Wed, 25 January 2012
When it comes to taxes, are you deducting everything you can?
Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter at Writes4Food. We’ve been following Bryn’s journey, and recently, we talked about taxes.
In the first meeting with her accountant, Bryn had a big surprise:
She had a percentage in mind for Uncle Sam, but says,
“It was significantly higher than I expected… I knew that I needed to account for self-employment tax and social security; what I didn’t realize is that, as an independent contractor … I need to pay my income tax quarterly… When I was employed by someone else, it was sort of off my radar…”
Having to pay a much bigger percentage than she expected was a “rude awakening” for Bryn. Fortunately, she had built up a financial cushion before becoming self-employed. This cushion was a huge relief.
Now, Bryn has a different mindset. Going forward:
She realizes that she can expense a lot more than she thought. All of a sudden, knife sharpening, food for recipe development, and props become expenses.
Every time a paycheck comes in, half goes into a tax account (just to be safe).
Bryn is now very careful about keeping receipts and updating her spreadsheet on “Finance Friday.” This way, when she files next, her estimate will be more manageable and realistic.
Listen to this 10-minute interview here.
Have you experienced any tax surprises?
For guidance when it comes to taxes, we adore June Walker, tax advisor for the self-employed. Read her guest posts on the Creative Freelancer Blog and check out her books, Self-employed Tax Solutions + Five Easy Steps, and her free resources.
Wed, 18 January 2012
Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter at Writes4Food.com. I’ve been checking-in with Bryn for the past 8 months (since she went freelance) to follow her journey, and last week, we did our first calls of 2012.
How did she do? Overall, 2011 “exceeded” her expectations. Bryn was pleased with the income she earned and the work she did.
January is slow.
Bryn says she “checked out” in December. She put off doing things like following up on completed projects, “slacked off” on networking and contacting, and now, she’s “paying the price.”
What’s her plan of attack? She says, “I’m starting from scratch, a little bit.”
Bryn has identified the kind of projects that really appeal to her, and in 2012 is going to actively pursue that kind of work. She spent the last week on LinkedIn building a list of prospects. Then, she’s seeing who in her network can make an introduction.
What she’s learning about the marketing process:
Like most freelancers, I’m not really good at it. Early in this freelance career… some things were landing in my lap… I was doing some networking and yielding some good projects. But I wasn’t doing as much of that as I need to be. I got busy. I kept thinking, I need to allocate some time to think about who my ideal prospects are and get that planning going, and I didn’t. So, that’s what I’m doing now.
In this 11-minute interview, I suggested for Bryn a three tool combination to turn these prospects into clients:
1. Use LinkedIn to connect.
2. Use email to follow up.
3. Use the phone to make it real.
Bryn is going to do this—and we’re going to talk to her next month to see how she did.
How long does it take to take to turn cold (or warm) prospects that you find on LinkedIn, and turn them into actual clients?
Stay tuned to find out…
Fri, 13 January 2012
Recently I interviewed Scott Hull (www.scotthull.com), an agent for illustrators who, when you ask what he does, says he, “links creativity to the corporate world.”
We talked a lot about how illustration has changed and who the new “art buyers” are. He shared some interesting information for creatives and illustrators—especially when it comes to selling themselves to art buyers and agencies.
Scott believes that we’ve fallen short in marketing creative services and that what the new art buyers care about is: What value are you going to bring to me? How are you going to make my life easier?
So how can a creative sell themselves?
An illustrator can talk about the value they bring and the potential return on investment over stock illustration or photography.
He also suggests emphasizing turnaround time.”The illustrator has the training and sense to convert concepts into a visual translation in 3-4 weeks. This is probably one of the biggest sales tools I have found.”
In this interview, Scott also shares his thoughts on:
Students coming out of art school, what should they do?
Can an illustrator directly approach an art buyer?
Can an illustrator learn enough about ROI to persuade corporate decision-makers?
Listen to this 14-minute interview on the Marketing Mentor podcast.