5 Steps To a Great Freelance Contract

Freelance work is becoming a much more popular option for people in industries such as computer support, marketing, advertising, and obviously writing. If you intend to head out and find your own freelance work, then you should be prepared to provide a contract for your client to review and sign. In most cases, your clients will not have freelance contracts available, and you want to protect yourself with a contract that outlines your agreement in detail.

Below you’ll find my 5 steps to writing a great freelance contract!

1. Keep It Simple

The preferred way of executing a contract is to work with an attorney to create a comprehensive template and then customize that template for each situation. However, if you cannot afford the services of an attorney or would prefer to handle it yourself, then you will want to develop a contract that protects you as much as possible. You can buy a standard work contract at any office supply store, or you can create your own.

If you decide to create your own contract, then be sure to keep the wording very simple. People have a tendency to include a lot of what they perceive to be legal language that makes the contract appear more official, which I wouldn’t recommend. If you don’t know what something means, I’d suggest leaving it out of your contract.

2. Discuss Copyrights

In most cases, clients will want to put their own name on your work. This is called ghostwriting, and it is common in the freelance world. Whether you are creating marketing designs or writing internet copy, you will want to clearly outline how the copyrights for your work will be handled. If you assign all copyrights to your clients, then remember that you cannot use that work for any other client.

3. Outline A Payment Schedule

Never leave any part of your compensation up to interpretation. Your client may feel comfortable developing payment arrangements on the fly, but that idea should make you very nervous. When you create your contract for a freelance client, you need to include every payment detail that applies. For special work, you can include an hourly work rate or other special arrangements. You should never agree to do work that does not have its compensation outlined in the contract.

4. Define The Quality Of Work Requirements

If you are a creative professional, then you might have freelance clients who ask for endless changes to your work before they agree to pay for it. If you are a service provider, then your client could refuse payment if they do not feel your efforts meet their quality standards. The easiest way to keep your customer happy is to outline those quality standards in your contract.

Your contract should outline exactly what your client expects of you, as well as how many revisions to your work are covered by the contract. If there are changes that need to be made to this section as your relationship with the client evolves, then make the changes within the contract and get the client to initial said changes.

5. Establish Deadline Policies

If you do not work on the weekends, then you need to put that in your freelance contract. Remember that you are not entitled to employee benefits, so you should be extremely specific about when you are available to work. If you work on projects, then be sure that there are deadlines set for every project to avoid having to wait an unknown amount of time for a project to be approved for payment.

Legal advice can be expensive, but it is also essential if you want to develop your own freelance work contracts. However, if talking to a lawyer to get real legal advice is not in your immediate budget, then you should be very careful in how you set up your contracts. By keeping the information simple and dealing with real issues such as pay and deadlines, you will be able to develop contracts that you can use to protect yourself and grow your business.

 

6 Reasons To Ghostwrite

Sean asked: OK, Group. What are your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge about ghostwriting? I’m still learning. Looking for a good explanation of why a writer would take on a ghostwriting project? Don’t you want credit where credit is due? Anxious to hear your answers.

 

Join us as we dive in to this great question by Sean!

I think the best way to tell explain why writers take on ghost projects is to cover the reasons ghostwriting rocks!

Ready? Let’s do it!

 

1. EXPERIENCE 

One of the most common reasons writers take on a ghostwriting project is to gain experience. Since you can’t put a ghostwritten piece in your portfolio unless it is okay with the client, it makes the most sense to use it to gain experience. Make money while learning? Yes, please!

2. IT’S LUCRATIVE

Fellow freelance writer and Healthcare Marketing Network member Vicky Warren says she has learned ghostwriting clients tend to pay more because they don’t have the time to do it! Ghostwriters can charge up to 30% more per word (insert the lyrics to Abba’s ‘Money, Money, Money’ here).

3. EASIER TO LAND GIGS

If you’re looking for a writing opportunity and haven’t had much luck, ghostwriting could be your next logical step. Most clients will jump on board with the idea of you ghostwriting for them before they’ll agree to let you guest write on their blog, which makes it the simpler route for landing gigs. In addition, clients who want to ramp up their traffic know that quality content plays a significant role in doing so. In short, clients are willing to pay for quality content because they just don’t have the extra time to put into their blog.

4. WRITE FOR ROCKSTAR THOUGHT LEADERS

Being in the shadows isn’t always a bad thing! Ghostwriting often allows you to work with and/or for some amazing people! Working for industry thought leaders is very fulfilling and almost always provides a learning opportunity (or two)!

5. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MARKET A THING

After you post an article on your blog, you’re responsible for getting it a little lovin’. You may find yourself on social media sharing it, emailing it to fellow colleagues, or telling your friends about it. When you work for a ghostwriting client, that’s all on them!

6. YOU DON’T WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR THAT NICHE

Some writers take on a project that’s out of their niche, so they’d rather not be known for it. For example, I could write a fantastic article about the benefits of medical marijuana, but that isn’t something I necessarily stand for. I’m not totally against it, but I’m not “all in” either. When ghostwriting you can write for a client, but still keep your name off it.

 

Before jumping into a ghostwriting project, I’d recommend thinking about why you’re doing it. Try asking yourself these two important questions:

  • Will it bother me not to receive credit for my work?
  • Will I be okay with my work being edited beyond my control?

There are  very successful ghostwriters that love what they do and wouldn’t have it any other way! If you want a job that is lucrative and enjoy writing for companies, ghostwriting could be a great addition to your list of services!

Do you ghostwrite? What other pros can you add to the list?

Are you a business owner, freelancer, or creative? Become a member of The Healthcare Marketing Network today!

 

Janine Kelbach, BSN, RNC-OB is a nurse entrepreneur with experience as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, and business coach. She helps solopreneurs/entrepreneurs with her proactive, diverse virtual assistant skills and keeps executives and business owners organized, prioritized, and less stressed.