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Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Consideration=No Contract (Talking Money Upfront)

I was intrigued by this post on Contently about a fellow freelancer's new ebook about making a six-figure living as a freelancer. As an author with a book with a similar name, (though it sounds like mine is quite a bit longer), I was intrigued by the concept. I agree that much of freelancing success can be summed up with succinct tips. One of hers is to "think of writing like a business," and this is critical for freelancers, especially new ones.

Case in point--I just heard from a potential client this morning (we've been in touch via email already). She offered me an assignment of several blog posts. That's great! She told me the topics she wants me to cover, and gave me a deadline of Friday. I asked her about word count, and she told me what she needs. Great. There's only one problem--we haven't talked money yet (though she did ask me to quote her a fee.)

But without agreeing on my fee, we don't have a contract yet. (Legally, because no "consideration" or value, has been identified for the blog posts, no contract exists. Thank you, law school.) 

And I won't work without a contract. That's because I always think of writing like a business. I emailed her back promptly with my bid, and asked her to let me know ASAP if that rate will work. If she says "yes," I have a contract (which I'll confirm in an email to her) and I'll get to work. If not--well, then I don't have a contract, so I don't have an assignment. 

Sounds obvious, right? But I know writers who have been burned doing work for clients before they've hammered out their fees and that never ends well. You need a contract--even it it's an email contract--before you start work.   

***Yeah, I have my own book with 101 tips to freelancing success--Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success.It still hasn't earned out yet (more about that later) but it's sold more than 4600 copies since it was published in 2012, which is good news.