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Finding and Attracting Investors

This self-paced training exercise provides an introduction to finding and attracting investors.
Topics include determining the need for outside financing, defining what an investor is and where to find them, explaining the investment process and understanding investor expectations.





Intellectual Property: The Internet Has No Laws

Most times if something you read begins with a disclaimer, you can ignore it. Well, I’m not an attorney, but you’re going to want to stick with the following legal ramblings because The Internet Has No Laws.

would you rather listen?

There have been several developments in the last couple of weeks that mold the way certain people and certain companies will need to act under certain circumstances, in certain places. That sentence itself contains too many disclaimers to make it mean very much except for this: On the Internet, nothing is certain, and things are getting worse.




How to Set and Negotiate your Freelance Business Rates

(see bottom of page for entire article)



If you are a small business owner, you need to know how your business stacks up with the competition in order to succeed. SizeUp will help you manage and grow your business by benchmarking it against competitors, mapping your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locating the best places to advertise.
To get started, enter your industry and city where your business is located and discover how your business sizes up with the competition. Please note, the SizeUp tool displays the top three results of your search. To view full results, you must complete the sign in process. Please note that you are not required to provide your name, only an email address. Any information provided is sent to SizeUp and is not maintained by SBA. http://www.sba.gov/tools/sizeup

How to Set and Negotiate your Freelance Business Rates

by Davidh, Community Moderator
  • Created: June 1, 2011, 3:12 pm
  • Updated: March 7, 2013, 11:43 am

Thinking of going it alone? Becoming a freelancer is an attractive option for many professionals, but can you make it work for you?
One of the most critical steps involved in planning and growing your freelance business is setting your rates. However, when you are charging for a service, this is easier said than done and getting it wrong (either way) can compromise your worth, your cash-flow and your business.
Here are three tips for setting your freelance rates, structuring your pricing, and negotiating with clients.
  1. Setting Your Freelance Rate
Pricing the service you provide as a freelancer isn’t easy and is influenced by several factors:
  • What is the going market rate?
  • What experience do you have, both in your line of work and in working with clients? Both are a significant part of your value – someone with experience can command higher rates and clients want to know that you are also self-directed and able to work well on your own.
  • What rate do you feel comfortable with and will sustain your business?
If you are coming out of full-employment and starting on your own, a good rule of thumb to follow when determining your hourly rate is to:
  • Calculate what your annual salary equates to as an hourly rate ($x divide by 52 (work weeks), divide by 40 (week work hours).
  • Then mark it up 25-30%. This piece covers both your value and experience, but also takes care of our business costs such as networking, proposal writing, and other administration, not forgetting your self-employment tax obligations and healthcare insurance costs.

  1. Project Rates versus Hourly Rates
Many factors determine whether it’s better to price by the hour or by the project.
For example, if you have a stable relationship with a client and regular work coming in, quoting work by the hour can work in your favor because there is consistency in work flow and therefore cash flow. However, if you are good at what you do and work quickly and efficiently, pricing work by the hour can potentially result in under-cutting your own revenue opportunity – simply because you can get done in one hour what others take three to complete. Of course the flip side is that the client simply loves you because you deliver quality work in less time and at a lower cost than other freelancers might!
Pricing a flat project fee, regardless of the hours involved also has its risks and benefits. If you are working with a new client, you probably need more time to come up to speed on the project and the client’s work methods than you would do with an existing client. In this case, pricing your work on a project basis can give you the wiggle room you need to research and produce quality work. It also gives the client the benefit of knowing they are working with a fixed cost. However, this can play against you if “project creep” rears its head and you find yourself putting in more hours than you originally anticipated, essentially cutting your profit margin.
A good rule of thumb is to price your work with some structure built-in that clearly lays out the scope of what you will deliver. For example, if you are a freelance copywriter and a client wants you to price out the cost of researching and writing a product brochure, you might structure your pricing proposal as follows:
  • Research: 2 Hours
  • Produce First Draft: 4 Hours
  • Incorporate Edits and Produce Second Draft: 2 Hours
  • Incorporate Final Edits and Produce Final Copy: 1 Hour
  • Total : 7 Hours @ $x hourly rate = $x
Use your normal hourly rate to calculate the flat project fee and only state how many hours each stage of work will take if the client asks for it. By putting some parameters around the project, the client can agree to a clear scope of work at a fixed price.
If you are presenting this type of project-based pricing, be sure to add a caveat that any work done over and above this scope of work will be charged at an hourly rate.
  1. Negotiating Your Rate
Negotiation your rate with a new client is always tricky. There often comes a perception that freelance services come at a low rate, and economic factors invariably mean that clients will try to negotiate you down – whatever number you put on the table.
If you value the new relationship and the opportunity that the work brings, always be open to negotiation. If your client counter-offers your rate but you still feel that it is too low for you to compromise your time and your perceived value, try to stand your ground (if you just accept the lower rate you will always feel that you had to compromise yourself, not to mention how hard it will be to re-negotiate a rate-hike down the line). If the client won’t budge, consider potential compromises – if you are a writer, could you write a shorter, less well researched piece at a rate slightly above what the client proposes. That way you maintain your cost-efficiency with the potential for more work down the line.
Alternatively try to agree to a “ramp-up fee” that gives you a chance to come up-to-speed on the project and the client’s product or service. This can sweeten the deal for you, especially if this is a client who you have no pre-existing relationship with, and who you otherwise might turn away.
Once you have built a foundation of work and decide that this is a client you want to continue to do business with, you may want to negotiate a long-term rate that is a little less than your advertised rate. BUT – only go this route if you think your new client is able to provide you with a solid pipeline of future work.
Remember, freelancers can go for long periods without work and quite often, swapping less work at a higher rate for consistent hours at a lower rate can make good business sense.

Changing Business, and Business Process in France, at Amazon


Once upon a time I spent a bunch of time in Europe—mostly, in France. And until I learned a few hard lessons I was astonished by how different things are on the other side of the pond.

would you rather listen?

France has made strides to
adapt to reign in
the rest of the worldthe Americanized world, and I’ll say here as I believed when I was over there that some of France’s ideas are good. And although it’s been a while, I’ve complimented France on some of the ways they’ve approached the Internet; this was a brilliant solution to music piracy, and France enacted an interesting approach to cross-border taxation issues a few years back.
And Amazon just bitch-slapped France, but good.
Bezos and Co., who’ve shown repeatedly how much better they are at this business process/business change thing than just about anyone, have responded to French laws prohibiting
businesses like AmazonAmazon from offering both discounts and free shipping by offering shipping at the painful price of one cent.
Wow, that one was hard, huh?
“The Internet” has no laws, and we’re entering a phase where we’re seeing repeatedly that—surprise!—companies being attacked by countries and states trying to impose their wills on multinational
profit-making entities are smarter than governments and the people that work for them
profit-making entities are smarter than governments and the people that work for them. How much smarter? Subsequent to The US Supreme Court very stupidly ruling Aereo’s entire business model illegal, it took all of two weeks for Aereo to fight back in a truly simple way; if Aereo is to be treated like a cable company, then they have the right to be treated like a cable company.

The lesson is that in a world moving at Internet Speed, nothing stands still. That’s the nature of business change, and the best way to cope is by setting up intelligent business process.


Additional Resources

About the Author

Hi, my name is David and I'm serving as a Moderator for the SBA Community. Our goal is to continually improve this site to meet your needs, so we appreciate your feedback and participation.

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