Archive for June, 2012

Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at

Affiliate tax nexus laws causing freelancer headaches

Categories: My boss is an idiot, Now I'm free(lancing)

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One of the questions I get asked a lot is about diversifying—how, as a freelancer writer, can you fill your days and your workload with enough different kinds of gigs to make sure that a downturn in one area doesn’t wipe out your entire client base?

Part of this is achieved through my favorite balancing act, fun vs. profit. There are jobs that don’t pay particularly well but I really enjoy, and then there are jobs that pay gobs of money but are boring. (Most jobs fall somewhere in the middle, but I confess to always having a few gigs out on the edges, there.) Balance is the key, obviously. And of course I thought I was extra-brilliant when I started my bargain shopping website because it’s a subject about which I’m passionate, but represented my entry into a new earning model: Affiliate revenue.

Most of the links to items I post on Want Not are affiliate links, meaning that they are tracked and I get a commission on purchases made through them. Voila, instant revenue stream! Of course, as online shopping has increased in popularity, so has the government’s desire to make sure they get their cut. And that’s how affiliate tax nexus laws began.
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Does your business have an emergency plan?

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Head hitting brick wall, My boss is an idiot


I am practically the neurotic poster child for being ready for anything when it comes to freelancing. I’ve been writing here for years about all of the things you need to take into consideration before going into business for yourself—everything from handling your taxes to having redundant computer backups to making sure your work is diversified enough that one client or one particular area of expertise can’t take your business down if there’s an economic downturn.

I dropped out of Girl Scouts, but that doesn’t mean I ever stopped loving Being Prepared. The truth is that I am given to anxiety, and knowing what to expect—or that you’re in a position to weather even the unexpected—is the best offense against that anxiety.

And it’s true that I have come through several disaster-level (smallish, but still) setbacks as I’ve plodded down this path, learning as I go. I’ve had the catastrophic hard drive failure without appropriate backups in place. I’ve had the IRS slap my knuckles before I turned over my finances to an accountant. I kept going even when layoffs were happening all around me (and sometimes even to me).

Today I want to tell you about two things emergency-prep things; one, I did just right. The other, I got all wrong.
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The case of the unpaid invoice

Categories: Head hitting brick wall, Now I'm free(lancing)


We’ve all heard the horror stories about clients who don’t pay, of course. I’ve shaken my head more times than I count, as fellow freelancers recount for me how this client or that one owes them thousands of dollars for completed work.

I have a confession to make: I’ve always felt… well, a little smug listening to those stories. I’m not saying it’s ever okay for a client not to pay up as directed by their contractual obligation, you understand, but in listening to more than one story I thought to myself, “How on earth did she continue working for them without getting paid? Why didn’t she just say, ‘Until payment is current, I need to cease work on this project.’??” Non-payment—I thought—was quite possibly a result of a freelancer who wasn’t professional enough, assertive enough to push for payment in a timely manner.

Naturally that was practically an engraved invitation for karma to come bite me on the ass. I should’ve known better.
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