Ask Ian! Answers To Your Freelance Questions

Handsome guy in Freelance SwitchMy interview in the mega-popular blog Freelance Switch came out recently. Here’s a little excerpt:

Want to turn your personal interests into a booming career? That’s what Ian MacKenzie had in mind when he started his career as a new media producer.

A jack-of-all-trades, Ian recently finished producing the web series OneWeekJob.com, where a friend worked one job a week for a year. He creates citizen journalism pieces for the new portal VancouverIAM.com, and completes freelance web development projects for companies as well.

Read the full interview here.

I started getting a few emails in my inbox from others asking for further tips. So I figured I would open it up to anyone else, in an initiative called Ask Ian! I’ll collect the responses and publish them here.

UPDATE: Here’s a few questions (and answers) so far:

Dayna says: I am a freelance designer that has been asked by my client to meet in person with a committee. It’s a 4 hour/230 miles round trip. Is it appropriate to include the cost of this trip in my bill?

Yes. If the trip was a 20 minute drive, that’s one thing. But because you’re being asked to drive a significant distance, I think it’s more than fair to include the cost of gas in the bill. If the client expects you to make the trip, they should expect to pay for it.

Dhane says: How do I go from a college kid who has all these skills in media production, to a successful business owner who uses these same skills to help businesses reach their goals?

The first step is creating your business website to offer your skills. This helps to portray you as a legitimate professional. Second, you need to start building your portfolio and contacts. Volunteering your skills for a few key gigs will help fulfill both these areas, and likely lead to future paid work.

Derek says: I notice some freelancers incorporate themselves as a small business, and others (like you) just brand their names. What would you recommend for someone starting out?

I’m only familiar with the tax law in British Columbia, so as far as I know, if you keep your own name for your business, you don’t need to officially incorporate. But even so, there are many different pros and cons to how you set up your business structure. It also depends on if you’re going it alone, if you’re hiring other people, and how much income you generate. My advice is find a good resource (like Small Business BC) for your province/state and start reading.

Have a question about freelancing you’d like answered? Leave a comment!

8 Comments

  1. It WAS a great interview.

    I’m curious though, as someone trying to get a start in freelancing. I notice some freelancers incorporate themselves as a small business, and others (like you) just brand their names. What would you recommend for someone starting out?

  2. Hi Ian – it’s great to see Vancouver web folk on FreelanceSwitch. I really enjoyed reading the interview.

  3. Ian,

    I am a freelance designer that has been asked by my client to meet in person with a committee. It’s a 4 hour/230 miles round trip. Is it appropriate to include the cost of this trip in my bill?

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