[thelist] Freelanceer to merge with larger company - ideas please

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Fri Oct 13 10:38:09 CDT 2006


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,

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

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