Though the second edition of Going Solo – a conference for freelancers, planned for September – was cancelled, organizer Stephanie Booth pressed ahead and hosted a BarCamp-style unconference, SoloCamp.
Though I was only able to attend the opening sessions with around twenty participants, the initial session to shape the day’s agenda revealed some useful and interesting topic areas for freelancers and indie workers.
Participants collectively decided to divide the day into four one-hour sessions, each moderated by a volunteer and intended to draw out the room’s collective knowledge and experience in each area. This generally resulted in sprawling mind-maps, that helped both to drive and document the discussions…
Finance – everything from defining your market, creating statements-of-work, intellectual property, sales, rates and risk. Curiously, the moderator as a rule gives away 80% of his output, depending on the remainder for financial viability.
Confidence – finding your voice, self-esteem, understanding the relationship between permission and authority for freelancers as well as mentoring those less experienced, to deepen you own value.
Growth – moving from a ‘solo’ freelancing lifestyle business to a fulltime work pattern, perhaps with subcontractors, virtual assistants, accountants and book keeper, joining professional networks, being an active contributor in social networks such as LinkedIn as well as working in collectives with other freelancers.
Clients – getting more out of existing business contacts, developing long term relationships and using case studies to sell your skills.
Participants also collectively noted their recommendations for software and tools on a publicly accessible wiki, available here; though Web Worker Daily readers may be familiar with most of them, it’s worth seeing if there are any applications or methods that may have been previously overlooked.
Finally, participants collated their reflections on the day’s discussion, notably…
- Personal branding does matter.
- Set short, medium and long-term marketing goals.
- Don’t sell yourself cheap.
- Have jobs agreed in writing before you start.
- Don’t price per hour, price according to the value to the client.
- Look to work from coworking spaces.
All in all, a handful of people seemed to have crafted an interesting and useful series of discussions. Find out more at the official wiki.