Top Ten lies every freelance writer or artist must know

If you plan to do freelance work as an artist, writer, graphics designer or whatever you are thinking about … This fine list I found on today and all those lies are well known and the list is worth being printed out.

Top 10 Lies told to Naive Artists and Designers (by Painter Creativity)
The classical arguments everybody doing freelance contract work knows or should know.

  1. “Do this one cheap (or free) and we’ll make it up on the next one.”
  2. “We never pay a cent until we see the final product.”
  3. “Do this for us and you’ll get great exposure! The jobs will just pour in!”
  4. On looking at sketches or concepts: “Well, we aren’t sure if we want to use you yet, but leave your material here so I can talk to my partner/investor/wife/clergy.”
  5. “Well, the job isn’t CANCELLED, just delayed. Keep the account open and we’ll continue in a month or two.”
  6. “Contract? We don’t need no stinking contact! Aren’t we friends?”
  7. “Send me a bill after the work goes to press.”
  8. “The last guy did it for XXX dollars.”
  9. “Our budget is XXX dollars, firm.”
  10. “We are having financial problems. Give us the work, we’ll make some money and we’ll pay you. Simple.”

Beside this simple list the page offers counter arguments for every single point. Very useful and recommended to anybody planning to make freelance deals.

Inhale those counter arguments and find your own friendly standard answers before you hear those arguments!

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21 thoughts on “Top Ten lies every freelance writer or artist must know

  1. #3 is spot on, how many times does someone offer you a free slot on their website to write anything you want for no fee? In fact, isn’t that what all those social networking sites are doing?


  2. I think I have heard all 10 over time, both as a freelancer and when I was an employee.

    I made a post about it about a year ago, and I think it is relevant to this post, as it refers directly to some of the negotiating stand-points you can take to some of the above mentioned lies.

    How to charge a client

  3. I will try to find the author, I got this once by mail (month before) and someone posted this at a forum where I’m often.

  4. @olederer: Great find. But you don’t know the author or have no source where you found it?

    I would love to mention that painting to the original creator of the list Painter Creativity.

  5. Top notch stuff from Markus. Brilliant. Very useful too for some of the projects I’m working on. Now, how to turn some of them to my advantage so I can charge more…

  6. ROTFLMAO! Damn, Markus. I need to re-wrap my head with tin foil. My thoughts are leaking out again.

    A few more:

    11. Sure, I have lots of time.
    12. Sure, I know that topic very well.
    13. Yes, I actually read all of my 900 Blogline subscriptions. Every day, while tending my sick alligator.
    14. Yes, I know organic SEO. I have some growing in the garden.
    15. Sure, I have lots of time. Always. My time zone consists of 25 hours.

  7. That’s easy (a draft):

    10 Lies Raj Has Successfully Delivered To Clients

    1. Sure, I can do that
    2. I start immediately
    3. I hear you loud and clear
    4. You are my most important partner
    5. I never got that mail.
    6. Your samples haven’t arrived yet so I could not start
    7. I am waiting for a sub contractor to deliver
    8. My computer broke down
    9. I was in hospital (granny died, sister got a baby, …)
    10. I would never lie to you

    I have been sitting on both sides of the table.

    Just took me two minutes 🙂

  8. I guess, Markus, that we need a second post: “10 Lies I’ve Told My Clients”, to give them air time

  9. The “cheque is in the mail” doesn’t count because that’s the next list which comes later (not from me) … after you have finished your work instead of inhaling this list and the counter arguments.

  10. Heh, I once had a very long drawn out version of “cheque is in the mail” involving the most unfortunate series of events the guy could invent (including him being in a head to toe body cast). And that was a supposed friend. Sad thing is I would have let him off if he had just been honest but he had to keep making bolder and bolder promises and more convoluted lies instead.

  11. You are right, but that is the old version. Now it is “I’ll get with accounting right away….” Have used this myself.

  12. @geeksaresexy: You are absolutely right about the title. But this is still and so the title should have to do with blogging. And I didn’t want to use something lame like “every pro blogger” 🙂

  13. me too, for computer/ Internet consulting. I gave up on hiring myself out independently and went with an agency. Until now. Now I freelance write, but have fortunately not heard those lies in this biz. Yet.

  14. It is entirely accurate, have had each of those said to me at one point or another apart from the “the budget is x”, I have NEVER had a client tell me the budget, that would have made estimating so much easier! Instead they have always asked me to quote and either agreed or said “too much” or even worse gone to a cheaper competitor (usually with all my ideas and advice nicely packaged up for them).

  15. The title could be changed to something like: Top 10 Lies told to any independant workers.

    I’ve heard these kinds of arguments lots of time from companies who ask for external help to do jobs they can’t handle themselves.

    When it comes to money, most corporations will try to rip you off (wether you are an employee, or a contractor). Unfortunately, in the business world, “morality” and “respect” are values that are hard to come by in 2006.

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