Like many web developers, designers, writers, and so on, I do freelance and consulting work on the side to supplement my income. I’ve done PHP coding, WordPress development, site audits, speaking, trainings, the list goes on and on.
It’s gotten to the scale that a few years ago I, along with a partner, formed a limited liability company, mostly for our own protection. If you are doing a large amount of freelance work, I highly recommend you explore forming a legal entity to protect yourself. There are some drawbacks, especially in terms of taxation and incoming reporting, but you should do some research. As always, YMMV.
It’s been very educational to run our company, Gas Mark 8, Ltd. I’ve learned about legal agreements, taxes, accounting, client work, and contracts. It’s been neat to work with clients around the world on all sorts of projects. It’s been great to work with Adam, my partner, who lives in the north of England. Yes, I’ve made a few business trips to England.
I’ve been slowly growing this work on the side while still doing my very demanding job running a marketing shop at a University. I just celebrated my sixth anniversary here. I love my team and our campus community, and the work is challenging, creative, and interesting, though stressful at times.
In looking at my LinkedIn profile the other day, I noticed that I’d never put GM8 on there. So, Sunday night, I added it, stating that it started in 2012 and it will still going. On the page, it appeared below my current position, and I thought nothing more of it.
That was Sunday.
On Monday, my email, phone, text and Twitter blew up. When a bunch of people arrived at work on Monday, they saw this alert:
People were surprised I was leaving John Carroll, most of all my colleagues here at JCU. Many of LinkedIn’s “Congrats” notices appeared in my inbox. I received one nice note asking if I’d be interested in interviewing at their company. Some were organizations needing custom hosting. I’ve never had so many people view my profile before.
It wasn’t all bad. One person called our marketing office, and in a voice mail to one of my team members asked if they were in charge now that I was gone. As a way to deter vendors who call constantly, it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened.
So, what happened. In looking at my profile, I noticed that I had set LinkedIn to publish all my changes. When I added my side job to LinkedIn, it assumed that was my current position. Should LinkedIn be better about checking starting dates? Perhaps.
Most importantly, be aware of this setting on the right hand side of your profile. It will turn on and off the updates LinkedIn sends out when you update your profile. Add older jobs? Turn that off. Adding a side job? Perhaps turn that off. It looks like this:
Me? I’m turning it off for now, lest I cause any more chaos in my professional network.