Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Freelancers forming "hives"

Freelancing is giving me hives--but according to the WSJ, Feb 3, 2014, freelancers are banding together in sort of working "hives"--say an insurance broker and a financial adviser.

Or a web writer, web designers, and a tech person or two.

They share a name, letterhead, offices, but are separate contractors. Kind of one-stop shopping.

The WSJ contends this is because companies are tired of managing a bunch of 1099 employees.

The parts of the hive--worker bees?--can also take outside projects.

First, you must decide which skills are most closely related to yours. Also keep your ears open at the employer companies--who left and could be replaced with the hive, for instance.

If you don't know a potential hive member--arrange a trial run.

Have a single back office where clients can bill. Decide who pitches. How will the money be allotted? Each member of the hive must know what percentage of effort he or she will contribute.

You should also decide what percentage of time each person can devote. And how much that person will give to private projects.

I would advise putting this in writing. I once banded with a guy and he put our arrangement in writing--and it said I was "married" to the client until every "i" was dotted. I said--two reasonable rewrites, then additional pay.

I used to work with graphic designers and printing companies--but bill separately. Even that was problematical at times. Go into this with your eyes open.

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