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Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?

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Joel Bialek
Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 6:15:38 pm

Hello All.

I've been using a DBA for my income whether it's been a project that I handle from beginning to end, or whether it's freelance for another studio. I'm trying to go after a lot more freelance work, and I feel like I'm at a crossroads.

I want to keep the company name and website for any clients that contact me directly. However, if I start selling myself as a freelancer as well, I would feel weird sending other studios to my company website to look at my work.

Should I set up a completely different site with a reel just for freelancing, or is it not a big deal to send other studios to my company site?

Thanks so much for any feedback.

Joel


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 6:39:17 pm

Will Shakespeare once wrote, ""What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

The bottom line is, having a company name is beneficial in some situations and your own name works better in other situations. Having the two entities give you a degree of flexibility that's not possible otherwise, and you should use that to your advantage.

So, there's no need to throw out your company, just use it selectively. I've been incorporated since 1983, and that indicates stability and credibility to anyone who bothers to investigate. However, when I freelance, I don't typically sell the company, I sell myself, and I can choose to mention the company or not depending upon the nature of of the conversation with the client. I've not had many potential clients question that.

Meanwhile, your website should reflect your position as the primary creative force behind the company. It should not be made to appear as if there are a bunch of people on-call who can be called out to do work like a plumber in the Yellow Pages.

Make sense?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

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A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Joel Bialek
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 7:18:12 pm

The flexibility does make sense. I just wanted to be sure of that before I set up a separate site for my freelance marketing.

As a follow-up financial question, do I need to then separate my freelance income from my business income for tax reasons, or can I report it all through the established business? With new studio relationships, I wouldn't invoice from my company when freelancing, but is it a problem to lump all the income into my established business checking?

I just want to get this right early on.

Thanks very much for the input David.

Joel

salt & lite productions
syracuse, ny


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walter biscardi
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 7:08:14 pm

Keep the company name. I encourage all the freelancers who work with me to meet with CPA to set up an LLC here in Georgia as generally the taxes turn out better for them at the end of the year. So most of the folks I work with all have company names instead of just their own name.

You've already invested time and effort in the name so use it. I always use the company name whether it's just myself being hired or the entire team.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

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Joel Bialek
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 7:35:28 pm

Thanks for the info Walter.

I've used the company name for all business for years, but I thought that if I send another studio to my "company" website, it would be sending the wrong message. I guess I need to tailor the site to a more personal representation?

I would love feedback on how to make my site communicate effectively to both clients and freelance opportunities. If anyone has a moment, just go to http://www.saltandlite.net

Much appreciated guys.

Joel

salt & lite productions
syracuse, ny


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walter biscardi
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 7:33:32 pm

[Joel Bialek] "I've used the company name for all business for years, but I thought that if I send another studio to my "company" website, it would be sending the wrong message. I guess I need to tailor the site to a more personal representation? "

I don't know, I haven't run in to that issue. My website is definitely all about the company, but I get freelance queries all the time too. Especially for consulting which I seem to be doing a lot of these days.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Nick Griffin
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 8:29:37 pm

I think what Walter as well as David have been saying is correct so I'll summarize and add a few of my ideas.

Bottom line, when you're being hired as a freelancer there's no way you want to come off as an alternative to the people who are hiring you. Mostly you don't want their clients to think of you as being a way to go direct and eliminate the middleman. So behave accordingly. Don't take clients away from anyone already giving you work. It's simply good ethics and good business. BTW, this includes not giving business cards to the clients of those hiring you.

Second, for any number of good reasons you should run all income through a single entity, namely your sub-S corporation or LLC. If you receive checks made out to you endorse them over to the business. That will make getting legal and proper deductions on the equipment and software you use a much more straightforward process.

Get an accountant and do it right. (And just to save your next thread from starting, get someone who will set you up with Quickbooks. You can read all about it in earlier posts and, done properly with an accountant who isn't looking for your nickels and dimes, it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.)

Yes, you probably should set up one site where it's your name and another where it's the company name. So be one of two entities when approaching clients but only one when it comes to accounting and taxes.


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Joel Bialek
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 8:39:46 pm

Thanks to all you guys; Nick, Walter, and David.

Your time and responses are very much appreciated. I'm already a Quickbooks guy, so I've got that going for me. I've always been setup as a SP and not an LLC. I'll poke around the forums for more details on that.

Thanks again for the advice.

Sincerely,

Joel Bialek

salt & lite productions
syracuse, ny


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walter biscardi
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 8:50:10 pm

Just realized you're in Syracuse. i graduated Class of '90 from Newhouse. Great campus, fun school.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Joel Bialek
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 9:02:09 pm

I forgot that I read that about you once, Walter. I was VPA. We always hated the fact that Newhouse had all the cool new toys. While the Newhouse kids were shooting on brand new VX-1000's, we were stuck with Hi8 cameras and U-Matic mastering decks!

Of course, as soon as I graduated, the entire DV revolution exploded.

...anyway, your Newhouse reminder brought a smile/sneer to my face!

Ha!

I doubt you would ever need remote artists for your stuff down in Atlanta, but if I can ever help out, let me know.

Take care,
Joel


salt & lite productions
syracuse, ny


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walter biscardi
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 12, 2009 at 11:54:30 am

[Joel Bialek] "...anyway, your Newhouse reminder brought a smile/sneer to my face! "

that's ok, I always tell everyone that I learned everything I needed to know about Video Production at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I went there for two years first and transferred to SU for the final two years. What I learned at Newhouse was I needed signed paperwork and some of my blood to enter into a studio at any time. They were not very friendly about letting students just hang out in the studios and practice for fear we would break something.

When I transferred in, my classmates hadn't even done any real work yet, they had spent two years in "theory" in the books, while I had already created music videos, commercials and documentaries at Dutchess. I was two years ahead of my classmates in terms of hands-on experience.

The only real thing I got out of SU was lighting from a great professor that used to work at the BBC. Other than that, it was an overpriced "education" whose highlight was the undefeated 1988 Football season and hanging out with Bob Costas for 4 hours. It was an awesome campus and definitely had some fun there, but as far as a television production school, I can't say that it lives up to its reputation.

[Joel Bialek] "I doubt you would ever need remote artists for your stuff down in Atlanta, but if I can ever help out, let me know. "

Our entire workflow relies on working with remote artists.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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walter biscardi
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 8:49:24 pm

[Nick Griffin] " Mostly you don't want their clients to think of you as being a way to go direct and eliminate the middleman. So behave accordingly. Don't take clients away from anyone already giving you work. It's simply good ethics and good business. BTW, this includes not giving business cards to the clients of those hiring you. "

Absolutely 100% correct. The moment you take or attempt to take a client, even if they approach you first, you will lose credibility in your area.

There are time when other editors will send clients to me when they cannot handle the work and I never allow that client to call me directly if they want to do another project in the future. They have to go through the original editor / company that set up the first contact.

Same if I go work on someone else's gear as a freelancer. I do not allow the primary client to call me in for work if it bypasses the person for whom I did the work.

You have to be ethical to continue to work in this business. I deal with unethical people from time to time and when that happens, I don't work with them again. Period.




Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Joel Bialek
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 8:40:10 pm

I completely agree. In the past, I've always redirected clients to whoever hired me originally.

Nick clarified what I was originally trying to put into words. I don't want to give even the slightest impression that I'm looking to steal clients. I just want to do good work, and get paid doing what I love to do.

Joel

salt & lite productions
syracuse, ny


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grinner hester
Re: Going freelance. Should I drop the company name?
on May 11, 2009 at 9:05:46 pm

If marketing to producers and production companies, of course it's best not to put them on guard by appearing as a competitor. If the goal is to embark on your own projects, stick that chest out and call yourself a company.
For years, I set my company up as just a freelancer catering to companies and freelancers. It did me well until it was no longer cost effective. Now, if you go to my website, I've stock my chest out a bit and I'm calling it what it is.. a turn-key production company. I have no problem at all bidding against what use to be my clientele. I could say the market brought this on. Maybe it gave it a shove but making my opwn shows was the point all along. I just got distracted by a good hourly rate making their stuff.



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