The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial Series - How to treat your Freelancer.

Since the economy is crumbling all around us and every agency seems to be laying people off left and right - but work is still being produced, so clearly freelancers will be hired everywhere where people were just laid off - we thought we'd take it upon ourselves to help out... in a very AdLandish way.

The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial: Part Seven - how to work with Freelancers Professors: Åsk Wäppling a.k.a Dabitch, Jane Goldman, Jordan Stratford, Brent Hahn, Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua, John Backman, Alec Long, Maxim van Wijk, Brandon Barr and Grant Sanders (in no particular order) after a long thread on adlist where we all shared horror stories.

Sincere how to treat your freelancer advice for those unfamiliar with sarcasm:

Chapter one: Money

Never read the small print in the Freelancers price quotes or bills, it's just there to look pretty.

Be shocked when - in accordance with both the quote, contract and the previous bill - you're charged for re-using an image, logo, photograph or layout that you did not buy full rights to. Insist you we're never told. When freelancer points out that this was written in both the quote, contract and bill, and is in fact standard, get a lawyer who charges you money to explain the same exact thing. Blow the rest of this years advertising budget on that lawyer, thus preventing you to hire freelancer for more work as you originally planned.

If you hire the freelancer for a longer period on-site, say that it's fair they get the same monthly salary as everyone else working for you in that position. Except without the pension savings, health insurance, sick days, vacation, out of work insurance and other benefits that come with a job contract. Ignore the pesky detail that the freelancer (legally) has to pay for this from salary themselves, making their salary closer to half of what everyone else is making at your company.

Create the need for extra revisions by sending text to layout lacking colons or commas.

Balk at being charged for each revision.

When your freelancer calls and ask why payment is late, simply say, "The client hasn't paid us yet, so we can't pay you." It is business-logic at it's best and you are sure to accept that reasoning from your own clients, right?

Insist that if you never the run the ad, you shouldn't have to pay the freelancers who created it.

Chapter 2: General manners.

Never ever give the freelancer samples of the finished project that they spent all their midnight oil working on. They don't need it for anything.

ASAP is the only deadline you should ever give freelancers. Let them figure it out themselves.

Have no clear idea what you want. "I'll know it when I see it" works wonders.

When developing the creative brief, omit several mandatories. Mention them after the first round of deliverables. Change them after the second round.

Chapter 3: Mail manners.

Make sure to email at the last minute about additions to approved work you haven't spoken about for over a week. Mark email "URGENT" and be cryptic in it using only acronyms or shorthand to really underline the urgency. Nevermind that this will make reading the email take three times as long.

Forget details in the "URGENT" email to keep your freelancer on their toes. For example, if the urgent is "add logo to pstr A1, disp. and print ad" forget to mention WHICH print ad and don't attach the logo of which you speak.

When you do add the logo in a follow-up email, make sure it's a 150*180 pixel low level jpg with added noise. Freelancers like the challenge.

If you haven't received an email back within ten seconds of sending your URGENT email, call the freelancer. They never have any other clients or projects than yours.

Be coy. If the freelancer offers you extra bits such as larger images, or more files in an email at job completion, say "yeah I'll look at on Friday." thus dissing your own deadline by at least three days. Get back to the freelancer the following Wednesday, asking for the very same images they offered last week. Urgently.

Freelancer sends multiple emails stating that she will be unavailable and completely out of contact during specific dates. Send email during those dates demanding work be done immediately, then complain when emails are not replied to within 24 hours.

Send freelancers an e-mail masquerading as a "brief", and conclude with the phrase "So, how fast can you flip this back to me?"

When Freelancer sends you emails, forward them to all agency personnel even remotely connected to the project, and a few clients for good measure. Don't tell Freelancer you're doing this. Wait for Freelancer to ask a pointed question or otherwise speak freely. When pierced and juices run clear, Freelancer is done.

Phone manners:

Call your freelancer with two brochures due tomorrow. When she asks which one takes priority, say, "Both."

When your freelancer calls to ask about significant information that should have been in the brief, show how professional you are by failing to grasp the basic premise of the client's business or product. Claim being overworked as an excuse. Offer to call the client to ask, then don't. When the freelancer calls you back two days later to follow up, tell him it's too late to call the client now because they gave us the assignment 2 weeks ago and are expecting something ASAP.

Expect your freelancer to be available whenever, like 9pm on a Sunday.

Call Freelancer on your speakerphone and forget to mention that there are six other people in your office.

Work manners:

When your freelancer submits work you and your partners love, don't tell the freelancer all their late nights and early mornings paid off. Wait until the freelancer calls a few days afterward and asks how everything is going. Then gush and congratulate him. A week later, when you get his invoice, send a snarky e-mail asking why the bill is so high.

Bring in Freelancer for big pitch. Pay Freelancer squat, promising that "when we win the business, you're our go-to guy/gal." Win business. Get amnesia.

Grudgingly allow Freelancer to include a kill fee in their deal, but only after protesting righteously that the job couldn't possibly get killed. Haggle the kill fee down to the high two-figures, while making sure Freelancer knows you resent this lack of trust on a very personal level. Kill the job on Friday. Tell Freelancer on Monday. No, make that Tuesday. And that kill fee? Can't we just pad the next job a little?

Hire Freelancer because of the great work he/she did for a competitor. Pump Freelancer for info about said competitor. Then make Freelancer sign a confidentiality agreement. For good measure, include a clause stating that Freelancer can't work for competitors.

If Freelancer is working onsite, assign him/her the cubicle and phone of the guy that got fired the previous Friday (and whose interim replacement freelancer probably is). Don't tell Reception.

Call in a freelance CD on an interactive project because your in-house CD has no interactive experience. Introduce the freelancer to the client as the CD for the project. Don't tell your in-house CD. Invite your in-house CD to the meeting, who will take charge and make many obvious errors in the pitch. Allow the CD to ask the client who the freelancer is. Then have the in-house CD fire the freelancer on the spot in front of the client for "crashing" the meeting. When the account goes south, blame the whole mess on the freelancer.

Please remember to be a good corporate Nazi and omit question marks, making questions into orders when you "ask" someone to do something. ie: "Could the logo be bigger."

Hire freelancers to design a website for a fixed amount then proceed to message them whenever you see them online on weekends expecting them to be at your beck and call.

Keep changing the project deliverables according to your whim and fancy.

Tell freelancer that their web design is flawed and you know this because you read a book on website usability.

The Real - If you made it this far, here's some actual good advice.

Freelancers: Get all agreements on price agreed upon in writing before any project begins. Never work on handshakes, for free or for "potential work at pitch win". Know your rights. Have simple contracts for various possibilities drawn up beforehand that you can use when called for jobs.

Clients: read the small print in the price quoting and bills. If it says "one time use only" It means: One time use only. This will not change later just because you ask "hey, did we get the rights, so can we use that image/illustration again for something?". No you can't, if you wanted that you should have asked for an all rights included-quote. Buy and read The no assholes rule by Bob Stutton.

Scope out the extent of your project before calling any freelancers, know what you need done and try to work that into your budget, not the other way around after wasting money on billable hours where the project went in fifteen directions because you forgot to scope out the project before calling a freelancer.

Know their rights and legal responsibilities as well as yours as the employer of a freelancer. Don't assume anything.

Missed a tutorial? No biggie. Check them out here:
The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial Series - Part One: Radio
The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial Series - Part Two: Viral Advertising
The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial Series - Part Three: Art Direction
The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial Series - Part Four: Holiday Ads
The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial: Part Five - Account Executives
The Official AdLand Advertising Tutorial: Part Six - Creating TV commercials
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