tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Work-o-mania

Things have been and still are very manic work-wise this month, in fact I haven't been able to do much apart from work recently, so everything else has had to take a bit of a back seat, including updating my websites and this blog.

I'm working for eight clients this month, which is a bit more than usual - the last couple of months I've been working for around six across the month, and in January it was a more normal three.

It's difficult to find a balance of clients when freelancing. On the one hand, it's lovely to have a large project I can get my teeth in which produces a great site; on the other, if I have several smaller pieces of work it means I get more variety, more chance to help more clients, and better cashflow. The downside of one large piece of work is if I don't get paid on time it's a real problem, whereas it's unlikely several clients won't pay out and having to chase one company for some of your money is a much more relaxed task than chasing one company for all of your money.

The last point is a little moot, I haven't had a client not pay since December, and I'm still chasing them for the small amount they still owe me. This is partly because I've got a better contract than I started with, i.e. I've got a relatively short written contract that I make sure I get signed, rather than working on verbal contracts. However, I've got two friends who have been caught by this recently: doing lots of work, and then not getting paid for it. One now has his money having had to pursue it and the other is in the early hassling stages before solicitors get involved.

I've been ripped off in the past, although not since I've been freelance this time, and it has made me wary of working on verbal contracts for anyone I don't trust completely. Finding a time to slip the contract under someone's nose can be very awkward, but it is a very necessary part of business and if a potential client won't sign a contract, especially a one that is balanced both for the client and freelancer, then it's time to walk away from any deal they're offering. I've never found anyone I've enjoyed working for has had a problem signing my contract, some have even asked if they can copy some of the clauses from it, whereas it tends to be the people who are hassle or unprofessional during the work are also the ones who resist agreeing to a contract. Sometimes it's better to have a thin month and find more work than it is to agree to do some work for someone under just a verbal agreement, there's no point having the work if you're not going to get paid for it.
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