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Everyone makes beginner mistakes because we all were beginners. Don't be embarrassed; learn from the experience and move on.

* Always have a contract. Always. If nothing else make sure there is a document that spells out in detail exactly what each party expects of each other; in the simplest cases that may be an email message. But if (_when_, really) it changes, it's equally important to update that document.

* Read Weinberg's The Secrets of Consulting, a book I've given as a gift at least 10 times over the years. One important lesson you'll gain from it is that "The answer to any client query, 'Can you do this?' is always: 'Yes: And this is what it will cost you.'" The cost may be in time or cash or any number of other things. It always surprises me what people are/aren't willing to pay for; make sure you set a price that makes you happy if they respond, "Sure, that works."

* Get money up front. The most common breakdowns are "half in advance, half at completion" though for some projects it may be, "x% at signing; x% at [some midpoint, where you both can see what the end result will look like; x% at completion." Be very clear in the contract what "completion" looks like. You might think it's, "The site is live!" but the client may believe it is, "When the CEO approves it" and she is on a year long sabbatical.
QuestionHow do you find work contracts? Pin
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