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Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – May 26, 2013

May 26th, 2013 Comments off

Jobs offered

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – May 26, 2013

  • Exemplis (Orange County, CA) is hiring
  • Corporate Controller (Irvine)
  • UTA Listings for 05-07-2013
  • Part-time Sales (Retail)
  • Part-time Sales (Retail) CORRECTED EMAIL
  •  Electrical Engineers (Irvine/Pacific Northwest Region)
  • Assistant to Executive Producer
  • Administrative Assistant/Receptionist, SF Valley Rescue Mission

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions and past listings

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

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Archive: Does someone else own your work? — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

May 25th, 2013 Comments off

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Do you really own the rights to your great new invention? How about the copyright of your latest novel? What about the first novel you wrote while you were in college? If you don’t pay close attention to patent and copyright policies of your schools and your workplace, you could be in for a very ugly surprise.

This week, while attending the monthly Geek Dinner here in Los Angeles, I met a young gentleman who developed a system for random number generation. In fact, this system was so important you may have read about him on Slashdot and other online news sources. During our conversation, an interesting fact came out. Despite the fact that he had developed this system himself, he did not own the rights to patent. He could not license the information and, in some ways, was even prevented from talking about the patent except in the vaguest terms. While he is able to exploit his discoveries in other ways, the fact is, his university owns all the rights because he was a student there at the time he developed his system.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

The concept that a university could own the rights to your creative endeavors gave me food for thought. I have dealt with the copyright issues involved when I was writing while still in a corporate job, but I hadn’t thought about it lately. Since I work for myself, there is very little occasion when I fall under the typical work-for-hire stipulations that you find in many contracts. So, I sat down with the usual online resources and began investigating the policies at several well-known universities.

Who?

One of the first items I noticed is, many university policies on patent and copyright at one time only applied to the administration, faculty and staff of the university. Students, it seems, were exempted unless they were also employees of the school. Several policies though have since been amended to add both graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the policy, as well, probably because their fellowships qualify them as being on the payroll of the university. In my basic research, though, I didn’t turn up any policy that applied to undergraduate students. So there are no worries about the university owning those bad poems you wrote freshman year.

What this policy review shows, though, is that you need to be very aware of the policies that apply to you and your work, whether in an academic forum or in a corporate workplace. While these policies are similar in many ways, individual businesses can often have stricter policies. In some cases, companies can try to declare all work produced while you are employed, both inside and outside the workplace, as work-for-hire and therefore property of the company.

What to look for?

If you have substantial creative work that is produced outside your day-to-day job, you should contact your company’s legal department and get a clear understanding of the policies that might effect you. If you are being offered a job with a company, you will want to investigate these policies before agreeing to take the position. Otherwise, you might find yourself handing over your creative rights to your new company. In fact, if you have already created a substantial invention that might be patentable, or written a copyrightable work, you may need to explicitly exclude this from any hiring agreement in order to protect yourself. If you fail to do so, you might be in for a long road of litigation in the future.

Such thoughts about patents and copyrights rarely entered the minds of most workers in the past, unless they were high-level chemists or engineers who might create entirely new concepts or materials. Today, though, it is a rare worker who doesn’t have outside interests and outside projects that might, one day, turn into a product or service worth millions of dollars. Whenever large amounts of money are involved, strict policies about who receives that money are sure to be found. Don’t be blindsided by the policies of your school or business when it comes to patents and copyright. Your future career success depends on the continued ownership of your creative works and the income they may generate. You want your work to enrich your life and expand your career, not the bottom line of your employer.

***

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What you need: Business Skills with finance, sales and people — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

May 21st, 2013 Comments off

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When we talk about careers, we often talk about your knowledge, your skills, your deep understanding of the work you do. While this is certainly important, there can be another aspect of career that is lacking in many of us. No matter how well we know our work, if we don’t also have some basic business skills it can make our career much more difficult.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  
 

Finances

What business skills do you need to succeed? First and more importantly, you need to understand money, cash flow and budgeting. If you can’t understand and manage how much cash is coming in and how much cash is going out, you will forever struggle in both your life and career. While there are times in all our lives when you will carry some debt, crushing levels of debt can stunt your career before it ever gets started. Heavy debt can often cause you to make the wrong decisions about your careers at the wrong times. I often see people who remain in bad jobs far too long mainly because they don’t think they can afford to go anywhere else. Even a short break in earning and their debt threatens to consume them. Debt shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your life and career. It limits your possibilities and, in some cases, can lock you into a cycle of bad jobs, for bad pay, that make it very difficult to escape from your debt.

Monitor your income and your expenses closely and carefully. There are a host of programs and web sites that can assist you and many are free. There really isn’t an excuse anymore. Sure, even I had difficulty reconciling my accounts using the old paper methods, but with the help of some financial software like Quicken and others, I can reconcile my accounts to the penny every month. Even more, I can monitor how much I spend on various categories over time. Nothing can be quite so striking as to see how much money you spend on eating out, but many of us never take the time capture that information and use it to our advantage.

Sales

Another important business skill to learn and use is sales and promotion. If you want to make money in your career, either as an employee or freelancer, you need to be able to sell yourself and your skills to your “clients.” For myself, this has always been one of the most difficult tasks and yet one of the most important. You can’t bring in income if no one knows “what you do and how well you do it.” You have to spread the word about yourself and your work so that jobs, projects and other opportunities can find you. Don’t limit yourself by only looking for work when you need that next job. Always be sharing your work and seeking out those opportunities that come your way. I often say to myself and others, “If there is money on the table, figure out some way to pick it up.”

For me, this is the antithesis of the stereotypical, high-pressure, sales process. Sales isn’t something you do at a particular time or place, but rather something that is integrated into every day and every action you take. Thankfully, the invention of social media, podcasting, online video and other tools has allowed me an avenue for sales that better fits my sensibilities and needs. It has also allowed me to integrate sales into everything I do so that I don’t feel that familiar fear of “Sales” with a capital S that so many of us dread.

People

People are often the most confusing, most obtuse, most troubling part of any career or business. Humans are inherently “messy” creatures who often do things for no apparent reason (at least to other humans), or work against their own best interest and, for the worst of them, try to take advantage of other humans at every opportunity. While this may sound depressing, it is also best to remember that there are also many people who are organized, skillful, smart and caring. Of course, these are the people you want to bring into your life, career and business.

For me, there is a certain amount of “gut feeling” that goes into deciding who I work with and who I work for. If you are attuned to it, people often give you very clear signals about who they are and what is important to them. While snap judgements aren’t always the best judgements, there will be times when it is perfectly clear whether you should work with someone.

The trouble is, we often ignore these signs. You discount what you are feeling about someone because you are pressed for time or pressed for money or simply aren’t paying enough attention. This can lead you into bad situations — with bad people. You end up working with others who find no problem in taking shortcuts in their work, even if it harms the customer or client. You hire people who will take advantage of both clients and yourself if given the opportunity. Be aware of the traps that can be found in human relations. Again, there are lots of great people out there, but if you don’t actively seek them out, you may find yourself saddled with people who don’t share your values or goals and this will greatly restrain your success. If you truly want to succeed in your career, you need to become a keen viewer of other people and human nature in general and react accordingly.

Ignore your business skills at your peril. Trying to develop a great career without them is difficult, if not outright impossible. No matter how good your skills, how creative your ideas or how wonderful your projects, if you don’t have a handle on the fundamentals of business, you will constantly struggle.

***

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Archive: The Stall — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

May 18th, 2013 Comments off

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No matter who you are, or what you do, there will be times when your thoughts will feel scattered. Too many ideas, competing for too little time. Your thoughts simply go around and around and you can’t seem to choose any one item on which to focus. I call this painful state — “the stall.” You are so overwhelmed with it all that you stop — dead in your tracks. Your anxiety rises as your productivity falls until it seems you will never escape.

How do I know so much about the stall? Well, it was what I was experiencing right before I started writing this column. As you already know, real life has a way of intruding on our work and I am no exception. In fact, since I have so many differing aspects to my work — computer consulting, writing, volunteer projects — it seems to be a regular occurrence. The more you do, the more life will intrude. This week my parents are in town on their yearly visit and I am sitting at my son’s baseball game as I write. Too many things pulling me in too many directions. There is a way to breakthrough the stall, though and the fact that you are reading this column at all shows that I found a couple of methods to do just that.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

Do something

When you are stalled it is not important what you do. You simply need to do something. If you want to get moving again, you have to choose one task, no matter how mundane and do it. Sometimes I find it best to pick a task totally at random from my to-do list. Worrying about priorities and deadlines can just lead you deeper in the stall. I don’t care if your random choice happens to be “clean out the cat litter,” — don’t think about it, just get up and do it. Once you complete this first task, you will find that the momentum will keep building. Maybe you will choose another random task. You might even find that your thinking has started to clear and you know exactly what you should work on next. Just like getting a car out of a snow bank, once you get the car moving, keeping it moving gets easier and easier.

Make a list

While sometimes we are hit with the stall because we have too much to do, it can also happen when we don’t know enough about what we need to do. As a devotee of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, it has been made clear to me that if we don’t have a handle on everything we need to do we can also end up stuck. We can get lost in worry that, no matter what we might be doing now, there is something more important that we have forgotten.

One of Allen’s central premises is that of gathering all your “open loops” into one, central trusted location, so you can feel reasonably secure that you know everything you could be doing at any time. Of course, when I recommend this to those who come seeking advice, I often see panic in their eyes when I suggest they try to collect every single item they need to do. They say, “What? If I gather up everything I need to do I’ll just be more stressed. There’s too much. I’ll be more stalled than when I started.”

I can tell you from personal experience, though, that once you have collected everything you should be doing, you will feel better. It may sound counterintuitive, but much of the stress generating by too much to do in too little time is caused by being unsure of exactly what you have to do. If you know everything you could be doing at any point in time, you are in a better position to logically and rationally select the best thing to be doing. Then you’ll be able to pull one task from the list and get to work.

Stop

There will be times, though, when none of this works. You have chosen randomly, you have listed everything, but still the anxiety and guilt of the stall will eat away at you. In these crisis times, the best thing you can do is give in. Take the stall as an indication that you are at your breaking point and simply stop trying to force your work…at least for a short time. Get a cup of coffee. Listen to some music. Go for a long walk. Whatever it takes to get away from the pressure. You can’t do this forever, of course. Eventually, you will need to re-engage with your work, but you will come back to the task refreshed and better equipped to face the work.

Don’t let the stall get in the way of your work. Randomly chose work until you can gain enough momentum to keep moving. Get a better grip on everything you need to do. Take some time away. Use these tools to get you out of the stall, keep your work on track and your career moving in the right direction.

***

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Showing your clients the way — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

May 13th, 2013 Comments off

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Part of any great career, regardless of industry, focus or technology, is the ability to remember what it was like to not know something. As we gain knowledge and skills in our work, we can come to think of others as ignorant and clueless, if not outright stupid. This is a danger zone for any careerist as it leads to arrogance, hubris and — in many cases — obnoxious behavior. We can begin to think we are the smartest folks in the room and everyone else is an idiot. Of course, it only takes one bad day, one bad project, one bad result to bring us crashing back to reality.


 
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It is always important to remember that our co-workers, managers and freelance clients are rarely ever stupid. Rather, they are simply unacquainted and unfamiliar with the work they hired you to do. They know they need it done, but they also know they lack the skills to make it happen. This is a point in their favor. They are practicing the great rule of knowing what they don’t know and seeking out your assistance. That is never to be taken lightly.

For example, in a recent project I was asked to record and produce a series of interviews for a client. Their original thought was to record each subject, individually, in their homes or offices, over the course of one day. Hearing this, Some consultants might have said to them, “Are you crazy or just stupid? Do you know the work involved in setting up lighting and sound equipment, recording, tearing down and moving to a new location only to reset it all and tear it all down again?” The answer is, no they did not know. They don’t do this for a living and had no deep understanding of the work involved. This isn’t their area of expertise and frankly, they probably didn’t need to know this information to do their job. Remember, this is why clients call you.

To our credit, we didn’t respond in the way above, but rather saw this as an opportunity to educate and help them develop the project they wanted without blowing out our energy and their budget. We explained how it would be much easier to bring the people to a central location over the course of a few days so we could do one setup and teardown, but still record between 4-6 interviews in each session. Once we explained the logistics of such a project, they immediately saw how much easier — and yet more productive — this approach would be. Until we took the time to explain the process and procedures involved, they really had no idea what they were asking.

Again, this didn’t come from a place of stupidity, but rather a lack of understanding of the steps that led to the finished product they had in their mind. This is so typical when developing projects either internally or working as an outside consultant. Your clients see the finished product in their mind, but they may have no idea of all the work and preparation needed to get there. This is where your knowledge, skills and ability to educate become so very important. If you don’t have the ability to see beyond what you might think of as a “stupid question” you risk losing the entire project.

That fact is, I often describe myself as being an non-traditional educator. Everything I do, in all my work, involves some sort of education. I just don’t spend that much of my time in what would be considered a traditional classroom. Rather I tend to work one-to-one with partners, co-workers and clients, teaching them skills and helping them move forward with their own abilities. Great teaching — and great work — does not come from a place of arrogance. It comes from a deep understanding of both my own skills and the needs of my clients. They need to understand. They need to learn. They need to be made to feel comfortable and safe so they can take the risks of learning new skills and, in some cases, feeling “stupid” in front of someone else. Arrogance can crush this fragile relationship and leave you wondering where your clients, and your money, went.

Know what you know and know what you don’t know. And know what your clients know and don’t know. Develop your skills and knowledge, but never forget what it feels like to “not know.” Remember how you felt in the past and you will develop a greater knowledge of and empathy with your clients. This then paves the way for great things both you in your own career and for your clients. Educate, illuminate and then create. Your clients need you, your skills and your knowledge.

***

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Registration is now open for CareerCampSCV 2013 – July 13, 2013

May 13th, 2013 Comments off

REGISTER FOR CAREERCAMPSCV 2013 TODAY TO INSURE YOUR SPOT!

Our fourth CareerCampSCV (Santa Clarita Valley) is happening on July 13th, 2013 and tickets are available starting today. We hope to see you there!

Unemployed? Underemployed? New college graduate? Considering new career options?

Join us for CareerCampSCV 2013!

When: Saturday, July 13, 2013 9AM to 3:30PM

Where: 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road Santa Clarita, CA 91355

FREE Admission • FREE Parking

Directions

College of the Canyons Career Center presents CareerCampSCV, a FREE  unconference dedicated to helping you build the career you deserve. The day will include scheduled speakers, ad hoc presentations and breakout ses- sions on all aspects of building your career. CareerCamp is FREE for all adults who want to build or improve their career. Space is Limited. Register for FREE today. For more information, a list of scheduled speakers and additional career content

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – May 12, 2013

May 12th, 2013 Comments off

Jobs offered

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – May 12, 2013

  • Curriculum Specialist (Sebastopol, CA)
  • Principal, Mariposa School of Global Education
  • Las Virgenes School District is looking for counselors-Application deadline is May 14
  • Medical Assistant, Plastic Surgery Office (Westlake Village)
  • Personal Assistant to High Profile Actor
  • Talent Assistant, Management/Production Company
  • Part-time Social Media and Office Manager/Assistant
  • Call Center – Customer Service (Health Care) – Paid Training Coventry Health Care – Scottsdale, Arizona (Phoenix)
  • Music Studio Instructors, Join the Band
  • Speech/OT Therapist

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions and past listings

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

Archive: A Critical Eye On Advice – from the Career Opportunities Podcast

May 11th, 2013 Comments off

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There is a wealth of career advice and information available today via books, television and the Internet. Most is given in the sincere hope of improving the lives of others. It is important to draw on this advice to improve your life and career whenever possible. I am constantly reading reams of material every week, looking for ideas to keep my career on track. Despite all that, there can be a dark side to career advice if you don’t think deeply and clearly about the advice you decide to implement.

The truth is, when faced with an expert, a guru, a respected member of our industry, we run the danger of accepting every thought, every rule, every idea as fact. Self-growth isn’t about accepting every idea unconditionally, though. It is much more important to find ideas that hold a resonance for us, personally. Even with the most knowledgeable experts, not every concept will be a gem. It is up to you to sort the wheat from the chaff, whether expert advice comes from a renowned speaker, a book or the Internet.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

The Rules

Of all the advice given by experts, including yours truly, I first turn my critical eye to any hard, unbreakable rules. Advice that uses words like “must” and “never” is suspect to me and deserves special attention. It is a rare piece of advice that remains true forever. Rules, if they are useful at all, are fleeting. Work, business and your career change in substantial ways every day. Rules that might have been applicable today, could be obsolete tomorrow. While experts seek to find the universal truths in their areas of expertise, the world does not stand still. Any attempt to assign unbreakable rules will eventually fail. The world has a way of rendering much obsolete, even when created by some of our best thinkers. Who would have thought 30 years ago that CEOs would regularly dress in turtlenecks and polo shirts to give some of the biggest speeches of their lives?
From the gut

There is another phenomenon which is especially disheartening. Sometimes, when taking advice, we will start to ignore our own best instincts, our own “gut level” reactions. Regardless of how we receive advice, or from whom, if that advice goes against our own basic instincts, we will fail to implement that advice properly. It is impossible to whole-heartedly follow a plan of action if we don’t believe in that action to our very core. We may try to fool ourselves into believing, but our instincts will always win out in the end.

The most likely reason we don’t believe is that our instincts are telling us the advice is flawed, even if we can’t consciously put our finger on the reason why. I am sure you have felt it before; that creeping sense of uncertainty; that gnawing sense of doubt. These are warning signs and should be observed as such. There is some missing piece that needs to be discovered and analyzed. Maybe the advice isn’t a good fit for your company. Maybe it goes against some personal ethical belief. Maybe it has simply become obsolete in today’s work world. Whatever the reason, when you have doubts, you must explore them and quiet them before you ever try to implement new advice. If not, you will end up sabotaging your own efforts in the most subtle of ways.

The Trap

There is one final trap when taking advice from friends, managers or experts. If you are not careful, they can end up running, and possibly ruining, your career. When we begin to accept advice unconditionally, we give up control. We let others take over the direction and speed of our career. This often means that someone else is leading you to a destination they desire more than you do. Without thinking critically about advice, there is a danger that your decisions can become a series of automatic responses that serves no one well.

You might sense yourself on this track if too much of your life is taken up with defending a particular expert, concept or way of life. If you invest your own success too deeply in an external source, you can feel threatened when those around you, or even life experience itself, doesn’t agree. Instead of using the advice to help you build a better life, you spend your days trying to protect it in the face of mounting contradictions and attacks. There must be a balance or you will find yourself trapped in a downward spiral built by your failure to think critically about ideas.

Be very careful about the advice you accept and implement. Think critically about each and every piece and never (oh my, there’s that word) accept it unconditionally. While advice can certainly help you build your career, it can also take you down the wrong path, if you let it. We have a brain in order to allow us to think, not simply parrot one idea or another. Thinking critically about your work and your life is just one way to build your career.

***

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Jobs Available – Listings of all types at Jobs.WelchWrite.com – Search by keyword and location

May 5th, 2013 Comments off

Looking for a job? There are a host of job listings available on Jobs.WelchWrite.com every day.

Enter the keywords you are searching for and your location to get fresh and focused listings.

Career jobs

Jobs.WelchWrite.com

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Archive: Getting Paid — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

May 3rd, 2013 Comments off

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Over my years as a freelance computer consultant, I’ve heard many stories of workers who have difficulty getting paid for their work. There can be disagreements about whether a project has been completed, claims of cash-flow problems or even, at the worst, simple fraud. Sometimes companies or individuals can be slow to pay invoices or, when they grudging pay, complain about the quality of your services. There are, it seems, a myriad ways to not get paid for your work.

After talking with my peers about payment problems, it seems I have had it easy. Where they might have experienced several issues with payment, I might have had one. It seems that, often, payment issues have more to do with how we do business, rather than any particular type of client.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

Over the years, I have found that part of the secret of getting paid is to act like you expect to be paid. This might sound a bit odd, but I have seen workers who are not confident in their work and offer a host of apologies and excuses, even when they are completing the assigned task in a better than average fashion. They don’t have respect for their own work, and this spills over, often unconsciously, to their clients. This makes it easy for clients to request change after change without additional payment. These clients will often let invoices sit unpaid for weeks or months, considering others more worthy of payment. In the worst cases, it may take threats of legal action or more to get paid.

If you want to get paid, reliably, for your work, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow.

* State your rate, confidently, at the beginning of the relationship

Make sure that your clients know your rates and payment requirement before performing any work. Nothing is worse that having a client question your rate after you have already performed significant work. You may never see the payment for that work, even if the client has benefited significantly.

Don’t apologize for your rates, either. There will always be those who cannot afford your rate, especially as you gain experience. In many cases, the only resource you have to sell is your time and your knowledge. Discounting your rate either shows a lack of confidence in your own work or a belief that you have mis-priced your work.

"Big Money"

* Carefully specify projects, deliverables, change order processes and payment plans

If you are working on a long-term project, your project plan must contain a detailed account of deliverables, and the payments associated with those deliverables. Payments should be on-going, at regular intervals. A detailed change-order process should be in place to allow changes as the project develops, but also provide payment plans for this additional work.

It might sound like an enormous amount of work, but if you launch a project without carefully specifying your rates, payments and change order process, you are almost guaranteed to lose money. You are setting yourself up for disagreements over the original specification, the change orders and even whether the project is complete in everyone’s mind.

* Don’t extend credit until a relationship is established

In my own business, I ask for payment at the end of each service call, either by check or cash. As I develop a relationship with the client, especially in small business environment, I might eventually move them to a monthly statement. I only do this, though, once they have established the ability, and desire, to pay. To be honest, since I always apply the 2 previous guidelines in all my work, this is usually not an issue. Those clients who show any issues with payment are quickly abandoned. There is no reason you should have to deal with payment issues. It only saps the strength of your business and damages your own confidence in your work.

The final truth is, payment problems in our businesses are usually of our own making. If we don’t price our services correctly, or don’t have confidence that our rates are fair and appropriate, we send out subtle signals that allow less than scrupulous clients to take advantage. Specify your larger projects so that payments and change orders limit opportunities for disagreement. These few simple guidelines can help you build your business and your career by showing your clients that you expect to be paid for your good work — something any worker has a right to expect.

***

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