So, What’s Going Solo About?

[fr] Un avant-goût du programme de Going Solo. Il ne suffit pas de "savoir faire des trucs" pour avoir du succès en tant qu'indépendant. Il y a plein d'aspects "business" au boulot d'indépendant que l'on sous-estime souvent au départ, et qu'on doit apprendre sur le tas. Going Solo, ce sera l'occasion d'apprendre des choses comme par exemple comment fixer ses tarifs, se faire connaître, effectivement décrocher des mandats (et se faire payer!), trouver des clients ou les laisser nous trouver, expliquer au monde ce que l'on fait, trouver un équilibre entre travail et "vie" (pas évident quand on a fait de sa passion son métier), ou encore gérer l'administratif qui accompagne la vie réseautée que nous vivons aujourd'hui.

Je donne dans ce billet un plan des sujets que je désire couvrir durant la journée de conférences que sera Going Solo. Trois orateurs sont d'ores et déjà annoncés: Stowe Boyd, Suw Charman, et Martin Roell -- vous les connaissez probablement de nom. Je suis à la recherche d'autres bons orateurs, particulièrement un peu à l'extérieur de mon réseau, donc n'hésitez pas à me faire part de vos propositions!

Here we go, with the promised post. I swear I’ve been wanting to write this “tomorrow” for a few weeks now, but something always gets in the way. It’s late and I have a mighty cold, but as I promised, here I am, typing away on my chubby MacBook rather late at night (my MacBook looks chubby now because the MacBook Air has just been announced… and it’d make any laptop look overweight).

When I decided to set foot in the event business, I pretty soon had a whole bunch of ideas for conference topics. As a first, I picked the one that seemed the most exciting to me: a conference about freelancing.

As a freelancer, I’ve learnt — sometimes the hard way — that it’s not sufficient to know how to “do stuff” well to be successful in business. I think many of us freelancers are in the business because we have a passion for which there is a demand (ie, people are ready to pay for this stuff!), and we often struggle with the “business” side of being self-employed.

Going Solo is a chance to learn how to do things like set your rates, make yourself known, close deals, find clients or let them find you, explain what you do to the world, find a life-work balance, or deal with administrivia in the networked world we web people work in.

I know that the best value people usually get out of conferences is the networking and the contacts, more than the actual content of the talks. I’ve had the impression, however, that this is starting to be used as an excuse for poor content, “false advertising” of talk topics, and lousy speakers. I want none of that. Of course, I want you to come to Going Solo and meet great people, chat with colleagues, enjoy the coffee with friends, and code in the bean-bags (I want bean-bags in the lounge — anybody got any?) But I also want the content to be rich, coherent, and well-presented. After all, that is primarily what you’re paying for.

Here is an initial outline of the topics I think are important. (This doesn’t mean that these are talk titles — this is stuff I want the various talks to cover.) I’d really like to hear you if you think I’m missing stuff out or including things that are irrelevant. This is for you, after all.

  • skills a freelancer needs (doing the work, marketing and networking, contracts and cash flow)
  • fixing prices, closing deals, negotiating contracts (the hardcore businessy stuff)
  • what kind of work freelancers in the 2.0 world do (some jobs are more suitable for soloists than others)
  • marketing and taking care of one’s social capital (blogging… and being a good online citizen)
  • tools of the trade (what software/tools/methods can assist you as a freelancer?)
  • coworking and staying in touch with “colleagues” (compensating for “working alone” — we remain social animals)
  • challenges in making a passion into a job, dealing with the blurring of the life/work distinction
  • international clients, travel, different laws and tax rules, accounting
  • soloist or small business?
  • adapting to different kinds of clients (in particular, how do you deal with big corporations that you approach or who have approached you)

As you can see, there is plenty in there to keep us busy for a day!

I’m happy to announce that Suw Charman, Stowe Boyd, and Martin Roell (all three great speakers and good friends) have accepted my invitation to come and share their experience as soloists and help you benefit from what they have learned over the years. We’re still in the process of determining the exact topics they will cover in their talks, but I already wanted to let you know that they would be here in Lausanne on the 16th.

As we will have more than three speakers (four if you count me, as I’ll probably grab the microphone to say a few words ;-) ), I’m open to suggestions. If you know good speakers who could cover part of the program I’m outlining above, do let me know. I’m particularly interested in bringing in people from outside my immediate network — and for that I need you.

I hope you find this first draft of the programme as exciting as I do, and I’m looking forward to reading your feedback.

Cross-posted on the Going Solo blog.

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This entry was posted in Being the boss and tagged conference, entrepreneuring, Events, freelancing, going solo, program, programme, speakers, topics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to So, What’s Going Solo About?

  1. Pingback: So, What’s Going Solo About? « Going Solo

  2. Reza says:

    Dear Friend, A group of researchers at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, are investigating effects of Weblogs on “Social Capital”. Therefore, they have designed an online survey. By participating in this survey you will help researches in “Management Information Systems” and “Sociology”. You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this survey. It will take 5 to 12 minutes of your time. Your participation is greatly appreciated. You will find the survey at the following link. http://faculty.unlv.edu/rtorkzadeh/survey This group has already done another study on Weblogs effects on “Social Interactions” and “Trust”. To obtain a copy of the previous study brief report of findings you can email Reza Vaezi at reza.vaezi@yahoo.com.

  3. Sounds great Stephanie!

    My problem is that from the end of April till mid June I will be in The Netherlands, Brazil and Germany…

    Going-Solo is right in the middle of the most intense business period of the year for me..Damn…

    Are you planning to stream the event?

    When I read this post I thought about what we were talking about in Berlin… finally a niche conference with good content… no doubts that Going-Solo is going to bring good value and new inspiring points…

    Andrea

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