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  

1303 Replies
XAn Choly

Hi, I am very grateful for this forum and a big thanks to all contributors.

I am on the verge of signing a freelance contract and I need to address the subject of content ownership.

Do you freelancers hand over your source files, eg: Storyline source files, Photoshop psd files and any custom multimedia source files?

Or do you agree just to hand over the SCORM package?

I am of the opinion that I retain ownership of all source files with the understanding (and hope) that the client would turn to me for any changes, which turns into billable hours.

How have you worded that source files ownership clause? Appreciate any feedback.

Thanks.

Alexandros Anoyatis

This reminds me of peers who share their work and obfuscate the JS code inside their demos. It kind of defeats the purpose...

So basically I disagree. You should hand over the source files. Treat them like a valued client, not just another customer. Locking them this way makes every subsequent change a pain for them and they are not paying for pain. If you do a decent enough job on the project you can be sure they will come back to you for more business regardless - so no point forcing them to "marry" your course.

Just my 2c,
Alex

Matthew Bibby

I hand over source files once clients have paid the final invoice.

You'll get recurring business by being good at what you do and treating people fairly, not by forcing them to go through you for future changes.

This is just my opinion and I'm sure there are others here who approach things in a different way. In part, it depends on what exactly you are doing for the client. 

I think you'll find this article (and some of the comments) interesting.

Kathryn Weaver

??I have to agree with the others that you hand everything over in the end. That is unless you have already worked out some sort of long-term contract that includes maintenance and they just don't care to have the original files.

If you were an artist being commissioned to create a piece of work for a company's corporate headquarters, you wouldn't give them a print and keep the original for yourself. You would give them the original painting because that's what they paid for.

It's a similar situation to "work for hire" copyrights for music and literature. If I am a songwriter and I'm on salary for an advertising company, any jingle I write or record for them is theirs. Yes, I created it, but they paid me a salary to create it and therefore the company retains the ownership including copyrights and publishing. Freelance work is only different in that, rather than being on the company's payroll, they paid you one time for one project. Still, the principal of ownership is the same.

Dale Hargis

Kathryn Weaver

?I have to agree with the others that you hand everything over in the end. That is unless you have already worked out some sort of long-term contract that includes maintenance and they just don't care to have the original files.

I think part of the discussion may be about whether, as freelance developers, we're being paid for a service or a product. For example, if you buy a house, the builder should provide all of the plans and documentation on everything installed in the house so that you can maintain it yourself. The builder's responsibility ends and yours as the homeowner begins. However, if you rent a home, your landlord is really the one who needs to know how to maintain the place.

It's a similar situation to "work for hire" copyrights for music and literature. If I am a songwriter and I'm on salary for an advertising company, any jingle I write or record for them is theirs. Yes, I created it, but they paid me a salary to create it and they

Dale Hargis

Jeanne Bernui

I turn all files over to the client. My feeling is that they paid me to create them, and the client owns them. I have actually been hired by more than one client to RECREATE something that another contractor created for them, but kept the source files. This made the clients angry and, thus, instead of going back to that contractor for fixes, they hired me to recreate.

The only thing I put in my contracts is that I retain the right to use the finished product for portfolio purposes. Most don’t have an issue with that.

Jeanne

Phil Mayor

I would never want a client to come back to me because they have to because I "own" the source files.  I would much prefer they come back to me because of the value I can add.

I hand over everything, I also make it clear that I am not responsible for curating, archiving or backing up their source files as lost files could mean I need to replicate the work for free.

Richard Watson

I agree with Phil. My repeat customers don't come back to me because I have the masters, it's because they see the value I provide. As part of every statement of work I write, I make it clear that I will provide the masters to the client. Although the responsibility is for the client to maintain the master files moving forward (storage/backup), I also keep a copy on an external drive and in DropBox should they run into a problem.

Tammy Knoll-Anderson

Hi Mirabel,

I hope you have had some good response to your offer! In case you haven't, adding it to the eLearning Heroes Jobs Hub, https://community.articulate.com/articles/e-learning-jobs, will increase its exposure and your chances of finding the talent you need. Be sure to chose "remote" as the category and state it is a temporary (freelance) project.

Thanks!

Tammy

Bruce Graham

Kelly, I do not want to sound dismissive or unhelpful here, however, if you need to ask these two questions, then perhaps it's not quite the right time to start a business!

It might be better to spend a few months/years in a sales or sales operation role, to see how business "works", before branching out on your own. Heck, I have 20 years of that background, and I still find it a struggle sometimes!

Just trying to be honest, but wishing you success whatever road you decide to travel.

Tammy Knoll-Anderson

Hi Kelly,

I recently became part of a group called the  Online Network of Independent Learning Professionals which has a following that explores this topic among others. To get connected, please email Patti Bryant at patti@learningreinvented.net. She is our fearless leader using her valuable time to facilitate this conversation. We have a weekly meeting webcast and a forum using Slack. To get connected to the forum, you can email Ant Pugh at ant@elearningarchitect.co.uk.

Hope this helps!

Tammy

Alyssa Gomez

Hello!

Has anyone ever been in a situation where a client contacts you 6 months to a year after you developed a training solution for their company and told you that the training goal was not met?

Do you have a statement in your contract/scope of work that does not guarantee the goal will be met within a certain timeframe?

Thanks in advance!