A couple of months ago, we got to hear from Megan Williams on the podcast. During her discussion with Darryl, she mentioned something revolutionary. When she finds an article that shows employers how to treat their employees better, she applies those suggestions to the way she treats herself as a self-employed worker.
This advice, as life-changing as it is, shines a light on a common problem in the freelancing world. It’s a problem I was reminded of again while listening to this week’s episode, which featured Nicole Swartz of Sprout Law. Before I jump into it, let me give a quick recap (or you can stop here and give the episode a listen. But then come back. Please?).
Nicole offered tips for trademarking your brand, including when you need to file a trademark and how to make sure the name you want is available for use. She talked about different business registrations and the specifics of each. Lastly, she explained why contracts are essential, what you should include, and the two things to look for when you’re using a contract template to protect yourself fully.
The amazing thing? All of this advice was given tailored to freelancers and independent workers specifically. You don’t have to rework it to fit your situation or look for other resources that have broken it down enough to offer a clear direction.
And that is the problem I was talking about earlier.
Megan’s idea was profound because you can’t really find that kind of information for freelancers. All of us have found ways around this shortage because we have to, but don’t we deserve more? We have many of the same struggles as employers and employees combined (and then some), but our resources are slim.
Nicole actually touched on this idea a bit at the end of the episode. If she was a legislator who could make one law to support freelancers, she said, she would focus on creating a more robust Small Business Administration. Currently, the SBA’s resources are outdated and irrelevant to many small businesses. With the way things stand, she said, if a freelancer or small business owner were involved in a legal battle over trademarks with a big business, they aren’t likely to win.
Offering better resources could change that, however. By providing more information that is geared toward independent creators, the SBA could help people find the options they need. Rather than leaving freelancers to learn how to correctly manage the legal side of things through trial and error, experts could condense years of experience into practical guidance.
The SBA could even teach people how to use TikTok for business content and the right ways to calculate business expenses. Could, but probably won’t. Not for now, at least.
Still, that doesn’t mean that freelancers are left to fend for themselves. In the past year alone, we have received new attention and respect as independent work has exploded. It’s also brought fresh resources and support, including Hectic. The Hectic Podcast alone is invaluable for its perspectives, encouragement, and advice.
It has also demonstrated the power and importance of community. Even when you can’t find an article in Forbes about your specific problem, there are dozens of fellow freelancers who can either offer advice or point you toward someone with your answer. We also have access to people like Nicole who are committed to using their knowledge to help those who need it.
Together, we can support each other in our journeys, helping others avoid the costly mistakes we had to resolve the hard way. So many guests on the podcast have shared how important community and relationships have been. You may wear many hats as a freelancer, but it’s okay to acknowledge that some of them don’t quite fit. Partnering with someone who wears that hat well benefits you, your business, and your clients. It also makes it easier for the next person to ask for help.
If freelancing is the future of work, which I believe it is, we are creating a new business culture that will make independent creation easier and more accessible for those that come after. How cool is that?
Hear all of Nicole’s advice here, where she explores the information mentioned above, as well as the industries that carry the most risks for freelancers and the best ways to protect yourself against litigation.