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Freelance Chat

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Yeah miscommunication is common in public Slacks, no way to avoid it unfortunately.

We never said that sdluir should charge his clients by the hour - what he's doing is great, it works, no doubt about that.

We also provided examples of dev projects with the same parameters ($5k-$10k, small time commitment) where value-based is great, e.g. maintenance/support, small devops work etc.

What we didn't like was applying $5k-$10k project strategy on higher value development projects where risks, time commitment and client dynamics can be very different to smaller projects. We tried to argue that this is often impractical.
I think that's still kind of putting down the ideas zlat was sharing with regards to emotional investment, taking on some of the risk that the client has, etc.. and also just ignoring the fact that a lot of large projects could be entirely fixed price if scope is controlled for, it's just a matter of perspective - at the industry level
Sorry zlat if it came if as hostile, not the intention on my end at least. I do think it’s awesome it’s working for him and in another convo, a lot of the stuff he was saying is important/I’d like to talk about further, but I think just got overshadowed solely by a concern for him/other freelancers getting screwed over!
I was saying not solely by the hour or solely a blank check on the other end. somewhere in between and just having a clause to protect you in case something goes horribly wrong, you never know!
Im not advocating for just by the hour or fixed priced on the other end. But if it’s fixed price you should probably have a clause/expectation somewhere, otherwise it’s a blank check no?
Even if you can be sure scope can be controlled for. And if it goes horribly out of control, either they’re a bad client you can control or they’re a great client with a growing scope that you can renegotiate and keep working with.
+ I think this is all for standard agreements assuming you don’t know the clients very well. Some of my best clients, I/we have waaay more goodwill and maybe operate closer to what zlat was saying
I prefer to do fixed-rate projects when I have a very defined scope of deliverables, but I always have a clause that states the rates are subject to adjustments if the project scope changes. I do think that business intelligence projects are less subject to scope change than development projects, though.
I'm happy to do open-ended hourly contracts if the client prefers to pay that way, but I hate needless micromanagement with a passion and I build that in my rates.
wuqead was saying that if you have guard rails (not even fixed rates) you are picking the wrong client, can't scope risks correctly etc.. That's super insulting. His very first statement to me was "then it is the wrong client". Like you can have some certainty ahead of time that they will always be good.

It's just bad advice to not have guard rails. I care about freelancers not getting screwed over, I hire freelancers all the time and I treat them very good because I was a freelancer but I am going to debate anyone who has crazy ideas with limited experience.
There are people that will lie to you, there are people that will steal from you. You always have to trust people, it's required, but you can also wear a seat belt.
zlat2mo
I totally understand U06FWGSG1. Yesterday I was too passionate. Sorry about that. I’m not like that in real life. 🙂 Obviously, shifting to value-base pricing requires changes in other areas of one’s freelance career in order to work properly. The biggest of them is niching down and becoming the go-to person for a particular industry expertise. So, it will work only if one has a deep knowledge in a very specific field. Because if an expert has reached that point, and still charges by the hour, then he/she will hit a limit—I don’t know of any business that pays more than $200/hour for a development challenge. At that point, many of our services can become even productised, and that’s where we hit the limit of hourly billing. That’s what I wanted to point out all this time.
vphsft I don't disagree with that at all.
As a freelancer there is only two ways you can scale your income after a certain point. You either start an agency and scale out and take more work or you create a product.
~I mean there is a third way that is just saving/investing but everyone should be doing that as a default anyways.~
that’s very little to do with income
Ya, unless you are knocked out of the workforce and that becomes your income but it isn't really related to active income, so really there is only the two ways.
IR35 (or the rule changes) is the dumbest thing HMRC has done in a long time. I genuinely believe it will harm the dynamic nature of the tech / startup sector in a very bad way.

Having said that, I'm pretty sure it doesn't apply if you're not in the country - that's how I hope to get around it.
Agreed, exactly, I’m incentivised to pull 100% of my tax away.
Does anyone have experience marketing their services with YouTube? I have a small youtube channel, but I want to make it a lead gen for my business as well.
I am planning the same.
Interesting conversation aymjpjpktjwndkbrb U01FTQ83571. I also do UX and also UI and have worked with smaller clients/startups as well as enterprise level clients, and I’ve found that it’s a mixture. There is definitely some truth to value-based pricing that can work. However, for more complex projects with parameters that are out of my direct contact’s control (typical of a larger/enterprise client) then it’s really difficult to do value based pricing. Not impossible, but difficult. Some agencies, idk if people remember Sapient, does that. Or a version of that, where it’s a range.
video is a great way to showcase your talents and personality and case studies, but if you want it to be a lead gen for your biz then you are going to have be prepared to build a solid content library as well as pump money into traffic generation
you def don’t need a big audience (or ads, for the record) for it to become a lead gen to your business. It’s not about having big numbers but the right viewers – especially because your source of income won’t come from the audience but from the right leads. learn a thing or two about seo for youtube & tag stuff properly
Also looking for something like that U042F50EQ. Did you ever find a group like that on here?
I just started (again) after a long hiatus:woman-facepalming::skin-tone-5:. This time I'm putting more effort into it. It definitely works to bring new people in, like organic search, if you put the time in and more importantly be consistent. One of my videos I created last year still brings in a lot of traffic, comments and likes. I wish I had created it even earlier! . Time works on your side so, like investing, do it early and often (for that compounding interest benefit!)
Is a refund an expense or a discount?
a credit note
like a reverse invoice
Hello all. I used to freelance about 8yrs ago. Now planning to move on from full-time to freelance. How should I start? Are there any agencies or freelancer cooperatives that are recommended to start with? (I build web apps - Very comfy with Ruby, Elixir and Python).
fiiv2mo
How’s your networking? It definitely helps to have friends and former coworkers in other companies
That is something I’ve been bad at for the entirety of my recent job (5.5yrs). I skipped any socialising in favour of family & alone time.

Only recently started blogging again.
fiiv2mo
Hmm well when I was starting out I tried using LinkedIn to find companies that would be interested in my type of work and looked for the types of people working there who might be making the decision to hire me for a project. I ended up going for coffee with people a lot. Obviously tough to do in person meetings in the days of covid but maybe some digital communication might be a suitable replacement
fiiv2mo
I actually ended up pitching a few projects as a result.
you could try upwork perhaps
There are top tier agencies too like gun.io|gun.io perhaps as well
Positioning and branding is the key in the initial stage, then referrals after a couple of years. That was my approach.
Check out Positioning Manual book and 22 Laws of Marketing, then apply it to your situation by outlining who’s your ideal client. For example, I quickly stuck to young startups with non-tech founders in solo mode only as it fitted my personal preferences. Some people like to work with other devs and act accordingly (augmentation, strategy, external CTO, etc). Others work with legacy systems and charge accordingly as it’s definitely a niche. I think that’s the best approach for generalists. Going deep vs broad is important as you have to position yourself with the qualities that cure those pain points and make it obvious when people evaluate you.

Strategy wise, I used breadcrumbs marketing and magic email throughout 6. Both methods were worth it and allowed me to escape the “normal” trajectory.
if the network isn't that strong, using marketplaces like toptal (interview etc) and upwork expert programmes can help

As dtuulueux mentioned, positioning & marketing is key - which you'll have to learn to get long term contracts and good clients

Will dm you a link for some free resources too
Thank you dkemynflk ~! Will checkout Positioning Manual. Is this along the lines of Obviously Awesome?

Thank you dbxwrs ~! I’ll try the LinkedIn approach. I had something of a similar experience with LinkedIn in 2011. Hope it works now.
Yeah, pretty much but for indie consultants instead of products U0435EYGD.
fiiv2mo
Best of luck, U0435EYGD!
hi y’all. a friend’s mindfulness/wellbeing co is hiring a junior sales/marketer 10-15 hours/week. key responsibilities include:
• client outreach via LinkedIn and email
• gather lists of potential clients
• establish connections with current & potential clients
let me know if it’s of interest!
Hi, it’s still available.
I’m interesting to know more in detail
Question to all remote workers what are some cons of working remotely and how do you tackle this?
Wrong chat
this sounds like it's for an article 😕
kykeorryrzi Can't be, if it was for an article the question would of been, what are the 10 cons of remote working?
5 cons you didn't know about remote working.
Triple your remote working productivity with this one simple trick.
We all know it can’t be 10. It has to be a prime number for it to make you want to read it
Spolier The secret is remove slack.
Has to be more novel, like the 7.5 cons of remote working.
Can anyone point me in the direction of resources to understand what I need to be able to work with an EU client. I am a dual US and EU citizen currently based in the US. I don't know the first thing about billing and tax implications. Is there anything that I should be considering or that I should be pro-actively researching or asking the client about?
I work with 2 us clients as a contractor but they basically have me as a remote employee so I just needed my ID and they did the contract. One of them requires an invoice but nothing special other than their data and address. From there I would declare my income to my my government as an individual.
Oh right, i thought freelancing is working remote just for yourself?
You just pay income tax or is it like a salary/dividends?
is it full time employee or contract?

If former, check remote.com|remote.com, if contract try direct contracts at upwork.com|upwork.com - the infrastructure is there already. I've worked with US, EU, Aus, SF clients and face no issues (contract, not fte)
I was just paying income tax but moving to the LLC equivalent to be able to write off some expenses.
Yep, this is the way to go. In some jurisdictions be careful however as there are laws against being a sole prop/contractor and only having one client (usually >80% of income from one client is the threshold). I know Czech Republic does this as well as South Africa.
lgshlzrrgaavqg is there a name to this so people can google it?
Haven't seen a standard term for it, no
loool it's not for an articlejoy
"independent contractor" is the keyword that will let you find the relevant regulations
Uber is all up in that grey area testing all them laws 😹
I've got a good client (makes about 30% of my income).
But he's almost always 2weeks late on his payments.
I wait 30~35 days, then send a reminder or two.
He paid everything so far, but most of the time 2-3 weeks too late.
Should I just ignore this or would you do something about it?
Maybe worth an honest discussion with them to tighten it up a bit
but ultimately if they definitely always pay, within 2 weeks being late, and are a low risk of default
then I think I would personally just adjust my cashflow and expect the payment to be late - provided I am otherwise happy with that income stream
you just want to mitigate any risk of default, or a loss of respect and the lateness starts slipping more and more
there are other things you can do like incur interest charges, but that can have an impact on the relationship with the client
zlat11d
That‘s why late payment taxes are coming handy. Or, better said, why don‘t you charge him upfront?
yeah full or partial up-front payment is an option where you have a good relationship and negotiating position with the client
I think I would piss him off when I charge late payment taxes. we otherwise have a friendly/personal relationship.
it's just annoying to send reminders
you can automate the reminders
I thought it would sort itself out after sending reminders. but things don't change (since ~6month)
> automate the reminders
yeah, probably gonna do this from now on
its also less awkward for me 🙂
As a person who usually pays invoices late to manage my own cashflow - I have never defaulted and will never leave a freelancer out of pocket... so it’s possible the risk is minimal.

Equally I would have the honest conversation and explain how it’s effecting you.

Personally - I would suggest finding another client if possible to reduce your overall income risk as 30% is quite a chunk.
cphuirwi I'm in exactly the same situation 😄 Like literally exactly. Also 30% client, also always late 2 weeks. I tried many things - nothing helps. He always has some story, which always seems legit. I just stopped worrying. I do send reminders regularly. And once it gets reaallly late, then I message him a personal note, and then he pays up usually within a day.
zlat11d
Just put a clause in your Services Agreement for interest-rate regarding late fees, and communicate that to your client. Because if you were to have those money a month or two in advance, you could‘ve invest them, or use them wisely, which would bring you even more ROI. That said, you might be loosing money by having clients who are very late in payments.
I outsource my billing to a third party, that way they can get annoying and if the client complains I can sympathize with them. “Yeah, they’re real sticklers, really by-the-book about everything and constantly nagging me about timesheets. I’ll talk to them about being more polite, you’ve been such a great client, they should be nicer to you.”
zlat11d
The discussion inspires me to digress a bit. Have you considered switching from hourly billing and timesheets, to fixed prices agreed upfront? That way, it‘s much easier to ask a client to pay you beforehand, or at last half of the sum. With hourly billing, that‘s impossible.
Why is a retainer impossible
zlat11d
Retainer is not a bad solution. And they are, by definition, paid upfront. That‘s why they are called retainers—a customer retains (reserves) your availability. Otherwise, if paid afterwords, it‘s a monthly salary, excluding the benefits of a typical employee. 🙂
Thanks for the explanation on what a retainer is.
Accepting late payments as a rule is an excellent way to create bad habits in your clients. Yes, obviously getting a new client is going to take some work, but you're not doing them any favors. You're supposed to be paid by the work you're doing within the terms you both agreed to. The other part is consistently not abiding to the terms.
This kind of client prey on people's good will. You're involved with them, and it's not always easy to notice what they're doing. And that's fine. But let's word this a different way it a client approached you, you both agreed to payment terms and then they told you just before you started working:

"By the way, I'm terrible in terms of cash flow. I'm most likely always going to be paying you two weeks late, possibly more. But I'm sure you don't mind that, right?"

Would you still work with this client? Obviously not. Don't fall into a sunk cost fallacy. Just because you've invested yourself in working with this crappy client until now doesn't mean you can't switch to another one. I would look for a new client and drop the old one as soon as I had a signed contract.
ynjvgfwu could get a virtual secretary to keep on top of it for you.. i.e. kinda like the 3rd-party solution mentioned earlier but less so.. just a 3rd person could make the client take you more seriously perhaps
joba10d
I've had a lot of success with up front billing blocks of hours by offering a small discount based on how many hours they book. E.g. if they buy a block of 20 hours, 5% discount. 40 hours, 10% discount. Makes for much less stress, and time lost chasing clients for payment. It also puts you in a position where when they ask for work to be done you can just say, "alright, I'm getting low on hours, I can start work as soon as you refill your account." That way if they don't have the money you can concentrate on working for paying clients or other projects in the meantime.
This is a terrible idea, don't pay someone out of your own pocket to make up for clients who can't pay what they agreed upon
sounds interesting. i will have to put some thoughts on this one. thx
zlat10d
It‘s interesting how in the service industry “time” has become an euphemism for money.

When a client asks me how much time something will take, I always ask him, _“Are you really worried about the time, or you are asking me how much it‘s going to cost?”_ It turns out almost always the latter. :)
yes I get it. you charge based on value. not everyone does / wants to.
also it doesn't really have anything to do with getting my invoices paid in time.
joba10d
It's not the service industry so much as engineering. I worked at a defense subcontractor in the USA - they also bill time using "cost plus" contracts.
Time is money, even if you charge by value you can still figure out a nominal hourly rate. Scarcity of time is a core facet of economics. Money has always been a proxy for time otherwise we would be using a barter system.
exactly and most who create quotes do exactly the hours money per hour (1 + risk factor + how annoying is the client factor) math anyway. If we would talk about billing the value the client get’s out of your work, then we would talk another story…
```hey guys, where do you get your Virtual assistance from? where do you get a quality service, with a really good english, and also maybe some extra skills in excel etc```
Upwork
This is such a GREAT idea!
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