When I talk to new free-lance programmers about running a business, there are two core pieces of advice I offer. The first is that it‘s almost always better to have a little high-paying work than a lot of low-paying jobs. The other is the importance of a lawyer-reviewed contract that clearly defines the work to be produced, the date by which it will be completed and the cost of that work.
(via zeldman.com and Google Reader Play)
This is a long video (40 minutes) but worth every moment. But for the tl;dw crowd, here’s a synopsis of the salient points:
- Contracts protect both parties – you and your client.
- Don’t start work without a contract.
- Don’t blindly accept your client’s terms.
- Anticipate negotiation but don’t back down on important stuff – payment, deadlines and your intellectual property rights in the work until final payment is received.
- Lawyers talk to lawyers. If your client is talking to you in the presence of, or through, his lawyer, get yours or don’t talk.
- Be specific and confident about money. Ask for the rate you deserve and don’t back down on terms.