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Q & A with Kate Hesson of Confident Contracting

Who are you?

I was a commercial lawyer in a national corporate law firm for over 12 years, working long hours, getting paid well but stuck in the rat race.  I looked to the partners and didn’t want their life for my future.  So I went on an OE and did consulting gigs while I travelled.  When I got back to NZ I chose how I wanted to work – on secondment, in house gigs, boutique law firm, locuming.  I branched out into governance plus mediation/facilitation work and started collaborating with other consultants like marketers and strategy experts.  

I love the freedom that comes with being my own boss but it is a pretty risky way to work.  To be successful you need to have business relationships you can rely on for referrals and ongoing projects plus people who can get you out of jam if you are sick. Or people who have skills you don’t  have, who you like to work with.

Why do you want to help freelancers and consultants?

Well, for a start because I am one.  I also think a lot of freelancers and consultants live from job to job without taking a moment to work on what really is their business.  Having really good contracts that protect them and processes around how to get them signed, priced and negotiated is key to that business.  I’ve met heaps who either:

  • don’t have contracts, or
  • have simply copied them from a friend, or
  • got a template of the internet and don’t how to use it; or
  • paid lots of money to a lawyer who did an elaborate contract but didn’t teach them how to use it.

I want to coach freelancers and consultants to have all of that covered and to be able to do the whole contracting process themselves. 

Sometimes people don’t think they need contracts, or contracts that suit their  particular businesses, but I would call them out on that for either being lazy or naive.  And none of the freelancers and consultants I know are either of those!

Why should people use Confident Contracting?

Because I am a consultant, I know what we need.  

There are free templates on the internet.  But to be honest the ones I have found have either been made for companies looking to employ contractors so they are coming from the company’s point of view.  Or they have been so basic, they are simply crap.  

I have templates that work for freelancers or consultants based in NZ.  Plus, I have put together tools to help people set up as freelancers and consultants – how to set their charge out rates, a simple business plan, what big risks they need to cover.   I have:

  1. a start up bundle: https://www.confidentcontracting.online/store/set-your-scene-bundle
  2. a skinny contract and user guide https://www.confidentcontracting.online/store/sos-skinny
  3. a more complex contract for high risk/high value work and user guide https://www.confidentcontracting.online/store/sos-multi-projects
  4. 1 on 1 coaching sessions: https://www.confidentcontracting.online/store/book-a-coaching-session
  5. bundles of coaching and contract resources at a discount price eg https://www.confidentcontracting.online/store/sos-skinny-coaching-session-bundle
This is just the start of a whole wraparound service I want to provide in collaboration with a service like The Freelance Village.  Freelancers and consultants can come to The Freelance Village to find work and make connections.  They can come to Confident Contracting to learn how to negotiate and make contracts with clients but also business partners.  The template contracts are also useful to use to check against any contracts that big organisations are asking freelancers to use to – like a checklist to make sure you are not getting ripped off!

Is there anything else that has driven you to start Confident Contracting?

I had thought about this before lockdown and the economic crisis Covid 19 has created.  But I think 2020 has been a year where people have reassessed their priorities and whether they have chosen to or not, they might find themselves wanting to freelance but not knowing where to start.  I want to help fill that gap.

Closer to my ‘why’ though is helping people collaborate and connect – to not compete with each other.  I am a big fan of ‘growing the pie’ and I definitely believe in karma.  I want to encourage people to have open conversations about the work they do with each other so they don’t end up in disputes.  This can be done when you’ve got a decent contract process  - when you actually talk to each other about the details of a job before you start to work. It will save you spending extra time and  losing money in the long run.  It’s super important if you need a business relationship to last and freelancers depend on word of mouth and good reviews on social media (or at least not bad reviews).  Also, being a freelancer is pretty lonely at times so its important to have a good network of people to collaborate with.

How can people find out more?

There are a number of ways to join me for the journey of growing into a confident contractor:

Join the mailing list through www. confidentcontracting.online



 

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