Dan Biewener writes on the Fundbox blog:
If you are self-employed — as a sole proprietor or independent contractor with no employees — you may still be able to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan until August 8, 2020. Don’t let the “paycheck” in the name fool you into thinking you wouldn’t qualify for this forgivable loan. In fact, since you don’t have staff headcount, payroll, and benefits to calculate, your application process (for the loan and later for forgiveness) should be much simpler.
In essence, even as a sole proprietor, the PPP loan can provide you with funds equivalent to 2.5 months of net earnings you would have made — if it weren’t for the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic — based on a comparative period from 2019 (or the first 2.5 months of 2020 if your business began this year).
You can also use a portion of this loan to cover some operational expenses for your business (like business-related rent, utilities, or interest payments on a mortgage or other business loans). However, if you want to qualify for loan forgiveness, these operational expenses can only account for up to 40% of your total loan amount.Self-Employed? Here’s How You Can Apply for a PPP Loan Too. | Fundbox Blog
Going through the detailed list in the post, it actually doesn’t look terribly painful to apply for. And worst case: it’s a cheap (1%) five year or ten year term loan (if you end up not qualifying for 100% forgiveness). Well, actually worst case is that you really need it and don’t get approved, but the point remains …
I haven’t done this, so I can’t give a firsthand perspective. I suspect a few folks, however, may find this information useful. There’s no shame in applying if you need it. And if you need it you need it.
Corinne McKay writes on her blog about freelancers that are concerned they’re “too old”:
Does your brain still work?“I’m too old for this”: valid concern, or not? – Training for Translators
I love how simply Corinne responds to this question.
Merilee Kern interviewed David Fields for Innovation Enterprise. It’s filled with lots of nice tidbits like this:
Fields contends that most consultants—particularly boutique firms—who don’t have enough clients believe they have a visibility problem; i.e., not enough prospects know about them. In fact, most of those consultants have an impact problem. They’re in front of enough prospects, but those prospects don’t care about what the consultant is offering. In contrast, successful consultants know how to ‘fish where the fish are,’ which means they focus their firms on issues clients are aware of and urgently want to solve. Amazingly, many consultants offer solutions the consultants think are important, without ever checking the market need.What Few Consultants Deliver That Every Client Wants | Articles | Strategy | Innovation Enterprise
Tom Hirst writes:
Pricing freelancing projects is tough. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Everything I’ve learned. A thread.Pricing Freelance Projects | Tom Hirst
Tom started a quality Twitter thread about his experience pricing projects as a freelancer a couple weeks back. He has since posted it in article form on his blog.
Blair Enns writes on the Win Without Pitching blog:
Many agencies like to boast on their websites and in their pitch decks that they “partner” with their clients. It’s bullshit of course. What they mean is they aspire to have their clients treat them like partners instead of vendors. I get it. It’s good to have a goal. But putting it on the website doesn’t make it true.
As an industry, we need to let go of this need to claim partnership with our clients and embrace the fact that some of these relationships are purely transactional. At the same time, however, we should keep an eye open for those wonderful but rare opportunities for true partnership. You Don’t Really Partner With Your Clients | Win Without Pitching
Also his observation about client mix is worth mulling over:
A Normal Distribution of Client Types
In a healthy client roster you will have a mix of client types. On the left-hand tail you will have a small number of transactional price-buyers to whom you are effectively selling excess capacity, and once-good clients on their way out.
In the middle you will find the bulk of your clients, made mostly of value buyers who, though they might be price sensitive, understand they need to invest in your services to generate value in the marketplace.
And out on the right-hand tail you might possibly have a coveted partner. Maybe even three.
Once you get the hang of this performance pay thing, you may decide to be more selective about your clients with the goal of one day having all of your clients be partners. But that’s a path few firms will choose and fewer still will be able to master. Most will choose instead to spread the risk across many engagement types with the bulk of their engagements being in the low risk, low reward category.
David C. Baker writes on his blog:
The only reason to track time is to create a feedback loop that allows you to do a better job estimating the next time around. And when you’re pretty good at that, you drop timekeeping altogether and step up to value pricing. By the way, this gets easier if your client relationships slowly begin to look more and more alike as your positioning creeps into your service offerings.Putting a Final Nail in the Timekeeping Coffin — David C. Baker
Good insights here, particularly for folks straddling the (supposed) fence between hourly billing and fixed/ value-based fees. It’s not as simple as just throwing out hourly billing or time tracking. It’s more nuanced than that (particularly at first).
This is a powerful essay from former consultant and long-time entrepreneur Justin Couto. I think any entrepreneur can well relate to it. He writes:
No one starts a business to have it fail, but unfortunately, that is what happens all too often. I know I certainly had many close calls with business failure while running my former companies, and the weight of those seemingly inevitable failures baring down on you is crushing. It can be kryptonite to the point that your paralyzed and utterly ineffective at finding a way out.SoCreate – Bootstrapping Ain’t Easy: You Can Only Win if You Keep on Pushing
Anyone who has ever tried to create/ build something meaningful – whether a business, a non-profit, a movement or piece of art – can relate to the things shared in this essay. Inherently a lot of tears, frustration, second-guessing, uncertainty, setbacks, and personal growth are behind just about every step – or leap – forward.
Tsavo Neal wrote up a handy overview on his blog of one David Fields’ consulting business books:
Who doesn’t want to run a more profitable and enjoyable consulting business? To do this, you need to learn from consultants who have done it themselves and can teach you how.
That said, many non-fiction business books are stiff. A lot of books on consulting are downright boring. The knowledge you gain makes up for it, but they can be a drag to get through.
With The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, consultant David Fields has written a concise, actionable, and enjoyable book on building the consulting business of your dreams.7 Things I Learned From The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide To Winning Clients by David Fields – Tsavo Neal
Jamie Syke, independent designer, writes on his blog:
Trust is the main ingredient in any successful relationship, and client projects are no different. Without that element of trust, everything else will be more challenging and negative things like micromanagement can creep in. That trust comes from a solid foundation and building a good back-and-forth during the early stages of planning out the project.What Makes a Productive Designer and Client Relationship?