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Entry #73

My freelancing venture

2013-04-25 14:03:58 by knugen
Updated

I just wrote a blog article on knugen.com with some updates on my freelancing "progress". I'm pasting it here below as well, but read out of context my jibberish probably makes even less sense :D

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My freelancing venture
The purpose of this blog (apart from populating this site with basically anything after having it just lying around empty for years...) was to cover my switch from employment to freelancing. I was lucky enough to receive a project from my former employer right away, meaning I had the rest of 2012 secured financially. Or at least that is what I thought.

Me and the client (my former employer) went into the project with nothing but trust for each other, and although there's always room for improvement I was very satisfied with the way I handled the project all the way to delivery. Unfortunately I can not say the same about the client who had economical problems, and instead of speaking frankly with me fed me lies and false promises to stall the invoice payment. During this time I was very short on money, and I had a trip booked for Dubai which the travel agency messed up and cancelled (turned out to be fortunate in the end, since I really couldn't afford it because of the unpaid invoice).

In the end I received the payment 1,5 months after it was due. I am really not one for burning bridges, but at this point I had had it with this client and ended our business relationship with a few well chosen (well...) words. Coincidentally, last week they went bankrupt. Good riddance.

Despite the bitter taste this client and former employer had left in my mouth, I still value the experience because of the lessons learned!

Lesson 1:
Establish a contract, no matter who you are dealing with.

Despite knowing and trusting the client in the beginning, we made a huge mistake in not writing a contract. I doubt it could have been used to get my payment any earlier, but with a proper contract in place and not just oral agreements the client would have had less bullshitting options for stalling the invoice.

Lesson 2:
Money.

Not much of a shocker really. You need money to survive, and if you are dependent on invoices being on time as a freelancer you are on thin ice. Apart from just surviving, I would have loved to have spare cash for some lawyer advice on contracts. I was never comfortable finding new clients because I had so little legal knowledge.

Moving on
This project has basically been my only source of freelancing income since October. Because of the implications I was quite tired of it all about as quick as it had begun, and I went looking for employment again. I had some promising interviews in a bigger city (Gothenburg) and was looking forward to a change of scenery, but I didn't get the job I wanted the most and instead I received an interesting job offer from Vera & John (an online casino) here in Skövde. I ended up taking it, and I have been working there for about three months.

My freelancing firm is still alive and kicking as well, with some interesting projects around the corner. I will follow up this post with more details... Some day! :)


Comments

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SWiTCHSWiTCH

2013-04-26 16:15:06

If you don't have some sort of intermediary escrow service that guarantees payment (Iike elance.com), then you need to ask for payment in milestones. For example, half upon finished storyboards, and half upon completion. Then stipulate that you won't send the high res final version until you get final payment. You can do any sort of milestone schedule (4 installments, 10 installments, whatever). Make sure you have a small enough amount of work between payments such that if your client flaked out and didn't pay an installment it wouldn't ruin you. It's only fair that you're not the only one shouldering the risk.
And you need to keep finding work even when you already have some to fill in the time that you're waiting on feedback or waiting to get paid. Some clients pay late or not at all, but most I think are good about it.
This is with regard to remote work. If you're on site you can't really ask for milestones, but yeah, a firm contract is a necessity. Even on site though, I don't think it's unfair to ask for payment at certain intervals. May not be normal, but you gotta protect yourself, especially if your livelihood depends on one project.
This is what I've found freelancing. It's still pretty fuckin' difficult to make it work.


NanashiNanashi

2013-04-25 19:02:49

In my case I don't have to worry about contracts, but I work in higher volumes, with jobs taking hours to days and no longer. I always start with smaller projects to build up a relationship with the client. If they fail to pay, they've only shot themselves in the foot, as they'll only have one 'free' job and a lot of bad press.

That said, how are you liking setting your own hours and such? I think we all find it takes a healthy dose of self-discipline, but for me, my free time and flexible schedule are priceless. I highly recommend anyone with the needed skill set look into freelance or starting a business (if you don't have dependents). It is scary sometimes, but you truly get out of it what you put into it unlike regular jobs. Most of all, it is nice to feel like a human being, not a machine under someone's foot ready to crap out content upon command.


b0emb0em

2013-04-25 17:37:22

Nice read, pretty informative.
Lol, look at our icons at the front page by the way!

knugen responds:

Haha cool!


MSGheroMSGhero

2013-04-25 14:08:40

Dealing with people is always an issue. Good luck with future projects!

I'll read your blog if you post more lol.

knugen responds:

Thanks man, I just might :)