Freelancing is one of the most liberating, yet frightening endeavors a working individual can take on. You are responsible for finding and creating your own work opportunities, health care benefits and also most times wear numerous hats when it comes to organizing and running the day-to-day operations. Specifically referred to as an “Independent Contractor,” most freelancers both rely on, and support, a growing community of their own. This includes sharing resources, free and cheap and also giving each other the heads up in regards to new and exciting opportunities that may allow them to continue their quests for success on their own.
As most freelancers have to figure everything out on their own, particularly due to lack of funds available to allocate towards advice, services and resources that cost a pretty penny, here are a couple of business and legal tips to help the fellow rebel worker out:
- Freelancers Have Unions: Organizations such as Freelancers Union were formed to assist freelancers with obtaining and maintaining “the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and independent lives – backed by a system of mutual and public support.” This includes a website freelancersunion.org that houses numerous links to resources that many of those working on their own may utilize in their day to day operations.
- The United States Small Business Association not only exists to point small business owners and freelancers in the right directions when it comes to procuring work, it also provides extensive information regarding how to protect yourself, your assets and your brand. This includes learning about and understanding the registration and filing for both licenses and incorporation in your particular jurisdiction, as well as becoming proficient in how you will be taxed and what to expect from a financial perspective as it relates to costs and expenses.
- Free and Affordable Legal Resources are Available: Volunteer organizations such as Volunteers for the Arts and websites such as NOLO and docracy.com offer free and affordable legal services and agreements. Though nothing can replace the services of a competent attorney, if you find yourself strapped for cash, but you are in need of some legal advice or legal documents to book a gig, these sites may be of assistance.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.