Now that you’ve convinced a client they want to work with you, it’s up to you to define the terms of your working agreement. Your goal in the contract negotiation process is not to determine the best price, but to most accurately define the scope of your project. This is possibly the most critical factor in the success of your project, and it’s something most consultants completely fail to follow through on.
A Statement of Work (SOW) formally defines the scope of the activities and deliverables for a project. BusinessDictionary.com defines scope as the “chronological division of work to be performed under a contract or subcontract in the completion of a project.”
Some clients have a very specific chunk of work in mind, while others just know they need help. In either scenario, use your expertise to determine the appropriate amount of work to tackle, according to several key variables: needs, resources, location, schedule, and budget. Read More
Not long after I went independent, a friend who works at a well-known global advertising agency asked if I would be interested in helping out on a high-profile Web site redesign project. I was pretty stoked. He suggested I come in to meet his team. After meeting with the lead developer and project manager, I was told they wanted to bring me on. All I had to do was to meet the creative director.
When he finally got a chance to sit down with me, the first thing he asked was something I wasn’t prepared for: “Can I see your portfolio?”
I hadn’t brought one. “I can give you the URL,” I said. We weren’t near a computer.
His glassy response: “I’m not sure what we have to discuss if I can’t see your work.” And with that he asked that we reschedule for a time when I could come back with my book. Then he left. Read More
You’ve passed the seduction phase. You’ve made the client fall in love with you. You’ve determined the terms of your engagement. Now, you need to make things official.
When I used to do freelance on the side, while still employed full time, I never got my clients to sign contracts. I didn’t see the point, and I hated the formality. It felt stuffy, and I thought it would be a turnoff to my clients. Instead, I outlined a loose schedule and process in an email message, told them the dollar amount, then got to work while I waited for the check. If I didn’t get things done on time, it was no big deal, because my clients’ expectations of my commitment were pretty low. If the check came later than I was hoping, that was no big deal either, because I had my salary to rely on. All in all, everything was fine.
But once I quit my job to do consulting full time, all of that easy, breezy stuff had to change. I needed protection. And so did my clients. Read More