Chris, On 10/13/06, Chris Dempsey <evolt at cubeit.co.uk> wrote: > I've been working essentially freelance for the past 5 years and have built > up a reasonable client base. I've been approached by a larger company who > are considering asking me to join them - an option that is very attractive > to me. ... > My major concern is that I take paid employment and they drop me after a few > months and I loose my client base. What can I look for to give myself some > protection against this? Ron gave some excellent advice. I was in a similar situation about 3 months ago. Here is what I have done. I took the gig. I identified my top 2-3 clients over the last 3 years. This is harder than it sounds, because there are a lot of variables ($$$, frequency of work, PITA factor, potential for future work, etc.). After that... I committed to keeping in touch with them. Just a week ago I flew back to Cincinnati and had dinner with a number of people from a former client. I get occasional panic emails from clients, and I make a point of answering most of them from the 2-3 clients I've identified. Don't charge for that time, though, or you can get yourself in trouble (depending on the job you're taking and its contract). And don't answer all of them, either; just the high-level, strategy type problems. Will this job have a non-compete clause in its contract? Will this cause problems with doing work with your previous clients day 1 after, if you leave this job? And, like Ron said, do the math. Figure out what you and your client base are worth, and don't take this job unless it's worth it. Factor in things that don't have a monetary value by putting a personal monetary value on them (e.g., I would pay $x/year to not have to deal with selling work). Bottom line: network, network, network. Even if these connections don't seem as relevant now, they are. I think a lot people hurt themselves by letting connections fall apart when it seems like they no longer need them. -- Matt Warden Cleveland, OH, USA http://mattwarden.com This email proudly and graciously contributes to entropy.