Amy Hood

Amy Hood

Co-Founder / Lead Designer at Hoodzpah Design Co.

Co-founder of @Get_Hoodzpah, creative meetup @weconnectthings, and peddling goodies at @oddsandsodsco. Shine On.

10 action items

Handle clients who don’t pay

    • Preventative Action is the key! Incorporate a clause into your contracts that stipulates the Client pays 50% up front to start the job, and must pay the remaining 50% in order to receive final files/artwork.

    • Always sign an agreement with a Client that outlines payment schedule.

      If you don't want to do an agreement/contract, at the very least get this in writing in an email and get the client to confirm.

    • In contract, define payment schedule and require a downpayment to start work.

      This is a deposit. It's a show of good faith from your client that they pay on time and understand you don't work for free. It's very standard. If clients don't want to pay it, it's usually a red flag. On bigger jobs, we'll often take this 50% deposit down to 33% or 25% depending on size of the contract.... See more

    • Create benchmark goals for the remainder of the payments

      These benchmarks are based around big project completion moments. If you're doing a branding package that includes a logo, a style guide, and stationary set, you could stipulate that after the logo is finalized they owe the second payment, after the style guide is done they owe the third payment, and after the stationary is done they owe the final fourth payment. This will also be what you refer to for kill fees. If the client kills the project in the middle of any of those stages, payment is due for work done to that point.... See more

    • Don't deliver ANY files until the client has paid.

      It will be tempting to make exceptions for friends or clients you like, BUT don't give final artwork to the Client until you've received their check or online payment. It may take some time to train your clients in this system, but it's so worth it and you'll never have to chase money if you stick to it.... See more

    • Get an easy online payment system.

      Sure these accounting softwares take a percentage cut. Sure you'd rather get the full amount in a check. BUT, making it easy for clients to pay means they'll pay quicker and not forget. To me it's worth that 2-3%. Clients also appreciate the ease and quickness. Happy clients mean repeat customers!... See more

Pursue freelance opportunities while working full-time

    • Make it known to your community that are open for business and taking on side work. If, after that, you aren't getting offered projects, hire yourself. Make your own project to 1. develop a new skill or 2. show proof of skill where your portfolio is lacking.

    • Verbalize what you want.

      It sounds simple, but it's something many forget to do or feel sleazy doing. But it's not! The truth is, most people don't remember every detail of your life. You're not the first thing they think of when they wake up and the last thing before they go to bed. They HAVE forgotten that you are a [insert job title here], and they HAVE forgotten how good you are. So you have to remind them. Post your work to Dribble, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your website/blog, and wherever else people might care to know. And don't be afraid to be direct and just tweet/post/email to previous clients: "Hey, I'm currently available for new projects."... See more

    • Make your own project to develope a new skill.

      If no one is hiring you, take that free time to create your own project that will help you learn a new skill or program. Don't know anything about animation? Create some design sprint exercises or projects to begin to develop that skill, and then apply yourself to learning it. Whether it's signing up for Skillshare, Treehouse, or, there are a slew of reasonably priced online resources.... See more

    • Make the kind of work you want to get paid for.

      When we first started our company Hoodzpah, we knew we had the potential and know-how to do great work, but we'd never really been given the opportunity. So our portfolio was greatly lacking. We wanted to get more packaging jobs, but no one would hire us because we didn't have examples of that in our portfolio. So we created our accessories line Odds and Sods ( as an excuse to diversify our income AND prove that we knew how to make killer packaging. It worked. That self-initiated project led to paid work.... See more

    • Make it a way to diversify your income.

      Side projects are a great way to diversify your income and get a little extra cash for vacations or a new pair of Jordans. Think of things that are easy for you to make that you know there is a demand for. For example: I always find it hard to find script fonts that I like, and always end up having to make my own. So I'm currently working on making a font to sell, which will fill a hole I see in the market, and which will hopefully generate some nice passive income that I don't have to do much management on.... See more

    • Make it a way to hang out with friends.

      Creative people attract other creative people. You probably have a handful of friends you've been dying to collaborate with. Pitch some side project ideas to friends. Not only will you grow through collaboration, you'll also have someone to hold you accountable to the project, and an excuse to hang out with your talented friend/collaborator more often.... See more