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RULES (not only) for FREELANCERS


I must admit that I have never read any books for freelancers.
Perhaps, I'll do it one day.

So rules I have listed here are based on my own experience only.

I suppose you have initial knowledge, so you know that you should adapt each advice according to your conditions, location, possibilities and capabilities.

1. Work only with reliable and capable partners!!!

This is the most important advice. What does this mean?

1a. Customer moron: Can bankrupt your action/project without noticing it himself...

1b. Customer fraudster: Can bankrupt your action/project intentionally.

1c. Collaborator moron: Can bankrupt your action/project for his incompetence.

1d. Collaborator fraudster: Can bankrupt your action/project for his unreliability.

Recognize both quite easily - by the idle chatter, empty information, the conditions are not set clearly and unambiguously, the situation is obscured, enforcing some activities, and escalating problems instead of solving them. 

But sometimes it is not so easy, especially when it comes to new acquaintances, so before starting each work either with client or with co-worker, it is necessary to carry out a thorough survey or a small testing order...

2. Educate yourself continuously!

Imagine if you were thrown out in the jungle right now. What would you do to survive? Without knowledge, you would be finished by the next morning. The same goes for business. You have to be educated and tough. Otherwise what?
Otherwise, the jungle will eat you at once...

3. Do the risk assessment.

Accept only the risks you can handle.
Take the scope of work only in the manageable quantity.
Do a job corresponding only to your competence and abilities.

4. Securing and anchoring the contract.

Define clear rules of the game = prices, terms, quality.
Avoid contractual leverage such as fines, foreclosure, 
conditional consideration, knowledge mining, and the like.
For larger projects, request deposits, define payment milestones, 
split of deliveries, etc. 

5. Do not cover for anyone.

Comply with applicable laws and standards and do not bypass them.
But laws or rules are not enough by themselves.
It's solely up to you whether you contribute your work to make the world
a better place or let yourself be hired for some dirty things.
Keep business and friendship separate, you can easily come under pressure to do some things you did not want to. Working for friends and with friends hasn't done anything good yet.

6. Play fair game.

Define rules and conditions in advance, and do not change them.
Change of the entry means record a new quote.
Determine the hourly rates and the overall method of handing over and payments. Be specific about what is included. Inform him in time. 
Always tell the client the truth about the advantages and disadvantages.
Promise you can fulfill and fulfill what you promised.

7. Become a professional

Of course, this does not mean to be like a robot, some small talk is needed to know that we are humans, but always do not cross the professional line.
Practice negotiation, it's all about negotiation.
But that doesn't mean that the customer is always right. If someone wants something that's over your limit - like running out in shorts on Everest in an hour, just say you're not doing this.

8. Maintain your health.

A healthy person has thousands of wishes, a sick has only one.
Don't push yourself to exceed your own limits. Work smart not hard.
Do not burn all the midnight oil on things that don't deserve it.
Stay healthy and comply with safety limits.
Keep yourself in shape by reasonable exercising.

9. Never ask for feedback.

If the client is satisfied, he will say it himself. 
If he isn't, it's better to stay quiet...
Feedback will come to you soon itself in the form of the number of orders.

10. Always offer something extra.

Small items of extra goods gratis to cover postage or good advice on the technological procedure, after action are all right. Show the client that you are not stingy for every penny, but that it is you who cares about him saving. Often trifles can make a big impression. 

But don't confuse good services with corrupt practices and enforcement.
Do not use corruptive leverage on the client in the form of conditional discounts, vouchers, gifts, free offers, so that he feels obliged to you (to sign for some services or consumptions in the future on a larger scale). It's deplorable and unprofessional.

Show that you are the solid island of reliability and proficiency in a turbulent market ocean. Keep bringing something new and creative. Only those who stand out from the crowd of mediocrity has a chance to succeed.

© Martin Kubík 2020