Unfederated

Helping Freelancers Grow Successful Businesses Doing What You Love

About the show

In a world of cubicles, office hours, arbitrary deadlines and unproductive meetings, more and more people are choosing to reclaim their work experience.  Different as night and day, a brother and sister compare notes on their success navigating the world of business as a solo lawyer and freelance marketing consultant. Join Rob and Sara as they learn from each other and strive to make hay while the sun shines.

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Episodes and Blog Entries

  • Episode 29: What's The Deal With Disability Insurance?

    Episode  |  February 5th, 2019  |  39 mins 23 secs

    Sara and Rob discuss one of the downsides (or benefits) to freelancing: short term and long term disability. A lot of freelancers think one of the benefits of traditional employment is the benefits package. One way to look at being a freelancer is you are in control of exactly how your benefits package is structured. Learn more about the why and how of short term and long term disability.

  • Episode 28: How Many Clients Is Enough?

    Episode  |  January 29th, 2019  |  37 mins 48 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss one of the "good problems to have" for freelancers. What happens when you don't have enough time for new clients? How do you balance quality of life with having backup plans incase an existing client leaves? They also discuss why you should still be marketing and networking even if you aren't taking on new clients at the time.

  • Episode 27: Traveling With Clients

    Episode  |  January 22nd, 2019  |  32 mins 1 sec

    Back from a family vacation, Rob and Sara discuss strategies and tips for working (or not working) while on vacation. Is it better to 100% disconnect or find ways to touch base with clients here and there? Before you take another vaction, you'll want to listen to this episode.

  • Episode 26: The Mind Games Freelancers Play With Money

    Episode  |  January 1st, 2019  |  36 mins 23 secs

    In this episode, Rob and Sara discuss the dangers of rationalizing everything you want as a business expense, how that affects your significant other, and how to track expenses.

  • Episode 25: Ending The Year Strong

    Episode  |  December 25th, 2018  |  35 mins 52 secs

    In the final episode of 2018, Rob and Sara discuss ending the year on a high note, managing client relationships around the holidays (and vacations), changes for 2019, passing off clients via referrals, and more.

  • Episode 24: Managing Pro-Bono Work

    Episode  |  December 18th, 2018  |  45 mins 15 secs

    Rob and Sara look at doing pro-bono work and serving in non-profits. They discuss how to balance billable hours with serving your community, how to find pro-bono work that best uses your skills, and not getting stuck on boards with no exit plan

  • Episode 23: Finding Rest

    Episode  |  December 11th, 2018  |  1 hr 1 min

    Rob and Sara discuss the idea of rest for freelancers. With traditional 9-5 jobs, paid time off is usually the norm. With freelancers, it can be difficult to take days (or even hours) off for things like vacation, snow days, and exercise. What are the potential pitfalls that freelancers must watch out for?

  • Episode 22: Marketing: Rob's 6-P Approach to Marketing

    Episode  |  November 27th, 2018  |  58 mins 17 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss marketing strategy. Rob leads Sara through his marketing consulting process. He advises empathy and understanding and recommends isolating your preferred client-base. He takes her through his 6-P approach: People, Position, Promise, Promotion, Process, and Polish. Sara finds marketing enlightenment and direction.

  • Episode 21: Outsourcing: How to Delegate or Automate

    Episode  |  November 20th, 2018  |  1 hr 5 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss the process of outsourcing. They discuss how to evaluate the tasks that can be automated, the tasks that can be delegated, and pare your activities down to the things that can only be done by you. Rob is generally the first to automate and the last to delegate and Sara encourages him to view them both as valuable activities. They discuss various ways in which they have delegated or automated parts of their work and their plans to streamline more in the future. They discuss the benefits of having total autonomy and how it allows you to play with delegating and automating. They realize that it might be a lead loss the first couple times but that knowing how to use the resources makes you more efficient overall.

  • Episode 20: Setting Goals as a Freelancer

    Episode  |  November 13th, 2018  |  54 mins 5 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss how they set goals for their business. They discuss the amount of money they make, what they expected, and how they measure their own success. Sara discusses the billable hour requirement at old firms and how she uses the metric of money-billed instead of hours-billed. They discuss banner months, banner years, and whether or not they increase their goals when they do well. They both are working far fewer hours than when they were traditionally employed and both work far fewer hours than when they were traditionally employed. Rob uses a software called Cushion. He's working on scheduling capacity into the future. Each discussed determining their own threshold for what they are comfortable working balanced against what they'd like to make. Rob discusses his redneck childhood spent taking the safety off of lighters at his grandmother's house. Rob discusses obtaining clients, then maximizing the revenue from the billable hours. Constantly re-evaluating the nature of your client base and trimming some smaller client work helps build productivity.

  • Episode 19: Contracts: What Freelancers Need to Know

    Episode  |  November 6th, 2018  |  53 mins 27 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss when Freelancers need contracts in place. Sara, a lawyer, refrains from giving legal advice, but generally provides educational background on mistakes she sees business owners make. Relying too heavily on the title of an agreement is a common mistake, signing things without reading them or understanding them, not having any contract in place, having the wrong terms in place, and other common mistakes. Assume the documents are meant to trick you. Clients who pull documents off the internet sometimes don't realize they're using terms that are unfavorable to them. At bare minimum you want to lay out the payment terms, milestones, statement of work, etc. in writing. Having someone promise not to infringe on other people's copyrights is important. Sticking to workflows and processes is ideal as you navigate your way through contracts. Failing to assign intellectual property can be a sword or shield. Rob discusses the freelancer-protective laws recently enacted by New York City. Rob accidentally refers to the Gutenberg press as the "Glutenberg."

  • Episode 18: Pricing: How freelancers set rates

    Episode  |  October 23rd, 2018  |  48 mins 27 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss how they set their prices, the benefits of subscription models, setting an hourly rate starting off, and how to know when to increase rates. Rob has a provision in his contract where if someone cancels early, they are still on the hook for a certain percentage through the end of the Agreement term. That gives him money he can plan with and rely upon. Defaulting to billing by the hour is common because it is one of the easiest ways to move forward, however it often causes people to leave money on the table. Rob recommends value-based pricing based on a consideration of what the solution he's selling is worth to his clients. Ending your pricing in 5 goes better than ending it in 0.

  • Episode 17: What freelancers miss most from traditional employment

    Episode  |  October 16th, 2018  |  29 mins 26 secs

    Sara and Rob discuss the things they miss most from their traditional employers. Sara misses work rooms full of office supplies. Rob talks about a co-worker stealing office toilet paper. While they have chosen their own paths because the pros outweigh the cons, but there are cons. Sara misses support staff, great views, beautiful offices, and stocked snack rooms. Rob notes his offices were not as nice as hers. Rob misses being in a leadership role. Sara misses support staff and also misses having people reviewing all her work and then providing immediate feedback. Rob misses having people to talk about work stuff to. The teamwork aspect of traditional employment is worth missing. Sara misses expense accounts and expense reimbursements and coffee mugs. Rob misses being a part of the downtown working community. Sara misses dressing up. They both admit to wearing the same clothes over and over again since the same people aren't seeing them every day.

  • Episode 16: Death: Prepare your Freelancer Business for Death or Disability

    Episode  |  October 9th, 2018  |  44 mins 30 secs

    Just in time for Halloween, Rob and Sara discuss the ways in which freelancers should prepare their businesses in the event of their death or disability. If not carefully and swiftly managed, a successful small business can quickly become in the red. If you would hate to see this happen to your family, it's important to have a plan. That plan includes at bare minimum including someone in your industry who could take over for you and close things out. It's essential to keep all your logins centralized and recorded through something like 1Password or any other service so someone can step in and put holds on your overhead. Then someone needs to collect on your A/R if any invoices are outstanding and manage your client files and information where necessary. Disability and Life Insurance are a very important consideration. Key man insurance for multiple person companies is a very good idea.

  • Episode 15: Become a Freelancer in a Day - Emergency Preparedness to Freelance - Pt 2

    Episode  |  October 2nd, 2018  |  44 mins 33 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss hitting the high points of days 2-10 of finding yourself in an unexpected freelancing position. Continuing to sow seeds with your village, avoiding putting yourself out there if you're not in a place of strength, taking time to feel angry, etc. Also, getting a phone number and then business cards from moo.com in a small quantity. They caution against falling into making a website too early and instead focus on a higher level of branding strategy.

  • Episode 14: Become a Freelancer in a Day - Emergency Preparedness to Freelance - Pt 1

    Episode  |  September 25th, 2018  |  45 mins 12 secs

    Rob and Sara discuss the emergency steps you should take on day one if you're fired or other circumstances result in you suddenly finding yourself needing to freelance. First set up your choice of entity at your state's secretary of state, without letting a name choice slow you down. Then obtain an EIN, open a bank account. They discuss pros and cons of business bank account options and complain about Spark CapitalOne, which sucks now. Then set up a business email address. Do this by creating a Squarespace account which will help you build out a landing page and an email address domain. Squarespace has templates specifically classified as landing pages, that way you only need a couple photos and a few paragraphs of information. Avoiding wasting time on a full-fledge website is essential.