[thelist] Fulltime to freelance

Fred Jones fredthejonester at gmail.com
Tue Nov 25 02:36:59 CST 2008

> For various reasons, I'm looking to move from fulltime work into freelance
> based work.
> I have around 8 years professonal development experience, as well as a
> growing list of freelance clients.


> Any advice from thelist from anyone who has done this successfully?

I didn't do that exactly--I just became a freelancer without ever
working for a company. A lot of the advice given here is great. I will
share also that it has *sometimes* been hard for me to get work--this
is my weakest point--how to find clients when I am running low on
work. Other times I have more than I can handle--it can be a bit
turbulent like that. Feast or famine, eh? :)

Someone wrote:

> On as serious note, get everything spec'd and signed off before
starting work.  Nothing worse than a runaway project when you're on
your own.

This is very serious. I almost never take fixed fee jobs now b/c I
have yet to have *any* job that didn't grow in scope after I started.

The other serious problem is deadbeat clients. I have not had a lot of
them but just this year I ran into a few. One in the end did pay
me--it turned out that his claim of "I had the money to pay you but I
lost it and I will pay when I have the money" was actually true, and 2
months later, he paid. Another client is paying me off monthly b/c he
says he lost his job ($100 a month for two years this turkey is

But two clients never paid. One had a valid claim against my
performance, but even so he deserved only a small discount for that,
not the 100% discount he took. The other one simply decided not to pay
after his site was 90% done and his bill was $4K. I took one to court,
but it was such a headache dealing with the court that I dropped it.
Since these two clients, I am now more careful about getting some sort
of down payment. I usually ask for half of the estimated first months'
bill up front.

I also send a very small and somewhat informal Work Agreement, just to
make 100% clear that YOU are hiring ME for $60 an hour for hours
worked (i.e. not hours estimated) and that YOU will pay ME within 30
days of receiving a bill. I have them add their name to this text in a
 Word DOC and email it back.It's enough to make them think twice and
read it twice, and this is very smart.

I will look forward to more advice anyone else has. :)


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