Posts filed under 'Anti 9-to-5 media blitz'

Catch me on Small Business Radio this Wednesday

I’ve caught some flack in the past for not letting people know when I’ll be on the radio or TV. So I’m going to try to be better about that this year, aided by the help of my trusty helper Jackie and a soon-to-be hired (uh, just as soon as I get around to it) social media intern. It’s in this spirit of on-top-of-it-ness that I give you news of the radio interview I’m doing tomorrow…

I’ve been on Small Business Radio a few times and my next interview is tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/4. You can listen here at 8:30 am EST. Or you can listen to the webcast after the fact. Or you can check out a couple of other interviews I did on the show last year.

I love being on this show because (a) host Jim Blasingame is a hoot, (b) Jim opens every show with the Allman Brothers’ “Jessica,” and (c) you never know what’s going to come out of my mouth at 5:30 in the morning Seattle time.

Add comment February 3rd, 2009

Freelancing in a down economy: A BlogTalkRadio interview, Wednesday at 10 am PST

Business networking site Biznik has just launched Biznik Live, a web radio show for indie professionals, and I have the honor of being their first guest. The topic? How the self-employed can ride out the recession without winding up on food stamps. The show airs this Wednesday at 10 am PST. Feel free to call in and ask me a question.

6 comments October 7th, 2008

The cat’s out of the bag

My So-Called Freelance LifeI told myself I wasn’t going to post the cover of my new book on the site until I’d put the sucker to bed. The manuscript’s not even due till next week. But then Kristen Fischer kindly did this infomercial about me Q&A with me on Freelance Switch, which means the 22,000+ people who subscribe to the mother of all freelancing blogs now have the link to my new book (not that I mind). So I thought it was high time I let the cat out of the bag here too. In addition, I’d like to mention five things you probably didn’t know about my new book:

1. It’s called My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire, and it’s due out this fall from Seal Press.

2. I interviewed several of the working class heroes I mentioned yesterday for it.

3. Kate Basart, the fab designer who’s responsible for The Anti 9-to-5 Guide’s good looks, did my new cover too. (Clicking the image at the top of this post will make it bigger, in case you were wondering.) Note the recurring post-it motif! Also, note that those are not my feet, though I do own a pair of pink flip-flops.

4. Just a hunch, but I suspect publishers like to announce their books on Amazon as early as possible so their authors can’t weasel out of their deadlines.

5. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I’m just saying…

23 comments March 24th, 2008

Who are your working class heroes?

I recently did a Q&A with Cat Morley of the UK-based online craft community Cut Out & Keep. Cat asked me who my working class heroes are, and I liked the question so much (it was a first for me!) I thought I’d post my answer here.

I love the same funny writers everyone else does: David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Anne Lamott, Steve Almond… But I’d have to say my real heroes are the freelancers on the rise whose work I’ve come to know and love in the past few years, several of whom I’ve come to know personally: writer Judy McGuire, who’s as snarky and funny as they come; writer/illustrator Ellen Forney, whose performances of her work impress the hell out of me; writer Diane Mapes, whose ongoing news of book deals, newspaper columns, and assignments from enviable publications keeps me reaching for more too; writer/instructor Angela Fountas, who got a couple of kickass grants [last] year and does a tremendous job of giving back to emerging writers; writer/blogger Ariel Meadow Stallings, who’s got the online social media thing down; illustrator Nina Frenkel, who’s one of the most talented and prolific thirty-somethings I’ve ever met; erotica writer/editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, who besides being mind-bogglingly prolific is pretty dang fearless — I mean, if writing erotica isn’t literally putting your ass on the line, I don’t know what is.

I don’t think someone has to be a stranger who’s been pulling in six figures for the last decade to be a hero. The successes all these women have achieved feel accessible and within reach to me, which I find all the more inspiring. It’s not as daunting as comparing yourself to, say, Michael Chabon or J.K. Rowling and thinking, “Will I ever be that brilliant or rich, will I, will I?”

What about you gals/guys? Who are your working class heroes? Your mom? Sis? BFF? Fave blogger/designer/photog/coder/translator? Let’s hear it. And if you want to read the rest of my Q&A with Cat, it’s here.

4 comments March 24th, 2008

Ask the cubicle expat: Help! My editor’s paying my friend more than me!

Rachel Kramer Bussel, writer, editor, and cupcake connoisseur, put this question to me in a recent interview for mediabistro. (Here’s part one of the interview, which came out weeks ago, and here’s part two, which ran this week and focuses solely on freelancing. You may need a subscription to view one or both pages.)

Rachel says: You talk in the book about setting rates and “knowing your bottom line.” I was once offered a rate from a certain magazine, which sounded good to me, and I agreed, only to find that a friend had been offered the same rate, insisted that her usual fee was twice that, and got it on the spot. How early on in your freelance career should you start asking for more money and what’s the best approach to take?

I say: That’s an interesting tale because it sounds like you never would have thought to ask for more had your friend not spilled the beans. I think you should start asking for more money as soon as you find yourself in the position of being offered a rate below what other editors or publications are paying you. Because if publication A is paying you $1/word and publication B is paying you $.50/ word, you lose 50 percent of your potential earning power each time you write for publication B. That said, you should have an idea of what a publication pays before you do ask for more.

To ask for more money, couch your request in language like, “You know I love writing for you and think your publication rocks, but I’m in the tough position of being offered twice as much money to write for all my other editors [or clients]. Any chance you can come up in price? I’d like to keep working with you, but I have to wear my business hat, too.” Subtext: Eventually, dear editor, you’re going to lose me if you don’t show me the money.

Want more? Read the rest of this week’s mediabistro Q&A with me on the freelance life.

2 comments September 28th, 2007

What I really think about credit cards, cash, and baby showers

Last week I did a fun Q&A called “10 Money Questions” that Nina Smith of Queercents fame ran on BlogHer. (Nina also posted this fab review of my book.) Because Nina asked several provocative questions no other reporter has asked me, I thought I’d post a few highlights here:

Q: What is your most significant memory about money?
A: This is a bad one: In my late twenties, my credit card debt had come to eclipse my annual income, and I couldn’t afford the monthly minimum payments anymore. My interest rates went sky-high and the collectors started calling and calling. It was awful. I had this moment of truth where I realized I’d been in denial for the past couple years and was now going to have to pay the piper, so to speak. It wasn’t that I’d been hoarding shoes or jetsetting to Paris or anything; I was just living in a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, working for myself, and too stubborn to downgrade to a studio or get a roommate (or perhaps, a day job, since my freelance salary wasn’t cutting it). Instead, I’d foolishly used my credit cards to make up the difference. I think I had about eight cards at the time.

The worst part was the shame, like I couldn’t take care of myself or something. My accountant advised me to declare bankruptcy and said I’d still be able to buy a home in a few years (in fact, he said, several of his other clients had!), but I was having none of that. I felt like, I made this mess, and I’m going to fix it myself. So I consolidated my debt through one of those nonprofit credit-card counseling services, moved to more affordable Seattle, went to work for the man for a year (at a large software company up here that you may have heard of), and paid off my debt in twelve months. It sucked big time, but in retrospect, I’m glad it happened. I felt proud about cleaning up my own mess — I don’t think I would have felt good about myself taking the easy way out. I have yet to live outside my means since, and it is such a huge load off.

Q: How does money play a role in your relationships, romantic or otherwise?
A: Other than ditching any date or “friend” who can’t pay their own way, I’m not sure how much it has. There is this though: I don’t expect my boyfriend to pick up every restaurant tab just because he has a penis, and frankly I don’t get women who still play this game when it comes to dating. (Hello, it’s not 1955!)

I’m also completely turned off by people who use the fact that they’re getting hitched or having a baby as an excuse to milk their friends for linens or onesies they could easily afford themselves. I’m not saying don’t register or don’t accept gifts (though I have the utmost respect for people who request that you instead make a donation to some noble cause or other). But don’t have a shower at which you rub your hands together like The Simpson‘s Smithers* the entire time and repeatedly ask if it’s time to open the presents yet. Your friends who have already shelled out hundreds on hideous bridesmaid dresses and an insufferable bachelorette weekend will not find this behavior endearing.

[*Post-interview thought: This would probably make more sense if I had said The Simpson's Mr. Burns. Ah well...]

Q: I read that you’ve given the baby thing a lot of thought lately. How would motherhood restrict your finances? Your career?

A: Honestly, I’ve never felt the ticking clock, baby lust, mommy gene, whatever you want to call it, and I still don’t. But biologically speaking, the window of opportunity is closing fast for me. (I just turned 40.) For that reason, I thought I’d better look long and hard at whether I’m really willing to close the door on conceiving. (I’m pretty sure I am.) And I felt like my beau and I had to get super-clear on where we both stood on this; guys don’t always realize that their sperm don’t have all the time in the world either. The upshot is, if I change my mind in five years, which seems unlikely at this point, I’m cool with adopting. I love my dog like my own, so why not a kid I didn’t hatch?

From a financial standpoint, I’d have to work the numbers if I ever got serious about being a mom to anything other than a four-legged child. When I was talking pros-cons with my boyfriend, I kept saying, “Yeah, but, how would I have the time to work, write, and be a mom?” I kind of neglected to look at the partnership part of the equation — like maybe one of us could work less and parent more, or maybe, with the power of freelancing, we both could. Maybe we could, like, live together, and get on the same health plan (duh). Maybe I could be the breadwinner and he could be my domestic diva. Stuff like that.

From a time management/balance standpoint, freelancing and telecommuting would be a boon, I’m sure. But I still worry about having to give up some writing time, and the quiet solitude I’ve come to rely on when working on a big writing project. I’m not sure I’ll ever be willing to let that go.

(You can read the rest of the interview here.)

2 comments September 24th, 2007

The new mommy track

cover_hp90x123.jpgReporter-on-the-rise Kimberly Palmer wrote the ultra-cool cover piece for this week’s U.S. News & World Report. The subhead: More mothers win flextime at work, and hubbies help (really!) at home.

Fun excerpt:

…a new generation of American mothers who are rejecting the “superwoman” image from the 1980s as well as the “soccer mom” stereotype of the 1990s. Mothers today are more likely to negotiate flexible schedules at work and demand fuller participation of fathers in child raising than previous generations did, giving them more time to pursue their own careers and interests. Some so-called mompreneurs start their own businesses. Nearly 26 percent of working women with children under 18 work flexible schedules, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with 14 percent in 1991.

I’m quoted in the article a couple times. (Happy dance!) You can read more here:

5 comments August 29th, 2007

I will teach you to be rich…

pink_limo.jpgOK, maybe not financially per se, but perhaps deep down in your most creative heart of hearts, whatever that means. What I’m getting at is, the Q&A I did with tireless blogger Cody McKibben on Ramit Sethi‘s personal finance blog, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, is now live. To see what I have to say about today’s brave new work world (and all the freelancing, flextime, and entrepreneurialism that comes with it), and what I think Ramit Sethi can do to increase his female readership, read the Q&A. Here’s an excerpt:

Twenty-something and thirty-something women have far more of an entrepreneurial spirit than their parents ever did, partly because it’s such an at-will employment workforce these days, and partly because we saw Boomer women (often, our moms) working their asses off trying to prove they could have it all and burning out. After witnessing Enron after Enron go down in flames, and friend after friend get laid off, the message is now loud and clear: It doesn’t matter how dedicated an employee you are — companies are only out for themselves. So why work your butt to the bone like your mom did when you know you stand a decent chance of not getting a company healthcare or retirement plan and of winding up on unemployment any given month of the year?

Instead, younger women are all about quality of life. A job is a job — it’s not a way of life. I wrote the book for women who are starting to suspect this, or have already come to realize this. I wanted to tell them all I could about all the alternative ways of working I’ve tried over the years, from stringing together a handful of part-time gigs, to temping, to working a flex schedule or telecommuting for a corporation, to working for myself.

The younger you are, and the less encumbered you are by kids, partner, and mortgage, the easier it is to try some of the less conventional ways of working — especially working overseas and starting your own business. You’re not tied down by location quite so much, and you’re able to take more financial risks without worrying if you’ll be able to clothe and feed your kids six months down the line.

You can read the entire Q&A here. And if you’re new to my blog, you may want to check out some of my more popular posts:

5 comments August 16th, 2007

Ask the cubicle expat: What are the biggest mistakes that newbie freelancers make?

Doh!Toward the end of Sunday’s live chat on Writers Revealed about how to be a successful entrepreneur, one woman asked what mistakes newbie freelancers make and how that hinders their success. I talk about this a lot in the book, serving up many of my own wildly embarrassing gaffes from my first few months working solo, including:

  • Quitting my job with no money saved, no clients, no business know-how, no networking savvy, and no contacts
  • Signing truly shitty contracts that effectively had me working for peanuts
  • Agreeing to work with clients who basically had “666″ tattooed on their forehead

Emira Mears of Boss Lady, who I had the pleasure to do Sunday’s live chat with, also wrote this incredibly sharp post about how we fempreneurs have a tendency to undercharge for our time and talents. (For pep talk on setting and negotiating rates, see my previous post.) And here are a few more rookie freelancer screwups, culled from a Q&A I recently did with Work It, Mom:

  • Spending too much money on equipment, supplies, and consultants you don’t need right off the bat
  • Working in a vacuum rather than finding other independent professionals to bounce ideas off of, share war stories with, and help you feel less isolated
  • Failing to sufficiently research the market you’re getting into
  • Not being realistic about how much money you need to keep the business afloat and a roof over your head
  • Not educating yourself about what makes a good contract (so you can steer clear of the crappy ones)
  • Not keeping set business hours, which often translates into working round the clock

Feel free to share any and all of your own fempreneur fuckups in the comments. We’re not here to laugh at each other, only to help. And telling others what stupid business move you would never make again can certainly help them avoid stepping in the same steaming pile of crap.

6 comments July 31st, 2007

Live chat today (7/29) on

Writers Revealed bannerA few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to do a web radio interview with Felicia Sullivan of Writers Revealed. Today I’m back on Writers Revealed doing a live web chat on how to be a successful entrepreneur. I’ll be joined fellow fempreneurs Alex Beauchamp of Girl at Play and Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon of Boss Lady.

If you have a burning question about freelancing, fleeing the cube, or running your own business, ask away. Alex, Emira, Lauren, and I will be taking and answering as many questions as we can today, Sunday, July 29, from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time in the comments section of this here link.

If you can’t make it, feel free to enjoy the link in the coming days at your leisure. Happy Sunday.

Add comment July 29th, 2007

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Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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