Don’t Leave $$ On The Table: How To Set Your Freelancer Rate

Jen Dziura is a friend of mine who wears even more hats that I do.  In addition to comedy, performance, producing spelling bees, tutoring–she also writes a career column for The Gloss.  Here’s a bit of her excellent post about how to set your freelancing rates and how much to pay an assistant.

The goal of this column isn’t to actually tell you how many dollars to charge for your services, but to give you some ammo when negotiating, and to make you feel generally ballsier about quoting prices and sticking to them.

The conventional wisdom for freelancers is to take whatever you’d make per hour in a regular job and double it, since you’ll be paying your own taxes and benefits, and you’ll have to market yourself and spend time perusing contracts and a whole lot of other things you won’t be getting paid for directly. So, if you made $60,000 in your full-time gig, you’d divide by 52 weeks per year and then 40 hours per week to get $28.85 per hour. Double it and round up for good measure, and you might charge $60 per hour.

However, an hourly model of charging for things implies that 1) you shouldn’t be rewarded for being faster than other people (or that, if you are faster, you should lie), 2) work should be compensated based on time spent rather than output (which might be why you got out of the 9-to-5 working world in the first place), and 3) all of the hours a person puts in on a task are equally valuable.

Read the rest over at The Gloss.

Two Cents: LearnVest and Square

Square has just launched, and it may cause a revolution for online payments.  One of the founders of Square is Jack Dorsey who you may have heard of because he is one the guys who started Twitter. Square allows for you to use your iPhone for online payments, email receipts, donate money to charity and enable reward programs for frequent customers.  I can wait to see how Square could work with online retailers and make mobile payments super easy.

On Wednesday, LearnVest had a fun Launch+Holiday Party at The Limited’s at their Soho Pop-up store.  What is LearnVest? LearnVest is a personal finance site for women that provides interactive content that walks women step-by-step through key financial decisions.

Bringing Home The Bacon: Business Women In The News

The founders of social bookmarking community Kirtsy will be hosting the first of a series event called, Hands on Kirtsy. The New York event will be Monday December 1st at the Hudson Hotel.

Entrepreneur Patricia Handschiegel writes about the New Power Girls in her latest column in The Huffington Post.

Also, Girls in Tech is having drinks on December 9 at Lela Bar. RSVP here.

Working Women’s Luncheon at the Javits Center Quick Recap

“It is the time to be essential.” Hearst President Cathie Black said in response to today’s job market and the current economic crisis. Cathie Black was the keynote speaker at WCBS Radio’s Working Women Luncheon which I attended today at the Javits Center.

It was “bitch cold” this morning, so I was happy when I walked into the warmth of the River Pavillion.  Plus, there was a goodie bag waiting for me as soon as I checked in at the registration desk. I met some very entreprising women before sitting down at my table including Venita who runs Danzemergencee, a niche temp firm for dance and fitness instructors and Andrea Dey, event planner.

At lunch, I met the sister of fashion designer Dara Lamb.  Her custom women’s business suits are beautiful and professional. I also met Mary Kagan, CPA and a fellow blogger Carmina Perez, whose blog is Mogulette-In-The-Making. I just glanced at her blog, and she too attended the Econ Women Conference last month. [Smart Small World]

After the luncheon, I had to run and do bookkeeping in DUMBO, then host a Cupcake Takes The Cake Meetup in the Village. I’m exhausted.

Wooing The Women: ContentNext’s EconWomen Conference

Today I attended the first ever Econ: Women conference here in New York.  It was very informative, as the panel discussions focused on women in online media, advertising and community. Co-CEO Wenda Harris Millard of Martha Stewart Omnimedia kicked off the conference by saying “Flat is the new up”. It was her response to the current economic conditions. Wenda announced MSLO’s investment in, an online invite application for events.  After Wenda spoke, I caught up with her offstage and asked if would be integrating social networking features a la Facebook. She said that the site already has a community section.  [It is more old school than Web 2.0 with a message board, but there are also active blogs from the editors including Martha herself.] Wenda said frankly that social networks like Facebook are not MSLO’s audience and besides, “social networks don’t make money”. I thought her comment was especially interesting given the recent study from Jupiter Research which asserted that blogs are more influential that social networks.

One of the highlights of the conference was the exchange between Tina Brown and interviewee Cathie Black, Hearst President. Although Tina Brown is now the founder of new online start-up, The Daily Beast, she seemed to be still quite the cheerleader for Conde Nast titles, and repeatedly called the now-defunct Hearst publication Cosmo Girl, “Teen Cosmo”.

Another highlight was when Andrew Shue introduced himself as the founder of Cafe Mom and before that “an account executive at D & D advertising”. It was a funny reference to his former role on Melrose Place.

Dooce AKA Heather Armstrong was on the community panel along with Joni Evans of Wowowow, Brandon Holley of Yahoo Shine and others.  Heather manages her commenters by setting guidelines and making sure that her readers respect Dooce and as if they were in her “living room”.

It was great to see Lisa Stone, co-founder and president of BlogHer. She spoke on a panel about advertising and ad networks. There were men at the conference as well, Gary from Gary’s Guide was there and Glam Media Scott Schiller made a quick mention of Glam’s new men-focused portal, Brash. I also met people from The Frisky, She Knows, Wedding Wire, Be Jane and Video Egg. I look forward to next year’s event.

Corefino: Virtual Accounting That Fills The Gap

Corefino is the kind of company I would work for if I ever went back to corporate accounting. That is saying a lot, since I hated working at accounting firms.  A few weeks ago, I talked to Karen Northup CEO/Founder to Corefino. Most accounting firms have employees that are overworked. Accountants often don’t also have the flexibility to work from home. Many small to medium need accounting but the big accounting firms are too expensive or don’t fit the needs of a start-up or small business. Karen started Corefino as a solution for businesses and accounting professionals. Corefino’s staff is currently 74% female and 26% male employees.  Employees both male and female appreciates the company’s quality of life initiative because of the flexibility of work schedules and the ability to work from home. Corefino handles the full spectrum of accounting from accounts payable to sales audit to quarterly filings. They have also leveraged their technology to handle cash transactions.  They also provide clients with a dashboard report of profit/loss and cash management.  Talking to Karen gave me a sense that accounting can move out of the olden days and be Web 2.0 ready. That’s a cool thing.

Make Mine A Million Program

Are you a woman starting your own business? Do you want money to fund your dreams? Count Me In is the leading nonprofit for women entrepreneurs, their mission is to inspire 1 million women entrepreneurs to reach annual revenues of $1 million by the year 2010.  Reaching this goal will create over 4 million new American jobs and $700 billion in economic activity.

Help them out and yourself by joining Make Mine a A Million community which gives you access to their business newsletters. It’s FREE!

  • Get expert advice on key business and work/life issues
  • Gain access to business resources from Count Me In and our supporters
  • Learn the steps to making yours a million dollar business

My friend Joanne attended a Make Mine A Million event in New Jersey last month and raved about inspiring it was.  The next events will be this fall in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hollywood, Florida and Trumbull, Connecticut.

MYM:Make Yourself “Mortgageable” Event on July 15th

In this crazy time of economic uncertainty, it is necessary to arm women with the knowledge and tools to make themselves “mortgageable”.

Please join us for a fun, FREE and informative event that will start you on your journey to financial prowess. Meet other women with similar goals and enjoy sangria, margaritas and light appetizers courtesy of La Palapa (West Village location on Sixth Avenue near West Fourth Street.)

Make Yourself Mortgageable is a project founded by MaryBeth O’Hara, Associate Broker at Maison International, and me (Nichelle Stephens). Olga Savelov is a mortgage broker and she will be a featured speaker. I created a Make Yourself Mortgageable blog where I will add relevant content and links about mortgages.

Women Leave Money On The Table

In order to get new business,sometimes I don’t negotiate well or ask enough for my services. However, I am trying to do better. After reading the article, The Feminine Critique in the New York Times, I realized that many women are guilty of this.


clipped from

Men asked for more money at eight times the rate of women. In a second round of testing, where participants were told directly that the sum was negotiable, 50 percent of women asked for more money, but that still did not compare with 83 percent of men. It would follow, Professor Babcock concluded, that women are equally poor at negotiating their salaries and raises.

There are practical nuggets of advice in all this data. Don’t be shy about negotiating. If you blow your stack, explain (or try). “Some of what we are learning is directly helpful, and tells women that they are acting in ways they might not even be aware of, and that is harming them and they can change,” said Peter Glick, a psychology professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.

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