Last Saturday, I attended the first FreelanceCamp Vancouver, the unconference for people who don’t have bosses or paycheques. I am happy to report that I had an excellent time and had several questions answered most satisfactorily.
See? Photographic evidence:
“Hey,” you might exclaim, upon seeing the above photo, your voice pitching with excitement in having caught me with my iPhone out. “Catherine’s not paying attention to the speaker at all! Look at her tweeting away!”
Pernicious lies! Zoom in, and you’ll find that’s not this “Twitter” thing all the kids have been talking about at all! No, in fact, I’m using the excellent cloud-based note-taking app Simplenote to take meticulously detailed, hierarchically-indented notes! Ha!
In fact, I took a great deal of notes on my iPhone that day, as FreelanceCamp Vancouver turned out to be extremely useful. I was particularly interested by the session I was at when Jeremy Lim snapped the above picture, Contracts for People Who Hate Contracts. Led by Martin Ertl, cofounder of Vancouver open-source contracts startup LexPublica, it covered a number of contingencies and best practices surrounding the most inconvenient of all business practices: agreeing on things for money.
Martin clarified a few issues for me, including, when I, as a designer, ought to write a single project-spanning contract as opposed to a preliminary contract to determine project scope and one to cover the actual work as outlined in the resulting scope document. Which is as important as it sounds. I’ve used one of LexPublica’s contracts before, and I plan to continue to do so in future. One point he did emphasize: the most important part of such an agreement is a good explanation of the actual work to be undertaken. It turns out that, “I’ll have one website, please” can mean somewhat different things to different people. Who knew?
Other highlights included Kemp Edmonds’ talk on how to ask Kemp Edmonds to not call you a plagiarist when you plagiarize his presentations, and one particularly interesting discussion on “solopreneurs”. Google indicates this is indeed a word, and it seems like everyone is using it to mean roughly the same thing. (“It’s not quite a freelancer, not quite an entrepreneur, but OH MAN–”)
The big distinction between a freelancer and a solopreneur seems to be that the solopreneur has somewhat more infrastructure–they’re able to go after larger projects because they can outsource, team up with, or subcontract to other freelancers and solopreneurs, dividing up labour, while still not having all the overhead of an actual company with employees.
Which sounds appealing. After all, companies are expensive, right?
In any event, whether it ends up being a direction I choose to go in or merely interesting food for thought in a changing economy, the solopreneurs session was fascinating, and you should’ve been there. So there.
If you weren’t able to make it, I strongly recommend any future FreelanceCamps Vancouver1 and I wholeheartedly endorse it as one of the most informative — and demographically representative – –Camp-suffixed events I’ve ever attended in Vancouver.
- That’s the correct plural, right? [↩]