Was there a world before pictures of cats in funny poses had badly written english scribbled over them? I’m not sure, but I Can Has Cheezeburger is one of the most popular sites in the world. Most people who spend time online know of the LOL Cats and I will admit to spending more time than i should laughing at those silly cats.
If the LOL Cats started freelancing, here’s how it might go down…
- 1. I can haz mah monies now…gots kittehs 2 feed
- 2. U no kall me on mah mobiles at da weekendz
- 3. Freelance kitteh no werkz 4 free
- 4. Y u noes sign mah contractz, i made it speciali
- 5. I thot u sed color blue 4 backgroundz, u no change minds like dat
- 6. Needz deeposit furst b4 werkz on project
- 7. Heehee…i in ma pyjamas n i gettin paid 4 dis
- 8. Dis ur new site, noe mess it up now
- 9. Logo cost more dan tin of kitteh foodz, 4 ur infomations
- 10. Freelance kitteh no gives discountz
We are first and foremost a service industry and as such deserved to be paid like any other service professional. However this point still misses certain clients who feel it’s perfectly acceptable to permanently “forget” to pay their invoice.
It’s important because of this to get a deposit before work begins and to invoice in stages throughout the project to cut down the chances of this happening. You should have a specified acceptable pay period and a penalty clause for late payments in your contract. You do have a contract…don’t you?!
I’m as guilty as the next freelancer for working over the weekends at certain points (when it’s mission critical), however I don’t make this a habit as it’s essential that i relax and recharge my creative batteries.
It’s not uncommon though for clients to forget you have a life outside of work (and set business hours) and expect you to work over the weekends to finish their project. It’s important whatever hours you work, to set boundaries and not allow your work to take over your home life.
Too often potential clients ask for a mock-up of a project before they decide which designer to go with. It’s spec work and it doesn’t fly in any other industry, yet it still pervades the web industry.
It’s a design lottery and if you don’t get chosen you’ve just wasted your time and effort for a job you only had a CHANCE of getting. If you do get the job your saying to the client your happy to work for free, which is never a great way to start any type of business relationship (if indeed they become a repeat client).
Working without a contract is a dangerous path to follow for any freelancer. You need a contract in place to protect yourself and to let your clients know exactly what they’re getting from you.
As a freelancer, you need to make sure that you are protecting your own rights to your work, and that there are no disagreements. Don’t just rely on the promises and ‘good word’ of potential clients, get it in writing. It’s not a practical way to do business, it may never be necessary to use them because most people do stick by their word, but you should always have them in case that rare case occurs when you do need to refer back to it.
Never ending revision requests can quickly suck the profit out of a project and leave you feeling tired and over-worked. We want to give great customer service and make sure our clients are happy but not at the expense of our health and business.
Remind the client of the original terms of the project, and (if you don’t have one already), you should incorporate a revision clause into your contract that mandates the client pays you for revisions.
To put this in perspective, if you changed the plans for your house half-way through it being built, do you think the builders would do all this extra work for free?
Getting a deposit is important to protect both your time and work. A deposit has a three-fold effect, it:
* Prevents you from being stiffed
* Eases your cash flow
* Shows good faith
Ask upfront and if your client balks, use your best judgement. Personally iâ€™ve never had a single client turn down a request for a deposit. I require 50% up front (for smaller projects its 35%). It’s an assurance from the client they are serious about the project.
One of the biggest misconceptions about freelancers is that we all sit around drinking coffee in our PJ’s while we mess about in photoshop (insert your program of choice here) and then collect the paychecks.
Simply put this just isn’t the case for most freelancers, we work hard and take our business seriously – which means yes…we brush our teeth, shower and get dressed. (We do love our coffee though!)
You’ve just handed over the finished website to the client, perhaps trained them in how to update and maintain it. Four days later you receive a phone call from said client saying their website “isn’t working and need’s fixed”.
You eventually find out the client has edited the wrong files and the site now looks like something from circa 1995.
Creating a unique, compelling and powerful brand isn’t just a matter of throwing around a few shapes in illustrator or Photoshop. Each logo goes through various stages of research, brainstorming, development, feedback and changes.
A logo is the summation of your brand’s qualities and values and is not something to throw $50 at and expect to perfectly capture your companies ethos.
Unless you are a valuable repeat client, do not expect a discount. We are not a discount warehouse, you do not get money off for first time purchases or if you buy in bulk. Overall those asking for large or repeated discounts do not appreciate the value of your service or time.
It should be noted that i am not down on clients at all, I have a great relationship with the super cool people and companies i work with, this is simply an overview of some of the stereotypes and typical situations that most freelancers have encountered at some point through their careers.
Have you encountered any of these situations, if so please share!
Please remember LOL Cats take freelancing very seriously and will not make your logo bigger….
Photo by Brownpau