This month, Smart Meetings launches this monthly career column to offer meeting professionals insight into trends and tips they can apply to their careers. First up, we’re focusing on the freelance arena. Smart Meeting South Central National keynote speaker Olga Mizrahi is an expert in this space. She authored the recently released book, The Gig Is Up: Thrive in the Gig Economy, Where Old Jobs are Obsolete and Freelancing is the Future. Here are a few of her tips.
Go Out to Work
Independent meeting professionals have been known to get cabin fever working exclusively from home. Libraries, coffee shops and co-working spaces have long been providing places to work among others for little to no cost. Spacious, a new startup, has an innovative concept of utilizing dinner-only restaurants in New York City and San Francisco (more cities coming soon) as pop-up co-working spaces during the daytime. Because of all the available tables and seating in a restaurant, it’s conducive for freelance planners to set up shop and hold small meetings with clients and vendors. Monthly, quarterly and annual memberships to Spacious are available, as are daily passes. The service provides complimentary coffee and tea, high-speed Wi-Fi and abundant power outlets.
Work with Benefits
Endorsed by Freelancers Union, Trupo debuted July 31 in Georgia to provide short-term disability benefits to freelancers for the first time. Additional states will follow. Based on level of physical activity your freelancing job requires and annual income, you pay a low monthly fee to Trupo to build a safety net. Should you need to take time off due to injury, serious illness, mental health or a hospital stay, you can rely on this cushion. (Parental leave, accidents resulting from risky behavior and short-term illnesses are not covered.) After sending a note from the doctor to Trupo, receive up to 50 percent of weekly salary for up to 12 weeks.
If your business has taken off and you are a single making more than $157,500 (or a couple making more than $315,000) annually, Paladini Law tax attorney Brad Paladini tells the website, The Freelancer by Contently, that you should consider registering as a C Corp. At the income threshold stated above, you’ll begin to lose a 20 percent qualified business deduction created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. C Corps are now taxed at 21 percent, compared to a previous rate of 35 percent. Paladini also weighs the pros and cons of becoming an LLC. To make the most educated decision for your career, consult with a certified public accountant.
Hire Other Freelancers
Once you develop a reputation as a third-party meeting professional and want to dedicate time to expanding your clientele, outsource some tasks to subcontractors. Employ other planners to help you out. Make sure to provide them with the necessary tools and training, educate them on the vision of your company, share credit and pay them in a timely fashion.
The Power of Networking
Mizrahi predicts that in coming years, freelancers will become more of a presence within professional networking groups and join chambers of commerce. Freelance meeting profs are especially reliant on word of mouth to spread awareness of their planning services. It’s not only positive reviews of past and current clients that get planners new business: It’s their own campaigning and community involvement. Bring business cards and a friendly handshake wherever you go.