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The Design Center / Creative Networking / Designers Talk About Freelancing  

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the freelancing life can truly be rewarding

J.P. says: is an inexpensive way to get some help (especially if you need help with copyrighting and forms). And this guy, Bill Handel , has a talk radio show about legal issues where you can call in and ask questions. It's kind of interesting to listen to. His show is usually on AM stations.

M.B. passes along this reference from Creative Pro
      If you're like most designers, your client contracts range from hastily written memos to 20-page discourses from the back of design business books. And if you're like most designers, you're not sure whether the contract is protecting you well or perhaps even harming your interests. The new "Standard Form of Agreement for Graphic Design Services" (PDF FILE) published by the American Institute of Graphic Arts can help -- and it's free!
See: Finally, a Design Contract for the Little Guy

E.J.A. writes:
      The best way to begin a relationship with a client is with the honest hope that all will go well-and with a battery of contingencies if they don't. See: The fine print of a contract matters. Here's how to understand it: In Praise of the Fine Print

M.R. says: See:

W.T. says: has a good reputation. They have a contract with a lot of companies. I'm not quite sure if it is free.

B.M. says:
      One thing that might help get new clients is to ask for referrals from your current clients; also ask friends and family to help you spread the word to folks that might need your services.

time management -- make sure you have some way of keeping up with your billable hours - I use software that works like a timeclock- it lets me add notes about what project I'm working on for each client, and at the end of each month, I create a report for each client that shows down to the minute how much time I spent working for them.

I have trouble telling clients when their requests go beyond our original agreement, but I'm working on that and getting better. I'd suggest looking hard at yourself and seeing what things are difficult to do, and then either learn a way to help yourself get past that, or see if that could be outsourced.

C.H. says
      here are some things I did
* if possible find a niche for what you offer; I worked for real estate people for a long time and learned their habits and needs.
* Word of mouth/referrals from past clients´┐Żis a wonderful way to market yourself. Make yourself available to print shops for backup design work; the pay is not as high but they're bringing the jobs to you, so it's like wholesale.
* Approach your clients with confidence and have contracts in hand.
* List out the expectations your clients can have from you and what you expect from them.
* Don't be afraid to pick up a part time job occassionally unrelated to design - you make contacts for future design work and it keeps food in your mouth.
* On the days when things go well and you're jazzed with ideas, make lists of the things you want to do or be able to offer; on days when you're petrified about lack of income, pull out those lists and begin working on those ideas.
* Sometimes a long brisk walk helps to clear my head when I'm in a muddle.

these are the things that have helped me most.

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