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Working for Yourself - Book Review

Stephen Fishman brings a goldmine of information for the self-employed professional to life in "Working for Yourself: Law and Taxes for the Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants". From how to set up your business to naming your website, pros and cons of home offices, to tons of info on legal issues like permits and insurance issues (health, liability, disability, property, car, workers' comp and more), this book is the small business owner's encyclopedia of quick answers.

The Table of Contents previews chapter titles as well as topic sections within the chapters. Each chapter has a content page which further breaks down info in the chapter. Plus there is an extensive index. All this makes this an easy to search reference manual. The book is 10.7 inches by 8.4 inches, allowing for print that's a little larger and easier to read.Each page is formatted into two columns, which also makes it easier to read.

Chapter Titles are as follows:

1 - Working for Yourself: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
2 - Choosing the Legal Form for Your Business
3 - Choosing and Protecting Your Business Name
4 - Home Alone or Outside Office?
5 - Obtaining Licenses, Permits, and Identification Numbers
6 - Insuring Your Business and Yourself
7 - Pricing Your Services and Getting Paid
8 - Taxes and the Self-Employed
9 - Reducing Your Income Taxes
10 - The Bane of Self-Employment Taxes
11 - Paying Estimated Taxes
12 - Rules for Salespeople, Drivers and Clothing Producers
13 - Taxes for Workers You Hire
14 - Record Keeping and Accounting Made Easy
15 - Safeguarding Your Self-Employed Status
16 - Retirement Options for the Self-Employed
17 - Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets
18 - Using Written Client Agreements
19 - Crafting Your Own Client Agreement
20 - Reviewing a Client's Agreement
21 - Help Beyond This Book

There are also Two Appendixes. The first one is "Forms and Documents" (with full-size photocopy-able forms for an asset log, an expense journal, an income journal and an invoice). There area also other helpful forms throughout the book, including one on figuring your hourly rates. The second appendix is "Sample Agreements" (which includes a general independent contractor agreement, a contract agreement and a nondisclosure agreement). These agreements can also be photocopied, but you'll probably just want to use the verbiage to customize your own agreements.

Law and taxes are, for most self-employed professionals, akin to going to the dentist. But, like flossing, they are necessary evils. Even if you can afford to outsource these things, you must have a basic understanding of the very backbone of running a business. It can be overwhelming to tackle learning these things for most of us. This book makes it as painless as possible to get that information because it is simplified and written in language you can understand. Things like depreciation and patents and self-employment taxes and insurance can seem daunting, but like most things, once find a good resource, it's easier than you first thought. I believe this book is such a resource.

Of course, no one book can answer every question you might have, and your individual circumstances and situations might occasionally require more information than is provided here. But in most cases, you'll find this book the one you keep handy when doing tasks that require additional legal knowledge of things like accounting, taxes, contracts and record keeping. If you do outsource many of these things, this book will help you perform the necessary checks and balances to ensure the professionals you hire are doing things correctly. As a business owner, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure your business is operating legally and this book can help ensure you can do that.

Author Stephen Fishman is an attorney and an author of several NOLO books. NOLO has a long history of publishing books that make legal jargon understandable for the rest of us and this book is no exception. You will find the information here clearly explained and in many cases, illustrated with helpful examples. When I read this book, I wished I'd had it when I started my business. It would have made things so much easier for me back then, and I find myself looking things up in it often, and I've had my business for five years now. Highly recommended for anyone who is or wants to be their own boss.

Buy Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants.

Amazon provided this review copy to me free of charge.

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