Photo courtesy of Frank mcmains

Freelancers: Four Tips for Avoiding Terrible Business Advice

A response to Dann Petty’s tips for making your clients love you

The concept of assigning value to any kind of creative work may be an extremely daunting and scary thing to you. Let me tell you why that’s okay—it is for everyone else, too.

Recognizing terrible business advice

Don’t let words like “being flexible” make devaluing yourself sound any less horrible than it is.

You want to know the best thing about being flexible and doing free work for clients that love you? They’ll totally keep coming back to you with more free work! As long as they love you and send you gifts at the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask for, right? Just last month, I sent over a few wine bottles I’d received from a client in lieu of my mortgage payment. Feels good to not need actual money anymore.

If you aspire to work with companies that pay accordingly to work with experts, a good place to start might be actually treating yourself like one.

I could definitely tell you more than two or three stories about people getting a raw deal because they didn’t have an agreement in place, but maybe I’m just not well-known enough.

Hey, use a fucking contract.

Remember, if you’re a freelancer, chances are pretty good that you’re busy too, and probably not just working with one client at a time. This is their one project. Why should taking care of it and the people involved be any less important to them than it is to you?

You aren’t pulling down doctor money for the occupational obligation of being on call for your clients at all times.

The clients that need flexible designers don’t love people like me, so I’m forced to get that love from other places like my family, friends and clients who value me as a person and care that I have a life outside of their project. Full disclosure, though: these clients don’t send near as many gifts.

Founder & Letter Director at ALFA — Advocates for the Letter Focused Arts —

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