August 26, 2011

The Constitution of a Modern Freelancer

The majority of the nations around the globe base their interactions between the habitants on a basic law, written or unwritten called the constitution. This entity guarantees various aspects of the common wishes of the citizens as a way of organizing, the most important civil rights and duties. A better approach in order to familiarize with this concept may be the reading of the constitution of each reader’s country; personally, I consider the reading of the state constitution a moral duty for any 18+ years old person.

Several organizations, big corporations and associations have established their specific “constitutions”, which are subordinate to the entire system of laws of the country where the respective new “constitution” is created.

Mostly these non-state constitutions are in fact a set of moral rules which once applied will improve the situation in the respective domain and will offer a better climate of work for any obedient of this law. A branch which still needs such a constitution is the freelance world; there are some moral aspects which may be established in worldwide “law”. Here is the first attempt of the modern freelancer; clearly, here are presented the basic problems and an individual perspective over this “constitution” so it is based on a moving land but along the time and with the help of the community in the future a functional constitution may be born. In order to have a progress I believe it is better for any reader to express his point of view about the necessity of a freelance constitution and if the response is affirmative to put in a comment his opinions or/and agreements/disagreement regarding my trying to elaborate this prototype. Once again, I emphasize that I have no right to establish this constitution; here is only a basic form which is perfectible and clearly, reflects only a personal approach. I thought it is better to present a short explanation of the “articles” in this constitution. Enjoy it and let me know if you like it!

1. The Glossary

instantShift - Constitution of a Modern Freelancer


– it is an activity which supposes the existence and the agreement between a freelancer and a client. Freelancing is the generic term that describes the occupation of a specialist who ignores the possibility of working in a corporation/company and takes it individually. A freelancer realizes projects almost in the same manner as a firm but here the individuality part is stressed; in a company, the responsibilities are clearly distributed and each member has his duties while a freelancer is doing all these, rarely outsourcing some components.


– the person who adopts the idea of working individually having embraced freelancing. Usually there are two types:

  • -part time freelancers who enjoy freelancing but they have a stable job, in the most cases having a flexible schedule;
  • -full time freelancers, they are the lucky ones who escaped from having bosses and work 100% as individuals.

Freelancers should be considered as multilateral personalities because they are dealing with their work but also with other adjacent occupations as opposed to a corporation whether these are solved by other employers.

The client

– he is the one who prefers the services of an individual rather than a company and without it the entire concept of freelancing wouldn’t have existed. His satisfaction must be the single indicator of the quality of the services of a freelancer, but in a way the commercial world of advertising has its role as well and we are facing a paradoxical situation: not the most talented freelancers are taking the best projects but the freelancers who are the best promoters (but don’t worry he must also be talented, producing high quality works).

2. The Rights of The Freelancer

instantShift - Constitution of a Modern Freelancer

2.1. The freelancer has the right to have signed a contract every time a new project is awarded

Explanation: A freelancer doesn’t have the financial resources or the time to deal with irresponsible clients and the best remedy against any bad treatment is to have signed a contract where all the details of the project are stipulated. Even though a client will say that he is serious and a contract is a loss of time a freelancer must ask for one, or else he won’t take the offer into the consideration. The perfect situation is when all the freelancers in this world will proceed the same and in this ideal situation anybody will work based on a written understanding. All the parts should carefully study the clauses in the contract before any signature is put on the paper.

2.2. Any extra hour of work or any small new modification should be paid (except for the case when the freelancer decides to do them for free)

Explanation: As I said previously, a contract is the paper which seems to solve everything. A lot of clients want freelancers to do everything what they consider to be necessary; some of them may consider that a layout means an entire website, a SEO campaign and a yearlong maintenance but the reality is different. Nobody must catalogue the freelancers as avaricious but it is time consuming to update everyday a project just because the preferences of the project owner are changing pretty quickly. It is recommended to do favors to the clients and to offer two or three revisions but don’t transform this into an everyday habit. The perfect freelancer must find the balance between greed and offering discount to the clients.

2.3. The supreme proof of any freelancer is the portfolio

Explanation: Our world is invaded with a lot of promotional messages and it is very hard to orientate in order to receive the best services or to buy products of high quality. The most objective fact which should be primordial in cataloguing a freelancer should be the portfolio, used by the owner to reveal his skills and level of knowledge. A better strategy of promoting is welcomed but the quality of the portfolio is the most important. Also, any customer should know that this is the entity which can’t ever lie; it just shows the skills and nothing more.

2.4. Any freelancer is free to promote himself and his portfolio only by doing it correctly and by not denigrating the adversary

Explanation: Freelancers should be very good specialists but in order to be successful a lot of moral qualities are needed and a very important one is not to denigrate your colleagues. A client may easily notice that when a freelancer says that all the freelancers are stupid except himself, who is a genius, there is a problem.

On the other hand the freelancers should present to the clients that they are a solution, no matter which of them is hired and any form of denigration isn’t beneficial for the overall image of the freelance branch.

2.5. A freelancer can take as many projects as he can realize respecting the deadlines and the requirements of the clients

Explanation: Many freelancers lack projects while others purely don’t have enough time to finish all the tasks received. It is sad for the ones still unemployed but here comes in the mechanism of the modern economy: only the best are surviving. Nobody should feel guilty that he has multiple projects to do; it is a sign of his professionalism. The single moral demand is to finish all the project taken (of course unless something special intervenes). Fortunately freelancing is a product of the economy and its function is similar: think of this, a good freelancer will become well known once he offers quality and satisfaction to all the clients and the offers of new projects will come again and again. It is enough to delay a deadline or create a decent realization that the clients won’t be interested and the income will come down in a short time.

2.6. The services of a freelancer shouldn’t be considered the cheap solution; these are just a different solution of a specialized company

Explanation: It can become a very important article in the constitution because this represents a really important point: the financial one. A freelancer may be a cheaper solution, but no one should regard them as a bargain. Lowering the price of a project can be a strategy to gain clients, but the real customers who are searching for quality are aware that the performance is expensive so in a nutshell, asking for little money isn’t a smart move.

On the other hand a freelancer, who is a mix of various specialists should be appreciated that he is doing the job of many people and thus be paid according to what he realizes.

2.7. Any freelancer can reject a specific project/client and, if it is specified in the contract, he can give up also after signing it (but respecting the clauses)

Explanation: Apparently it is considered a lack of fair play when a freelancer rejects a proposal very similar to other that were previously accomplished but this is false. Freelancers are forming a living community and they are friends, exchanging pieces of advice and opinions about clients and it isn’t very difficult to find out information about a customer. Having a negative response to a client or a project is normal, the same way a client rejects a freelancer.

3. The Duties of The Freelancers

I know that anyone who sees the word duties will not like it and will be ready to leave but a modern freelancer must also comprehend that respecting these is a step further for the clients to respect his rights. Keep in mind, respect to gain respect!

instantShift - Constitution of a Modern Freelancer

3.1. A freelancer must be correct and loyal to the customer

Explanation: A freelancer may have adapted to these online activities but a client can be a novice and during a project he may be irresolute or not know some aspects of the matter. A freelancer has the duty to explain to him all the inherent problems as why the project isn’t identical with his proposal because, for example, the nuances proposed aren’t forming a good color scheme. All these supposes more time spent without being paid an additional sum of money but loyalty and correctitude are too important to compare with few hours of work and/or explaining.

The inveiglement is high to profit from his naivety (it is happening if the client isn’t a fine knower of freelancing) but it is a shame for the respective freelancer and also for freelance movement generally speaking. The person who does such an embarrassing fact isn’t a freelancer, he is a thief!

3.2. The client should be respected by any freelancer

Explanation: I honestly believe that if each freelancer will do his best in all the projects won, in few years the freelancing community will be an important part of our society because the advantages are very consistent and numerous for everyone. The clients will obtain a more personalized final product, the dialogue with the creator will be more simple and efficient than a lot of questionnaires, if the services of a company are requested and many times the prices are lower. Unfortunately, this hypothetical situation isn’t turning into reality because a small part of the freelancers doesn’t produce quality results; sometimes they don’t respect the client which is another moral sin which can’t be ever neglected. Once a contract is signed or a deal is made, it isn’t allowed to change these without both consensuses. The respect for the client is a very general concept but it means that in the end he is content and this is very important: when he will need another service clearly he will call a freelancer and the word of mouth has its importance, it is the best method of unpaid advertising.

3.3. A fair freelancer is always respecting the deadline

Explanation: This article may be under the incidence of the precedent one but due to its major role a new article will treat it more in detail. A deadline is a strict term which can’t be modified (only in very rare cases) because it may affect a customer in a serious manner. Take this example, let’s suppose you are a client who needs a CD cover because next week your first album will be released and you hire a freelancer to design the cover. How will you react when the freelancer will email you that he must go in a trip with his girlfriend for a week and won’t be able to accomplish the task? Obviously you paid upfront 25% from the price…

3.4. A freelancer who copies or gets too much inspiration from other existent works is a thief and shouldn’t be called “freelancer”

Explanation: A copied work is embarrassing both for client and freelancer but usually the first one is suffering more. People don’t have time to judge objectively and many times they do it superficially and that means that if they find a duplicate/copied online presence, the entire team behind this website does the same, which is pretty the same with bankruptcy. Also it isn’t fair to copy the work of other people, they work and give up to families and hobbies for another freelancer to be smarter and find a “shortcut”. This must be considered larceny and must be punished the same as a robbery by the laws. Don’t forget, to inspire is a sign of professionalism, to steal and copy is wrongful.

3.5. The freelancer has the moral duty to explain to the client the project

Explanation: The terminology of web 2.0 isn’t a very selective one but there are still a bunch of terms totally unusual to the great majority of people. A lot of potential clients are scared by complicated and unheard terms when they are discussing about a project with a freelancer. This one has the moral duty to explain clearly to all the people what each concept supposes in a very friendly way; i.e., don’t say to a client SEO but explain that it stands for Search Engine Optimization and it has as the finality to stay in the top in the search of engines.

3.6. There is no standard price but always try to be reasonable and fair

Explanation: Definitely no constitution can establish how much to ask for the work of someone but there should be a “half mutual agreement”. This must include that a much lowered price isn’t a beneficial thing both for the respective freelancer but also for the entire community. A price that is too low attracts clients, maybe it is a wise decision on a short term but on a long time basis it is a failure because the work invested may not be fully rewarded from a financial point of view. Nobody can establish a referential price but for the sake of the entire freelance world it is for the best to avoid a low price but also the prohibitive prices aren’t recommended because many beginner clients choose the freelance solution to receive a good service with a more reasonable price than hiring a company.

Final Words

Note: Once and once again I emphasize that I have no right to establish such a complex law; it should be based on the common understanding of the people who are forming the freelancing movement. Here, it is only a personal trying and nothing more. In spite of these, I count on your comments and few weeks after the post is published I will come with a pdf version, free for download, of the basic constitution of the freelancers, a moral agreement to a better online life or why not for a better future.

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  1. This is great until the party politics start to rear their ugly faces 🙂

  2. Finally I found the factual and accurately written guidance on the earning on the net:)

  3. This is the best post for giving newbies awareness about the freelancer,s future…. thanks for this great write up its really attracts me also

  4. Thanks nice article!

  5. Thanks Daniel! “2.2!… 2.2!… 2.2!…”

  6. liked it a lot…Specially the rights of freelancer section.:)

  7. I would like to bookmark this page so i can come here to read you again, as you have done a wonderful job.

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