F*ck you. Pay me. Mike Monteiro’s advice for getting paid as a freelancer

If you’ve ever had trouble collecting payment from a client, this video is for you. Mike Monteiro, co-founder of Mule Design Studio gives his provocative (and sometimes profane) tips for protecting yourself as an independent contractor. His audience is a group of web designers at a San Francisco design conference, but freelancers of all stripes should take heed when negotiating assignments.

His advice boils down to two things: 1) Establish clear expectations, explicitly stated and agreed to by both parties in a contract, and 2) have confidence if yourself to negotiate from a position of strength.

Here are some other highlights:

Another good piece of advice: if you encounter rough waters with a client, don’t try to patch things up over e-mail. Pick up a telephone and sort it out.

2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me. from San Francisco Creative Mornings on Vimeo.


Posted on August 12, 2011 at 11:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Written by Keith Maskell, staff representative, CMG
    on August 12, 2011 at 11:51 am
    Reply · Permalink

    This is really good, practical advice. Obviously Monteiro is speaking about, and to, a specific group of professionals, but the advice is sound in any business relationship. And the first thing freelance content creators need to remember is that it is a business!

  2. Written by Jeremy Klaszus
    on August 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Love this. Great advice. But while hiring a lawyer might be doable for a small design company, I doubt it’s very realistic for freelance writers making less than $50,000 a year. (Or am I wrong?)

    The worst thing I encounter in freelance writing is the exposure argument. As in, we realize this rate isn’t all that great, but the project is good exposure for you. It gets your name out there. That may be nice when you’re single, in your early 20s and writing for alt-weeklies, but when you have a family to support, this argument is incredibly insulting. Yet people use it all the time, and sadly, friends of mine often say the same thing. “Hey, at least such-and-such a piece boosts your profile.”

    “Profile” doesn’t pay the bills. It’s an incredibly weak form of compensation — especially since, in freelancing, crappy-paying projects that boost your profile only lead to more crappy-paying projects that boost your profile.

    • Written by Keith Maskell, staff representative, CMG
      on August 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm
      Reply · Permalink

      There’s a difference between hiring a lawyer and getting legal advice. One can be expensive; the other doesn’t have to be.

      Groups like CMG and CWG, among others, are building a community of like-minded freelance content creators. Organizations like ours have access to some of the best legal minds in Canada, and one of the services we offer is making that wisdom available to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

      We may not be able to give an answer to every single question, but we can give you a nudge in the right direction and answer the basic questions.

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