Freelancing can be an amazing thing, you can work from the comfort of your own home, connecting with people all over the world with complete autonomy over your output – but as with anything, there can be down sides too; from theft and failure to pay to struggling to source clients. Below are a host of tips and tricks to help you and your clients get the best out of your freelance operations.
Ensure the client pays a deposit before commencing with a project. This protects you should you encounter one of those situations where the customer completely vanishes when it’s time to pay up. This should be anywhere between 30-50% to cover you for the initial stage of the creation process.
A contract. There needs to be a hand signed contracted produced from the very start, outlining what you expect from them as the client, and what you will provide upon receipt of payment. This way you can cover your back if there are any shortcomings or issues with payment.
This also provides some security for your client.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s okay to say no if you feel you are taking on too much! You don’t want to spread yourself too thin and produce sub par work as a result of exhaustion.
Consistency. It goes without saying that the level of service and quality needs to start high and finish high. If you find yourself in a position where you’re spreading yourself too thin, you may struggle to apply that same level of service to each project. In such cases, consider reducing the amount of tasks you have concurrently – perhaps opting to finish projects first before opening slots for new clients. This way you can make sure you are on point for each and every client.
Be clear about your rates from the jump. Some prefer to have this information immediately available on their platforms, whereas others email potential clients privately with the details; either way, as long as this is all clear from the start, everyone knows where they stand and what is expected.
Revision caps. “Can you change this?” “I know you’ve edited a few times already, but I’ve decided I want a different col-” – place a revision limit on a project, with the option to pay additional fees should they request additions that were not outlined in the initial brief. Failure to do so may put you in an infinite loop. The client needs to be made aware of a revision cap, encouraging them to present you with solid, clear briefs from the start.
Watermark proofs. When watermarking, you want to ensure at least 50% of the image is protected. Placing a tag in the bottom right of an image won’t prevent theft as it can simply get cropped off.
Establish deadlines and stick to them. ‘Your reputation precedes you’. No matter how lit your body of work is, if you’re tardy and don’t stick to deadlines – this will affect proceedings and potential clientele. Have these in place from the get go so that your client is in the know about procedure and stages of the process.
Creative agencies. If you struggle to find your step and source clients, you may want to consider signing up to a Creative Agency. Agencies will help to bridge the gap between you and the customer, with varying fees and stipulations involved; these are all unique to each individual organisation. Another option, if you find yourself ‘brief-less’ is to advertise your services on websites like People Per Hour – you can either choose to pitch your services to potential clients, picking and choosing from the many briefs they have available, or you can use it as a platform to display your services and wait for the customers to roll in.
Join a union! It’s always handy to have people to guide you and help out should anything go awry. Trade unions like Artists Union England are in place to provide support for all involved in the arts, ensuring fair play, pay and better working conditions for artists. This service costs £42 for annual membership.