Practical Resources for Self-Employed Professionals

At last, the self-employed worker goes mainstream. It’s too soon to look fondly at the recession and give it credit for accelerating the process, but give it time. Until then, let go of the resentment and put your skills to work.

The freelance life is exhilarating, thrilling, and stimulating.  It can also be frustrating, maddening, lonely, and shocking (at tax time). If self-employment is new to you, take a deep breath and shore up your resources (in this case, information and people).   Here are some practical websites for starters:

Getting Started and Staying Viable

  • Hourly Rate Calculator — this hourly rate calculator helps you arrive at a sensible hourly rate based on your costs, number of billable hours and desired profit. It is a simple and time-saving way to look at what you should charge. (NEW)
  • Business.gov — Specifically geared toward self-employed citizens, this U.S. government site provides critical information if you’re contemplating self-employed status or already headed down that path.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) — Free, online courses (each are 30 minutes or less) cover every stage of conceiving, launching and managing your(self and) business.
  • National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) –Admittedly, this one is new to me, but it’s been thriving since 1981. NASE wants to be the go-to source  for micro-businesses and the self-employed.
  • WebWorkerDaily — The knowledge worker’s happy place. Tips, trends and advise on how to be more efficient, productive and successful.  Everything from how to find freelance clients, build your brand, maintain  work/life balance to dealing with isolation.
  • Brazen Careerist — You’ve got to think young to stay young! This Gen Y-powered social site transcends the notion that a paycheck, or a corner office, or a fancy title, will ever lead to a passionate life.
  • Women Entrepreneur — From the folks at Entrepreneur Magazine, a female-centric ezine. More down-to-business content than Pink.
  • Guerrilla Freelancing — The website dedicated to helping every freelancer still in the trenches, working as hard as they can to build up a solid freelance business. (NEW)
  • Freelance Radio Podcasts — Tune in for tips, tricks and news about freelancing. Downloadable through iTunes, FreelanceRadio won the People’s Choice for Best Blog Podcast of 2007. (NEW)

Managing Yourself and The Business

Copyright and Trademarks

  • Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) — Thought of a snazzy new business or product name but wondering if it sounds just a little too familiar? Start here to see if someone already staked his claim and owns the legal rights.
  • Creative Commons — One of the most promising (and productive) ideas to come along. This is a must-see site to learn how to share and build upon the work of others while honoring the rules of copyright.

Writing, Design, and Communication

  • Graphic Leftovers — A marketplace for designers, illustrators and other creative souls to sell their “leftover” artwork on the web (so that folks like you and me can buy it on the cheap).
  • Language is a Virus — Widgets (and more) to cure writer’s block!
  • The Writing Lab — Over 200 free (online) writing resources, from Purdue University
  • Ragan.com — Never fancied yourself a communicator? I assume that since you’re self-employed, you’ve since realized you ARE the mouthpiece of your company.  This website will keep you just close enough to the cutting edge of communication strategy and tactics.

Promotion

  • Blog Talk Radio — Check this out, if only to tune in and learn! This is a social radio network that enables anyone to create free, call-in talk shows using an ordinary telephone and computer. Cooler yet: each show is automatically archived and made available as podcasts.

And now for some articles:

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