Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Bor Klemenc Mencin, freelancer
Going into this freelance thing many of my comrades forewarned me about hitting two major hurdles: securing work and actually getting paid for said work. I’ve heard loads of different stories, but none scared me as much as the ones where people got completely cut-off when it was time for clients to pick up the tab.
You might imagine these “deals” coming from shady microbusinesses, unlucky startups or agencies looking to do some spec work, but you’d be surprised that even some well-respected brands tend to dabble in this practice. Just imagine working your ass off on a project for a company you like, putting in long hours and even presenting your idea in person, just to get snubbed the moment you mention finances…
Fortunately, this sort of thing is rare. The more common fuck-up that may result in you losing sleep is that you have to wait for months on end to get the money you’re owed (usually leaving behind a bloody trail of unanswered reminder emails and unpleasant calls). This is why I chose to heed some of Mike Monteiro’s advice.
In order to prevent being served these types of shit sandwiches, I decided to set up some checks. So without further ado, I present you with my “Le-Shit-Sandwich-Prevention” procedure:
- when contacted, try to discuss the project in detail
- always have your deals in writing
- try to secure signed contracts whenever possible, especially if the person at the other end is someone you don’t know
- don’t be shy to disscuss money matters before you decide to take on a project
- set the payment deadline when finalizing the agreement
These may seem obvious, but many of the people I talked to tend to ignore most of them. This is fine if you trust the person on the other side or know somebody that has had a positive experience dealing with them. But that’s not always the case. Generally, these procedures are considered a nuisance and it’s not hard to see why.
Talking about money is wrapped in an aura of awkwardness. Writing up a contract for a couple of hundred euros may seem straight up mental. And why would you want to have it writing if they just told you what they need over the phone??
But I look at it this way: sure, I may get a few raised eyebrows when insisting on signing a contract (happened to me literally a few weeks ago), but it beats having to remind them to pay up day in, day out. Furthermore, it makes you seem professional and has the added psychological value of “officiality” (even if you know full-well that suing someone over a couple of hundred euros won’t even make it to the courthouse these days). Following these steps also creates word-of-mouth about how you do business, filtering out any would-be shit starters in the process. Not to mention it provides you with the satisfaction of simply letting go when a beautiful project comes to fruition.
Speaking of beautiful projects, I have to tell you about this one. Got a call, requested a follow-up email, came in to sign the contract, made a killing for just a couple of hours worth of work, and best of all: the client loved the ideas! The most interesting part is that I almost turned it down before it got started.
Remember when I told you I was busy so I said no to a few projects last month? I didn’t tell you this but I was worried that saying no too many times might lead to me falling off the radar for some potential clients… Well, it turns out there is a better alternative when you’re up to your neck in work.
Rather than saying no and jeopardizing any future business, I said yes, but gave the client a higher cost estimate. If she said “yes” more money in the bank would make up for me cutting into my free time. And if she said “no” it was OK because I didn’t really have time to take on extra work, but I showed her I was interested, so she probably would’ve kept me in mind for any future projects. Either way, it’s a win-win for me. STOP THE PRESSES, THE SECRET IS OUT!
So yeah, some practical advice I wanted to share with you this month… But don’t despair – December is coming and maybe it’ll bring some juicy freelancing stories which will divide the advertising scene and make even the yellowest of press turn red so Ekrem will finally start making some money off this here column.
P.S.: If anybody’s looking for a basic contract template, feel free to contact me.
P.P.S.: Contrary to what the headline implies, I’m still not rolling in cash.