In which Catherine attends FreelanceCamp Vancouver

Posted by & filed under Catherine, Events, Law, Vancouver.

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:

Catherine Winters typing on iPhone

Catherine Winters, typing on her iPhone. Photo by Jeremy Lim.

“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.

  1. That’s the correct plural, right? []

4 Responses to “In which Catherine attends FreelanceCamp Vancouver”

  1. Bruce

    Great post, Catherine. I hadn’t realized you were at THE VERY SAME sessions that I was at… need to get my eyes checked, I think. Good tip on SimpleNote; I took a ton of notes on the NotePad app on my iPhone, which of course doesn’t (I think) sync with MobileMe… Nope. Just checked. As soon as I dock the iPhone of course, they’re copied, but that’s not like writing directly to the cloud, which seems like a pretty good idea.

  2. Sanja

    That seems like an incredibly efficient note-taking system! You managed to sum up all the important (and hilarious) points of the conference. Good show!

  3. Ryan Dempsey

    Yeah, the solopreneur thing sounds really interesting. I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last couple years. I should have been at FreelanceCamp.