[thelist] Fulltime to freelance

Kevin Mulvihill kmulvihill at ca.rr.com
Tue Nov 25 04:42:01 CST 2008

I am a freelancer and I've hired a bunch of freelancers to work for me over
the past 12 years.

My experience has been that most new freelancers are really just unemployed
people in between staff gigs. The level of professionalism I've seen is
wanting. Who are they kidding? They have no concept of the work required to
actually make it.

Look even at the title of this thread: Fulltime to freelance. What are we
suggesting here... that freelance isn't full time? It's all a misconception.

It's different when you work for yourself... or ought to be. I've always
felt that you succeed long term only when you make it a point to be better
than everyone else. It's competitive out there. Play to win... Your quality
of work stands out. You don't sit down to do your work with any thought
other than just giving the best that you can. You do what you do because you
love it and that gives you the motivation you need to commit to excellence.

Maybe some of you think that's pie-in-the-sky, but I really believe that.

I don't have any clients that pay me by the hour. They've all got budgets
for projects. Paying by the hour is too open-ended and I don't blame them
for feeling that way. I know I don't want to pay for someone to sit around a
kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee and reading the paper while they
subconsciously ponder my project. I think all clients have that fear.

But mainly I can't pass through those hourly costs and since I'm working
with a cap, then the people who work for me need to as well. I'll say,
"Quote me a price for your best work, because that's all I'm interested in
receiving." And you'd better get what you want to do your best work, because
I'm not going to pay you extra later if it takes you longer to give me your
best than you thought it would. It's not my fault you don't know how long it
takes you to do things.

(And don't even think about not giving me your best work.)

Being professional means sucking it up and taking the hit when you've made a
mistake. Learn from it. You'll get better at estimating over time.

Scope creep is a fear that freelancers have because they don't want to
confront over it. Scope should be defined clearly and specifically. But if
the scope changes, the freelancer should TALK about it with the client.
Maybe I'm lucky, but ALL my clients understand that there comes a time when
things have changed enough to warrant a discussion about more cash. And if
it's just a little scope creep, well, I've already figured that into the
price I gave in the first place. 

Being nice to people, being professional, and being committed to good work
goes a long way.


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