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Although at times it feels like the page count is being padded by overly wordy explanations, overall this is an absolute must-have resource - especially this most recent edition which includes information of the significant tax changes that took effect in 2018.
The writing is so clear, the information so well explained, that this author has a dedicated fan for life in me. As long as I remain self-employed, I will immediately buy every new edition of this book that is released, and I'll be seriously looking into any other books the author puts out.
OVERFLOWING with information!! It’s almost like NOLO wants you to succeed. Lol I bought this along with their book “Deduct It!” Their website even gives you free forms to start out with in your entrepreneurial journey/business. This is a company I trust
I knew nothing about starting a small business until I read this book . The book is very well written and very easy to read, no complicated business, law jargon. I now feel comfortable in starting my future LLC.
I started my freelance writing business about 7 months ago. I wish I'd had this book when I started as it would have saved me lots of time doing research on the web to answer my questions, such as:
* Should I form an LLC or a corporation? What is the difference? * What do I have to do about taxes? * How should I figure out a price for my services? (learned the hard way and very much undervalued my services).
There is a lot of information in this book. Not all of it will apply to everyone, but some it will apply to everyone who is working for themselves -- either as a freelancer, contractor, or a gig worker.
For me, the most helpful sections were:
* Getting an understanding of how your taxes change when you're self-employed--including what you can and can't deduct * Learning a bit more about developing an accounting system * Pricing services * Developing client agreements (includes downloadable forms as part of the book)
The book also did a good job explaining the "good, bad, and ugly" side of working for yourself. I think most people think it is a walk in the park (I'll get to work at home in my pajamas every day!!!), but it is a lot work and it all falls on you. Plus you need to become familiar with all aspects of running a business, which I don't think everyone who would be good working as a freelancer or contractor might necessarily know. I do think working for yourself can be more rewarding, but I'm nowhere near being able to support myself or my family -- I can only do this because my husband earns enough money to keep the family afloat.
Overall, I think this is a worthwhile book for anyone who works as a freelancer, contractor or gig worker. The book does cover the new tax law, which fortunately provides the self-employed with some additional help that helps to offset that punishing self-employment tax! I know I will be referring to this book in the future.
I have been a consultant since 1975 while normally holding a part time or full time job in addition to my consulting. While living in CT I had to endure nearly yearly audits because of this, a situation that eventually drove me to move to Colorado.
I wish I had read this book before starting my company. I would have done many things differently. Both federal and state government seem to make life as difficult as possible for those self employed and after reading chapters 1 and 2, you will realize the problems. But it will also point out the advantages, some of which are not obvious at first.
This is a long book and after reading it I could make a list of things that I wish had been covered in more detail. But I learned a lot. The key thing is that this book is best used by people in the process of starting up a small business rather than someone who has been doing it for many years. I found I had done most of what was recommended, but purely by luck or necessity.
Chapters 8, 9 and 10 were enormously useful to me as they provided a perspective on the tax issues that are critical to anyone running their own business. I pay $800 a year to have my business taxes done for me, and despite this I do not take advantage of many of the tax advantages available to small business owners. Tax accountants are only creative if you give them the necessary information. They rarely go out of their way to help you find additional tax savings, at least not at $800/year. I will now save at least $1000/year in taxes after reading chapters 8, 9 and 10.
The only thing not properly covered in this book are patents. I have many patents but I realize I am in the vast minority of small business owners. This book provides very little information on the patent process but chapter 17 does provide enough information for readers to decide whether they need a patent or a copyright to protect them. It is a brief but useful discussion and will help you make the decision. I have reviewed a few patent books on Amazon, but my strongest recommendation is to discuss these issues with a patent attorney first. Patents are so expensive, and unless you patent in China (which I have done), you are not protected as they can and do aggressively sell other peoples intellectual property and at a bargain price. So use chapter 17 as an introduction to see if you need a patent. But copyrights are much easier to deal with and this chapter covers them adequately.
In summary, this is the best book I have found for the small business owner or self-employed person. It is strongly recommended.
This is an excellent resource for freelance writers or other independent contractors in various fields who want to learn more about the legalities related to their profession. A book that can be read cover-to-cover or as needed, jumping around from chapter to chapter.
There are lots of good tips that while common sense for some, will be news to others. For example, open a credit card for business purposes only.
Information, as it relates to the IRS, is where this book shines. Breaking down terms and seeing charts to simplify things like IRS Worker Status, are very helpful.
Admittedly, some if not all of the information in this book can be found online...somewhere. The problem is, who has time to research it all, and who can remember it even if they find it? I can't. Thus this book is a great find and a concise, comprehensive resource I'm pleased to have in my possession.
Highly recommend it!
NOTE: There are some free downloadable forms mentioned in the back of the book, but they are minimal. There is a Free Forms Library link on the Nolo website, however, most of those do not relate to subject matter in this book.
I've occasionally done independent contractor work over the years, and I found many facts I could have used in this book. For example, as a software engineer, what can I add to a contract to retain property rights over the utility routines I use in all my software.
This is a very dry read, and often redundant, as it will tell you many times the same fact, like make sure you put an arbitration clause in your contract. Some attempt to lighten it up is provided with short anecdotal examples, but it is a tough slog.
For people looking to know if they need to buy this book as a refresher; it seems like the most fluid area was in Federal taxes, as the new tax law of 2018 makes massive changes to deduction and depreciation, as well as issues with the health care mandate being zeroed out. I'm trying to get my wife to read select chapters as she is still claiming tax expertise from the time over a decade ago when she took the H&R Block tax preparer's course.
Probably something every small business owner should read.
I have read and used several Nolo books through the years, and they are all incredibly solid, thorough, and reliable. This book is no exception. It covers not only the obvious areas of being self-employed; it also goes into the stuff that many of us would just as soon forget about the financial and legal aspects of setting up and maintaining a business. The very first chapter ("Working for Yourself: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) lays out exactly one's responsibilities are, and what follows is a wealth of information (hopefully way more than we need to keep things moving forward) about every conceivable aspect of working for oneself, including things like deciding on pricing; insurance; whether a home office is a good idea; the dreaded taxes; copyrights; client agreements; liability; bookkeeping; etc. etc. etc. I am so impressed with this book, and I am so happy to have it ready for quick reference as needed. Most highly recommended.