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4 Tips to make Sure You Get PAID doing Freelance Work 

Being a creative, often times we are so excited to start work on a project that we do not follow the steps to protect our work legally. Sometimes we undervalue our work because we are either just starting out or we compare ourselves to others that we feel are "better than us. I could just be speaking for myself but recently I experienced this EXACT scenario. I agreed to write the music for a very AFFORDABLE price to a client. Long story short, he ended up rewriting the play and not using the music I'd written AFTER I'd already written it. He just refused to pay me. I was upset for a few days then I decided that I'd write this article to help my fellow creative freelance folks out in the case that this has happened to you or to prevent it FROM happening to you in the future. 


Now for the juicy part. HOW TO ACTUALLY GET PAID.

1.Send your clients contracts in ADVANCE of beginning work

It's important that you send your terms in advance of you beginning the work and that the client actually SIGNS in before you start. Handshake agreements don't hold up in court so if you want to prove you've been cheated their needs to be some type of documentation that says you two parties have a binding contract. 

2. Document Due Dates and make sure you deliver on time as well

Document dates of payment or another correspondence with your clients. It will make a stronger case in the event you did have to go to court over work done and not paid for. Also, you want to hold yourself to the same standard. People start to get real funny when they don't want to pay you what they owe you. 

3. In your contract include all your terms.

This is the most important part in my opinion. This is where you can determine the scope of work you will do. For instance, if you write a song for a client and don't include in the contract how many edits, tracks etc, then the client may assume that you will do whatever they ask because they are paying you. This is where you'd say something like (This includes 2 edits: ANY additional edits will be an additional XX amount of dollars.) This ensures the client knows EXACTLY what they are getting and it also makes sure you are compensated for any extra work that you do.

4. Require a Deposit 

Last but not least, use the deposit to get started. Clients that are willing to pay the deposit USUALLY pay the rest of the remaining balance. NEVER GIVE THE CLIENT THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE BEFORE THE COMPLETE BALANCE IS PAID. Because there's no way to make sure they'll pay you the rest. If you have a working relationship with the client and you feel comfortable by all means WILE OUT. I personally don't though. 


There are many more tips to Making sure you get paid. If you have some ideas yourself, leave a comment. 

How to Find Quality Local Musicians For Your Band 

So you just moved here from another state and you want to start playing shows and you don't know any musicians? Maybe you are finally realizing your dream of becoming a professional musician, you been offered a gig, but you don't know where to find quality musicians that don't flake? You've tried craigslist and you've found musicians with no gear or a scheduling conflict? Perhaps you've found quality musicians but you just can't afford them. 

Fear not. There are ways around this. I have been a performing musician for over 12 years and I have had all of these issues myself. Where many people make a mistake is that they do not develop meaningful relationships with their local music scene. Just like in Wall Street business, the music business relies on that saying "Your network is your net worth." So building your network by participating in the local music scene is not just cost effective but it brings more business in the long run. 

The better idea is to go to local jams instead. Jam nights are events usually held weekly where you can sing or play your instrument in the genre of the house band (Due to the limited number of songs offered, it's best you go to a jam with music you're most familiar with to start.If you aren't that familiar with any genre in particular then write down songs you know on the list and sign up to perform those). 

Once you're at the jam, introduce yourself to everyone and start to the mental notes of which instrumentalists/vocalists you like, then introduce yourself to them immediately after they get off stage. I prefer to do it immediately because people at jams are used to playing and getting no acknowledgement. A simply high five or "great job bro!" can be all the difference between getting to work with this world class player or not. Try to get them to join you on stage when you go up to perform your song. Don't worry so much about the performance, you're there to network and make yourself known in the local scene. That being said, if you nail your performance, you're much more likely to get these folks to want to work with you so Practice, Practice, Practice! Often times, folks that go to jams are producers or composers and could be looking to use your specific talent on a particular record. The often can end up referring you to other musicians looking to start a band or that need band members.

You don't have to stay the whole time but get the contact info of your favorite musicians you meet during the evening. If they are having a show soon, go to it and support them. This shows that you are invested in them as a friend as well. These artists can also end up working with more well known musicians pretty quickly sometimes so it helps to actually build meaningful relationships in jam circles.