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Taking the plunge... going freelance.

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Be Key, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Be Key

    Be Key Junior Member

    So im going to try and get some freelance work once i've set myself up..
    Anyone got any advise for starting out? Im working on writing a contract, invoice etc, found several good articles and books.

    What is your process with a client? I was planning along the lines of initial meeting/phone call to discuss possibility of job... send them a brief sheet/questionnaire to collect all the relevant information. When that has been received send them the estimate and contract and request 50% payment up front. start work when payment is received.. get them to sign off when job is complete then send final invoice for rest of payment.
    Does this sound about right, am i missing anything?

    How do you work out timescales for a job? Do you normally ask them when they want it done by, or tell them when you will have it done? How do you estimate how long it will take you?
    Thanks in advance for any wise words. :up:
  2. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    Sounds fine to me.

    One thing that is important is getting a good accountant from the start..that way you'll be able to find out how much tax you'll be liable to pay and they'll be able to register your company name and help you to set-up to trade as a business.
  3. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    but are you any good?
    will you be able to bring in enough to feed, cloth and pay for home, car and Apple goodies?

    Good luck to you.
  4. Minimalist

    Minimalist Member

    Nice :) Good luck and have fun :)

    Save money. Pay your taxes in time. Do not stop to learn. Visit Andy Rutledge’s blog for some really good articles ;)

    Sonds good.

    Sounds not good. Have questions ready for them (about them, not about design. You should know how to design), but ask them in a meeting or at least a phone call. Get to know them. If you need less than an hour you are doing something wrong.

    Sounds good again.

    You are the pro, you have to know how long the projekt will take you. Keep in mind that one project may take different amounts of time with different clients; much depends on how well you work together, how many people there are who make the decisions ... Don’t let the client set you timescale, it will make both of you unhappy.
  5. Be Key

    Be Key Junior Member

    I was afraid you mght say that! I cant afford an accountant to start with, from what ive ready most people start out doing all that themselves, so i will have to manage. Will get the contract looked over though.

    Typo - only time will tell! But if other people on here can sucessfully freelance i dont see why i cant. Plus it's better to have a go at freelance and fail rather than sit here waiting for a job to come up (been unemployed for a while).. at least im doing something then and learning. I would want to go freelance in the end anyway so better to make the mistakes now while i have the time.

    Minimalist - thanks for the blog tip. I guess the questionnaire should be done in a meeting... i wouldnt be asking them about design, just collecting content, asking if they have any ideas on how they want the project to turn out, any existing logos etc to be used.
  6. Minimalist

    Minimalist Member

  7. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    I can understand your reluctance to not employ an accountant at this stage but if you're serious about becoming self-employed then an accountant should be pretty high on your list of priorities.

    Even if you intent to sort out the finances yourself, you still need to register with HMRC as self-employed even if you are a sole-trader.
  8. Be Key

    Be Key Junior Member

    If it works out and i stick at the freelance i'd get an accountant.
    Obviously i will be registering as a sole trader but i can handle that myself, its just the legal and financial side of things im unsure of but it's something i'll have to learn.
  9. Russell

    Russell Member

    Whilst I get the overall point from this article I really wouldn't advise going in as bullish as the article makes out. If you are an established agency and have enough work coming in to pick and choose your clients maybe you can get away with treating clients as if they are 'interviewing for the job to be accepted as a client'. But as a newly set up freelancer I'd suggest your better off being friendly, inquisitive and enthusiastic about the working for the client.
  10. Minimalist

    Minimalist Member

    Does it sound bullish if you are a native speaker ...? I read it as a calling to act professional and self-confident. I have been in sales for some time and I had to realize that you can do nearly anything with a person if you don’t mean them any harm, act friendly and are self-confident. One of my first clients asked me if my prices were normal in this business (he thought they were too high – they weren’t, they were too low at that time ...) ... I smiled an told him no, but since I am not Ogilvy or Pentagram I do not have to pay for a huge offide and lots of assistants, so this would be a bargain for him. He looked at me for a moment, then he signed and was perfectly happy ever after. You don’t have to be the a-hole just because you are new ;)
  11. Russell

    Russell Member

    It does a bit. I do agree with the main points it raises about designers getting to know the clients needs etc but think it is a bit dogmatic in the language used. By all means be confident in your knowledge and skills but this is a service industry. If you have an attitude that you are doing them a favour by agreeing to work with them, like the article suggests, you will get nowhere.
  12. Minimalist

    Minimalist Member

    Well, I think I only read the things that you agree with and did not take it as dogmatic, since this is a quite fine differentiation if something is not written in your native language :) So yeah, read it, get the meaning, act it, but do not act like an ass, that will get you nowhere ever if you are depending on other people, which you are most of the time ;) Thanks for pointing that out, Russel :)
  13. berry

    berry Active Member

    Can I suggest or recommend to ANY one who wants to be a freelancer or going into web business to check out
    The Web Designers Business Kit. It is very good and worth considering, It's about $200 but is worth considering

    The Web Design Business Kit 2.0 - SitePoint Kits
  14. byronc

    byronc Member

    why on earth is an accountant high on his priorities - just record your financials in excel somewhere until you get some breathing room.

    just get out there and do it - its a lot more difficult to do this than you think. Get clients at whatever cost - make them trust you - do good work and they will grow with you,

    i started with cheap ass jobs and those same clients became good paying clients over the YEARS

    ignore all the guys faffing over admin - get work - learn as you go - GET WORK...
  15. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    I gave the advice about getting an good accountant because I feel it's been an important step in the development of my design business (set-up in 2004 and still going strong).

    While you might think we're all 'faffing over admin', every business still needs to invoice clients and pay tax. All we were doing were offering advice as to the best way to go about things.

    You can be the best designer in the world, but if you don't have any business sense then you're better off working for someone else.
  16. berry

    berry Active Member

    I would agree with Designmatic.

    This is a legal business that your are doing, it has Tax and Vat implications, Invoicing, Terms of Business and getting people to pay.

    Designing and actually running a business profitably and correctly are two things that have to go hand in hand.

    The most important thing requisites in any start up business is:
    1. Good Bank Manager
    2. Good Accountant
    3. Good Business Sense.
    4. Good product and service
    5. Good self marketing
    6. Good cash flow
  17. byronc

    byronc Member

    1. good marketing

    2. good skills

    3. hard work and believe

    4. persevere

    5 details...

    You will learn to estimate with experience. Figure out your hours to do it, what its worth and try to guage what your client can pay etc.
  18. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I too have just set up (although there's 2 of us so I guess were an agency) and my experience so far consists of getting a really sound set of terms & conditions but most of all working out costs!! Include the time you spend in meetings or running around, when you price up a job! Because its all time you are spending on the client!! and estimate high but come in low! For example, give a client a figure of £500 then offer them a 20% discount rather than undersell yourself and have to find a way to
    add £100 to a bill.
  19. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    Cheers Berry and BigDave for confirming what I've thought all along – that sound financial and business sense is as important to a successful design business as creativity.

    There seems to be two distinct trains of thought on this thread...the usual business approach and the 'I'm a designer and I shouldn't have to think about boring stuff like finance and profits'.
  20. berry

    berry Active Member

    The easiest thing is doing the work, the hardest thing is trying to get paid and all the admin that goes with that

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