As a freelancer, you are likely always using other people’s works to inspire you. Whether it’s a book, a website or a picture. And you should always make sure that you give people due credit and cite their work – if you need help doing this then use an apa citation creator. But what about your own work? You might have concerns about putting your work online or sending it to people in case it is stolen. You may also have concerns working for people online over getting paid. Online, your client can have the ability to disappear, if you have sent over a big piece of work then this can be detrimental to your business. It is important that you are given credit for your work.
Get to know your clients
Get to know your clients, add them on social media and speak to them over skype. If someone is planning on taking your work, they are unlikely to want to do this. This is good practice anyway as it sets a good relationship which can lead to more work. If you connect to people on things such as LinkedIn, you can also check to see if they have any recommendations.
Own your work
Many applications you use will allow you to own your own work.
- PDFs will allow you to protect them from being copy and pasted.
- Google Docs will allow you to be the owner of a piece of work, which you can take away access to if you need to.
- Dropbox allows you to send files that will destroy themselves after a set period of time.
- Box will allow you to set different permissions and allow you to track activity.
People could still find ways of copying your work; however, you are making it much more difficult for them and it may become not worth their time.
Make agreements with your clients about your work. One option could be to send a screenshot, of your work before sending the editable document over, or sending a small amount of work and being paid before sending the rest of it. If you are sending over a picture you have made, put something over it or make it blurry, to begin with.
You want to build trust with your client, especially when you are just starting out. It can be hard to find a balance as you also need your clients to trust you. We all want to be able to see the best in everyone. However, if you are doing a big piece of work you need to protect yourself.
You can take this further by creating a legal agreement through an IP assignment agreement.
Legally protect your work
Your work is your intellectual property and as such, you should be able to protect it with a trademark, copyright or patent. This means connecting with a legal professional to take steps to protect your work. This is a big step and probably isn’t worth it if you are just starting out. However, for anything which you put a considerable amount of time into you need to be able to protect yourself.