I love a good swear. Those that know me personally know this best of all.
But today I have good reason to swear. I’m actually borrowing the F-word from another, more intelligent, more successful designer, @mike_FTW, who recently did a talk on having contracts in place as designers/developers. As a freelancer I fit the bill.
The phrase “Fuck You. Pay Me.” comes from The Goodfella’s — an excellent mafia flick — and is a blunt way of saying I don’t honestly give a fuck about why you can’t pay me; pay me.
An important part for me was when asked if it was time to bring in a lawyer, Mike replies, “It is time to bring in a lawyer when you decide to go from an Amateur Designer to a Professional Designer.” It’s that simple. I should probably mention then that I’m in the market for a young, great lawyer who deals with internet-based freelancers. If you know of one please leave a comment or contact me directly. If you are one, please leave a comment or contact me directly.
Mike’s Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Contracts can shed light on some of the benefits of having a contract on place:
- Contracts protect both parties — should things go arye, a contract defines the steps to take to resolve the situation
- Don’t start work without a contract — Mike says, “starting work before signing a contract is like putting a condom on after taking a home pregnancy test.”
- Don’t blindly accept their terms — no need to explain this one. That’s your name on the dotted line; protect it
- Anticipate negotiation, but don’t back down on important stuff
- Lawyers talk to lawyers — You don’t talk to lawyers, your lawyer talks to lawyers. People hire lawyers to protect them. Mike says, “the minute they show theirs, I have to show mine.”
- Be specific and confident about money — I don’t think this was his 6th point since it has little to do with contracts, but they never showed the slide for #6, so… If you know the price of something, don’t be afraid to tell them the price
Mike iterates and re-iterates standing up for yourself — you are a business. Make sure contracts are in place so that when things go arye both parties understand how it is to be dealt with. You are in charge of your own business and you set the rules, so stand by them.
Here’s the video, enjoy! If you’re interested in reading more, Mike accompanied the talk with a post.