in order to meet bigger deadlines.
Skills: Good planning skills and creativity.
If these were all of your skills, I would tell you that you would be a great event planner. Organizing and planning seem to be your strongest skills, and along with your marketing and creative thinking skills, promotion of your company will come easily for you.
Go thru your achievements, and break them down into solid skills. Write all of your skills down on the provided chart. But, wait you aren’t done here. If you have any talents, (special abilities that you are born with) write them down on the provided chart. Some examples of talent are illustration, writing,design, etc. If you cannot think of any talents that you have, ask people that you are close to if they know of any talents that you might have. Sometime individuals are unaware of their talents. If you aren’t sure ask.
After reviewing all of your talents and skills..Brainstorm. What would be a good field for you to be in? If you already have a field, for example: graphic design, pick a specialty for yourself, for example: promotional design.
If the choice for your freelance business is still not clear, take the following steps:
- Look around for services that are right for you. Try looking in the Yellow Pages.
- Go to the small business aisle in your local bookstore and do some research.
- Examine your hobbies and interests; are any of these good for a home business?
- Subscribe to the following magazine (Inc.). These magazines have great information for a home business owner, and they have great ideas for new startups.
- Is your current job something that you could do from home?
- Check the business section of your local newspaper for business opportunities
- List of Freelance Home Business Ideas
What you have done today is summarize what you can offer as a consultant. Keep this list; you will need this later when creating your promotional items for your business.
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http://creativeportfolios.allfreelancework.com – 1000s of freelance jobs, articles, and resources.