Freelance Heroes

Hi, and welcome to the "Freelance Heroes" thread, a place where Articulate Freelancers help each other. Got a question about freelancing? Or perhaps you have an e-learning asset that may be valuable to those "doin' their own thing"? This is the place to share--to give.

To start things off, I'd like to share a short list of questions that help me figure out what kind of training a potential client wants. (So often they have no idea what they want.) The list is far from exhaustive, but may be of some help. Looking forward to meeting you. --Daniel  

1301 Replies
Bruce Graham

Nicholas Ostheimer said:

Is it possible for someone to post an example SOW?

Thank you kindly.

Nicholas


Not really I'm afraid, one they are a relationship with my client, and two, they say what you want them to say.

Basically - a document that says what you will do, what they will do, in what order, using what resources, by when, what is in and out of scope, and penalties for non delivery, at what price(s).

Bruce Graham

@Karen - remember that you are in US, and I am in UK.

As a more litigious society, a contract may be expected by your clients. I have never really used either until recently, but as the majority of my clients now come from the US, I have started doing so (SOWs).

I do not tend to use SOWs on larger projects - it's only on the smaller ones (using other products - not Storyline).

My SL contracts tend to me much more "consultative" engagements, where we work over requirements and expectations over time, OR where I travel to the client for an introductory meeting and we do the whole expectation-setting piece in a more relaxed way.

The only legal documents I really see, (and there's one for virtually every client...) is signing an NDA.

Jeanne Bernui

Hi Nicholas,


Here's a sample of a service agreement I use.  I know it's not perfect, but may give you some ideas.  As others have said, of course, each one I create is tailored to that specific client.  In this example, I had already done work for this client so it's not as in depth as it would be for a brand new client.  This is based on a template I found online - I just adapted it to my needs.

I don't usually include the bit about the late fee, but as I already had a relationship with this client, and they are notorious for paying me three months late, I felt justified in adding it.

For a larger project, I also do an Instructional Design Plan.  I can't seem to post more than one attachment to this post, so I'll post a sample ID plan in a separate post.  Again, not saying these are exemplary, just examples.  Any input is appreciated!

Jeanne

Kai ...

Good point Bruce! 

I am curious to know as what would you consider a big vs. small project? Of course they are all subjective, right?

Bruce Graham said:

@Karen - remember that you are in US, and I am in UK.

As a more litigious society, a contract may be expected by your clients. I have never really used either until recently, but as the majority of my clients now come from the US, I have started doing so (SOWs).

I do not tend to use SOWs on larger projects - it's only on the smaller ones (using other products - not Storyline).

My SL contracts tend to me much more "consultative" engagements, where we work over requirements and expectations over time, OR where I travel to the client for an introductory meeting and we do the whole expectation-setting piece in a more relaxed way.

The only legal documents I really see, (and there's one for virtually every client...) is signing an NDA.

Bruce Graham

@Karen,

I currently have another blossoming business creating cartoons, usually about 1-2 minutes long.

These rely on me agreeing visuals, responsibilities, effects, voiceovers, sounds, deliverables and a 1-2 page storyboard.

The total sales to signoff cycle is rapid, usually a week at the most, and for these - I use an SOW, as the engagement with clients is likely to be much shorter, over a period of a few days.

Anything longer (the bulk of my business) tends to be based on discussion, dialogue and consultancy.

Hope that clarifies.

Jeanne Bernui

Karen (Freelancer) said:

@Jeanne : Question 

- I am curious to know why you have separated the 2 docs  (R&Rand SOW)? I understand the ID plan has to be separate. just curious


Hi Karen,  

I only use the R&R doc with clients who are not familiar with the typical roles.  Most of my clients don't need it

Kai ...

Hi Jeanne,

Cool! I decided to do the same . What a great  idea . 

I would usually do that once the SOW is signed, but decided s why not include it as a separate attachment as well.

I do have one more question :): It is so easy for clients to dump us, what about verbiage that reflects that both parties have this option?apart from payment/deliverables not being complied with? I am trying to add in this - whereby for 'certain' reasons or circumstances the agreement will be nullified. Does that make sense? Do you have such a contract as well?

Thanks,

Karen

Jeanne Bernui

Karen (Freelancer) said:

Hi Jeanne,

Cool! I decided to do the same . What a great  idea . 

I would usually do that once the SOW is signed, but decided s why not include it as a separate attachment as well.

I do have one more question : It is so easy for clients to dump us, what about verbiage that reflects that both parties have this option?apart from payment/deliverables not being complied with? I am trying to add in this - whereby for 'certain' reasons or circumstances the agreement will be nullified. Does that make sense? Do you have such a contract as well?

Thanks,

Karen


You know, I haven't run into this…yet… so I haven't looked into crafting language to include in the service agreement.  I agree that it would be helpful.  Maybe someone else out there can share the verbiage they use for a clause like this?

Bruce Graham

If you own a business, you need sales training, and sales experience, (in my opinion).

There are as many sales methods as salespeople, but the more you know, and the more you have practiced, the more you will understand. "Sales" training is also different from knowing about "sales operations".

Typical sales training will teach you about Pipeline Management, Negotiating Skills, Features/Functionality/Benefits, "Closing Skills" and so on. An understanding of Sales Operations gives you experience of other things - how to, (for example) negotiate payment schedules with clients, create the correct relationships with them based around finances, territories etc. All THOSE things can be absolutely invaluable because they will help you understand your clients. The more you understand your clients, the better you will understand their motivations, and that will help you be more successful.

When you enter the world of freelancing you have become, (to one level or another...), a businessperson and business-owner; and therefore, (assuming you know the whole ID/software field), your success depends on sales experience, capability and knowledge. I know many successful freelancers who do not have a deep understanding of sales, however, I believe it can give you the edge and make you more successful in many areas of your business operations, and your business development and growth - if that is part of your overall strategy.

Meighan Maloney

Hi,

Hope this finds you all well and warm!  I am looking for someone to help develop an e-learning project. 

What we have: I have the content in hand, I have a background in live and blended instructional design (but no sophisticated e-learning work), I have a crack video production team.  I have potential designers for graphic assets, but am open to looking at others.  The final project needs to fit into Moodle and while I am still getting the tech specs from the client, I suspect it will need to work in mobile devices (but maybe with apps or other workarounds). The end project will deliver a large portion of the content through video scenarios (similar in style to the TV show 24) and we'd like the interface to move seamlessly from video to quizzes to graphics/animations and back to video.  We'd like to develop interactions inside the experience that require more than "multiple choice" or true/false quizzing and I have some ID ideas for how to get at higher order learning.

What we need?  I am guessing you can tell me better than I can tell you, but I'm guessing it is someone who knows how to make Storyline sing and dance all the way home.  We're on the left coast, but parts of our team are across the US.

We are currently 1 of 4 vendors in the running and I'd love to find this technical genie and get them on our team before we submit our proposal by Feb. 24th.  Please feel free to click through on my bio to our company website, and contact me directly through the info@ link.  Thanks for reading!

Hadiya Nuriddin

Hi everyone.

 

I’ma self-employed L&D Consultant in Chicago. I’m conducting a research study onself-employment in the Learning & Development (L&D) profession for mysession at the ASTD conference ("Taking the Leap: Starting your FreelanceConsulting Career or Training Company”) in Washington D.C.

If you arecurrently self-employed, would you please complete a short survey about workingas a Self-employed L&D Professional: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ldcurrent?(more details are on the survey)

If you’re notgoing to the conference, no worries. All the data and other resources from thesession will be posted online this summer.

Hopefully,both new and experienced consultants can use the data to establish a baselinefor ongoing business decisions (e.g. pricing, whether to specialize, theeffectiveness of certain marketing strategies, etc.).

I have somegreat data already and have learned quite a bit myself. But the more data wehave, the more meaningful the suggestions will be.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ldcurrent

 

Thanks,

Hadiya

Kai ...

Hi All,

What does one do when a client says ' Wow! Why would it take so long? After I soent all the time on the SOW.

This of course, knowing you have outlined and discussed the eLearning project plan and what is involved. I mentioned that all of the heavy lifting will have to come from their SMEs that will provide the course outline and storyboard. I was really taken a back by this. I am a neophyte and I really tried to explain the whole process, but somehow it still didn't make any sense.

Sigh....What a day

Bruce Graham

Ask them "You sound surprised...?", often - they will then tell you exactly what the "issue" is.

At that point, you need to be ready with your statistics - average of one hour per slide, in order to create the graphics, (after finding ones that work...), write the script, type the script up and put it into the Notes, QA x ?, synch the animations to the text, have you change it, have your new reviewer, (who was not on the original list...) come in and provide a completely new set of slides etc. and so on.

Many SMEs want to throw it at you, and have you do "magical things" and produce eLearning. eLearning is composed of us (the learning people...), and them, (the content people).

You sound as though you are on the right track, you need to continue educating them. Hopefully you will get repeat business, in which case it will get easier.

Let us know how it goes.

Kai ...

Thanks Bruce! Feeling a bit deflated. I will continue forward and see where it lands. It just irks me because I have put so much work into the PM stuff already and we haven't signed a contract yet.  Even we are aren't moving forward, can I still bill them? (Just curious)

Funny how weird it is being on the other side...lol! 

Holly MacDonald

Oh Karen, don't despair. This is an age-old challenge for many of us. Even if we are experienced in developing e-learning, our clients may not be or they may be used to doing it all in-house and don't foresee the complexities and time commitment of the whole process. I'd agree with Bruce's comments above.

Take what you've learned so far and bundle it into a brochure that you can use for future clients. It could include:

  • How does the process work?
  • What's my role?
  • What time commitment should I expect?
  • What's a Subject matter expert?
  • Etc.

Hope that helps,

Holly

Bruce Graham

@Karen, after some overnight reflection, if it makes it any easier, this could just be part of their negotiation tactics.

I am always going on and on about understanding "business" as well as concentrating on just understanding "learning".

You can probably pick up an introductory book on negotiation techniques at Amazon for a few £/$. It would probably help you understand this sort of thing when it happens, you will still need to have your answers prepped, but it would help you be prepared for them and understand what is possibly happening.

Holly's suggestions are spot on - and are where you forget about "learning" and create (in effect...) a "Business Advert". It's where those two worlds meet for an instructional designer. I got so sick of people asking the same sort of thing ("...but don't you just add a voiceover to PowerPoint - why do you take so long and charge what you do...?") that if I'm asked that question now, I built, and now just refer them to this:

http://youtu.be/ksBjQswEa5I

Hope that all helps a bit more.