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
Simon Blair

Hi Alyssa,

That's a great question and I'm looking forward to hearing people's answers.

The first thing that came to mind for me was "what is it exactly that the client is contracting you for?" That is, does the contract promise that certain business metrics will be impacted or does the contract deal with your deliverables ?

I would be really nervous about committing to meeting specific business metrics because there are many factors outside our control that impact those. Imagine if your solution was perfect and did everything it was supposed to, but there was an economic downturn, the company changed their goals, or the managers didn't support on-the-job application? It would be ludicrous to hold you responsible for results in those cases.

That being said, the client probably came to you looking for help meeting their goals. If you're looking to get more work from them in the future, you may want to work with them to either manage expectations or investigate why the goals weren't met. 


Dennis Hall

Hi Alyssa:

I normally indicate... example: "The satisfactory evaluation results attained at the end of the Quality Assurance Evaluation (the final evaluation) by a 10 person (minimum) sampling of the target audience (provided by the client) constitute the successful completion of this project.

Changes required after the successful completion of this project are to be addressed as a Project Change order, or a New Project."

Hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Dennis Hall

Char Larkin

Hello, I am not sure how active this thread is, but it was recommended by a staff member. 

After a very lengthy assignment, I am in transition again.  I would like to know what percentage of your work comes to you via "agencies" versus, what percentage do you generate on your own?

I have been working as a freelancer for almost five years and I have found that companies seem to prefer to work through agencies.  I have no problem finding work through agencies, but would like that balance of work that I can find on my own.  When the contract ends, I still have my own work.   

Is this now the trend?  What has been your experience? 

Thanks for your response. 

Jeanne Bernui

I've never worked through an agency, and I've been freelancing for five years. All of my work thus far has been referrals by clients and former employers. I also belong to my local chapter of ATD, which is a great place to network. I've done some volunteer work that has led to paid work, too.

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Please excuse any typos.

Char Larkin

Thank you Daniel and Jeanne.  Just to get me going, I started by placement of a few agencies.  After a few short assignments, I have worked every day!  That is the good news, but the not so good news is that I have not been able to network as well as I would prefer.  Networking, marketing  myself is also just very hard for me.  It's very uncomfortable, so I have found the agency placement route easy since they do the marketing for me.  Yet, I want to be able to have ongoing work that is always there when the agency placement ends. 

In my local area, it seems that the larger companies always direct me to their agency for ID work.  They do this as a company directive to standardize and maintain costs.   

After hearing from both of you, I am still wondering the direction of the market for ID work.  Are most companies working through agencies as a way to standardize and control costs?  That has been my experience.  Any other comments about this is appreciated.  Thanks! 

Holly MacDonald

Hi Terra - I don't consider myself a freelancer, but have been operating my own boutique firm for the past 9+ years. 

I would imagine there's some geographic influences involved - some areas might be heavily geared toward agencies and others might be less so. I have found that's the case with larger organizations as well. I live in BC, Canada and there has been a shift lately - there was a swing towards agencies or "systems integrators" getting the contracts so that the client had fewer people to deal with, but as with anything there's pros and cons to that model. Today that seems to be swinging back favoring a variety of vendors. There's also the option to seek out smaller organizations who aren't as likely to use agencies.

Some ideas for you:

  • Explore getting on a preferred suppliers/vendor list for state government or large institutions (utilities, telcos, etc) to give yourself options. (and not sure of how this works outside of Canada)
  • Find an association that you can participate in and contribute. This type of exposure can connect you to all kinds of organizations. I used to do a lot of work with the local HR association and got lots of referrals that way.
  • Find a local partner who you can work with - perhaps that person is a good networker, giving you the freedom to do the development work.

Hope that helps!


Char Larkin

Thank you so much.

That is great advice. I have not been good at getting more involved in our local chapter - on and off when I get so busy. That would be an easy commitment to make. And the government route is also a nice thought. I do realize that networking is important. I fall short of that, I realize. Such a flaming introvert that I am -

When I try to tap the smaller companies, I find they don't have the budgets to afford me. LOL. Therefore, the larger companies that tend to need help are the ones that work through agencies.

On another note, I think I read that this type of discussion is best handled on another thread. I would love to feel more connected to other freelancers so will seek that out on eHeroes.


Tammy Knoll-Anderson

There is an awesome group that I'm connected with you can network with remotely. I haven't been as active lately because I'm swamped with work, but they are a talented and friendly bunch! I've pasted an email communication from Patti Bryant ( below for you.

Hello all! I hope you’re having a wonderful week. ;)

Just a quick reminder for COMMUNITY HOUR THURSDAY! 

What is Community Hour?

An hour where we discuss a problem, question, or something you would like to brainstorm. We’ll get through as many of these as possible, during the meeting, and you can leave with solutions. (Example: Susie keeps having scope creep, but isn’t sure why. Others will chime in with how they avoid this.) This heavily relies on community participation.

What do you need to do?

·         Come prepared with questions you may have, a topic you would like to discuss, or something you’re struggling with, so we can help you!

·         During the meeting, we’ll all pitch in with answers, if we have experience on a topic. However, we also have a strong panel that will help answer questions.


Meeting URL:  

Or join by phone:

    +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)

    Meeting ID: 441 997 134 

    International numbers available: zoomconference?m=4IIlhvR_ wWlUHTKPdjNT2iNEPVcus_eF  


Easily SHARE Thursday’s meeting! Simply copy the snippet below in Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Are you a #training #freelancer? Join a #community of folks - live Thursdays 9am MT/4pm GMT – register here:   


What about questions you have throughout the week? We have a lively chat going on in the community on Slack. Interested in joining the conversation? Reply to me or email Ant Pugh to get the invite (it’s super top secret and invite only - so you can feel comfortable asking questions you might not post on LinkedIn).


I hope to ‘see’ you tomorrow, or a future Thursday! 

Keepin’ the joy,

Patti Bryant Learning

Hi Terra, I see the same trends that you are with regard agency work. It is certainly easier to get but then ties up your time to look for other direct projects. It may be necessary to try and reduce your agency work a little in the short run to free up some time for the networking activities (online and offline) as described above.

I started out on my own now have a small agency doing customised design. A  challenge I found was finding the time away from safer agency contracts to search for projects and have faith that they will come. 

(I'm involved in the group Tammy mentioned above, join on slack! I find it very valuable :-))

Char Larkin

Thanks, Sean.  Yes, my recent contract went over 3 1/2 years!  Unusual, I know, but it created safety for me, while I also was aware that I was taking a risk by not having the time to network outside of this work.  It is now changing to part time and I am trying to piece this together. 


Tammy Layman

Hi everyone, 

I'm just launching out as a freelancer.  As I'm setting up my business and getting ready to submit my final work product to a client, it's been heavily recommended that I purchase E&O business insurance and hire a business lawyer to draw up my contracts.  How are others handling the nuts and bolts aspect of freelancing? 

Richard Watson


Maybe I'm misunderstanding your post. You say you are "getting ready to submit my final work product to a client". To me, that infers you are past the "draw up your contracts" stage of things. I always write a Statement of Work before I start working on a client's project. Hopefully, I misunderstood your post. :)

As far as learning more about the "nuts and bolts" aspect of freelancing, please feel free to read some of my articles. Perhaps they will help you fill in some of the gaps in regards to freelancing in the e-Learning field. You can find them here if you are interested.

In regard to E&O, some larger clients will require it. Others will require you to carry general liability insurance as well. In most cases, general liability is needed if you will have clients in your office and you are concerned about bodily or property damage. If the client you are working with requires E&O, you may be able to negotiate the amount of coverage the client asks for. Premiums for E&O can range from $450 - $1500 annually so you'll need to budget for this closely. I've also had situations where a company who was subcontracting out to me covered me under their E&O and I paid a fee for the benefit.

I've found that freelancers who work with smaller companies on projects with limited risks, don't need E&O that much. While those who work with larger clients, do. Others may provide more insight but it's probably prudent you talk with an insurance broker for your specific situation.  Each freelancer works a little differently and takes on different types of projects. Someone who does not understand your specific business situation or the types of projects you are taking on, shouldn't be giving you too much advice in this area.

Also, are you engaging with your clients under a business name (e.g., Inc., LLC.)? If not, that is a big mistake when it comes to liability issues. But, that conversation should be left for another day.


Jeanne Bernui

I've been freelancing for over 5 years.  I create a Statement of Work for every project and, for most of my smaller clients, that's the extent of it - no formal contract.  I've had a few clients over the years provide their own contracts for me to sign, but I've never had to hire a lawyer to draw up contracts for me.  I've also never been required to have liability insurance. I primarily work here in the US, but I have done work for a company in the UK, too.

Dave Angers

We are in need of a freelance course developer to help us with a steady stream of projects we want done over the next couple of years. We also need this awesome designer to help us develop design standards that we can work within so we’re not custom designing new courses from scratch each time. We’ll collaborate on the most efficient way to get you content so we avoid unnecessary sorting and organizing on your end.
Our firm is new to eLearning so we need someone with a few years of experience that ideally works in Storyline. Our LMS will launch in June so we’d like to get started on course dev soon and if we like your work and you like our projects we have a pretty steady diet of course dev we can keep you busy with.

Dave Angers
Extended Learning Director

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