About Cole Midkiff

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So far Cole Midkiff has created 8 blog entries.

The 4 Must-Haves for any Freelance Design Contract

As a freelancer, we understand that you wear a lot of hats. From the actual job, the follow-thru on payment, handling taxes; it’s easy to get caught up in feeling overwhelmed. It’s for this exact reason that having a clearly defined contract is so important. As a designer, this may feel like you’re working with the wrong side of your brain.

Simple steps to a better design contract – Quiktract App For Creatives

Luckily, we are here to help demystify some of these things and make sure you know the absolute “must-haves” any agreement you draft up should include.

1. Outline The Process 

When working with a client it can be easy to gloss over the “How” and only focus on the “What.” Meaning, often times you will come to an agreement on what the finished product should be and not necessarily the steps you need to take to get there.

In any agreement make sure you outline the key benchmarks and feedback methods you’d like to set up in order to stay on track.

2. Get Clear On Payment

In any business deal knowing your worth is key. The same should ring true when drafting your contract. The murkier the payment specifics the easier it is to not get paid, simple as that. By creating exact payment dates, whether that be something arbitrary or at the completion of the job, you can remain on top of getting your money.

Another beneficial thing to do is ask for an upfront deposit. Prepayment is helpful when working with a new client. It allows both parties to stay focused and helps instill trust early on.

3. Know Your Rights

In another blog post I talked about being wary of the “Work For Hire” agreement. Now, contracts like this in the design space are a little more common than in music; but that doesn’t mean that that always has to be the case. A “Work For Hire” agreement gives your client 100% right to do whatever they wish with your finished product.

If you feel like the price you’re agreeing to isn’t fair, then there is nothing wrong with charging more. Clearly understanding your usage rights is critical to any contract you sign.

Here’s a video of one of our community member’s telling the story of how a design she got paid $40 for ended up on Kendall Jenner.

4. Revisions. Revisions. Revisions

The job isn’t done until it’s done. That may sound repetitive, but that is just a fact of doing business. It is important not only to meet your deadline but to also maintain a healthy working relationship with your client. Many times I’ve been on the wrong end of an agreement where I found myself making the 8th tweak to a logo with my only design notes being, “Can you make this pop more?”

Design Revisions – Quiktract App For Creatives

It’s important to avoid that at all cost. The best thing to do is to clearly outline the number of acceptable revisions on any job. This client may not know how much work goes into something, and that’s perfectly okay – it’s why they called you.

By outlining that your willing to do 3 revisions max, it allows your client to be more careful and precise with the changes that they might ask to make.

Have any other contract “must-haves” as a designer? Feel free to let us know and be sure to download Quiktract, the easiest way to draft up your next design agreement!

Cole Midkiff

Founder

5 Crucial Tips For A Musician Contract; A Guide To Songwriter Agreements

There’s nothing quite like being in a music studio when a great song comes together. Whether it be from hours of aimlessly staring at the ceiling for inspiration or from getting it right on the first try, creating something from thin air is an almost addictive experience.

When you’re in sync with another creative it’s so easy to lose track of time, and unfortunately, forget that at the end of the day, this is all still a business.

Talking about money and percentages on split sheets is something most established artists will want to quickly turn over to their managers to handle.

However, most independent artists often don’t have the same team to (hopefully) look out for their best interest when it comes to songwriter agreements.

A guide to songwriter agreements – Quiktract App For Freelance Musicians

I’ve spent the past four years songwriting, in that time I’ve come to realize that most of us didn’t sit up at night reading old case files and studying ASCAP guidelines. No, we too busy making music we cared about.

It’s for that reason I wanted to take some time and address the 5 keys tips for a musician contract that every independent artist must know if they’re representing themselves.

1. Beware of “Work For Hire”

When you are first starting out and have a thin resume, most managers will ask you to sign a “Work for Hire” agreement. This musician agreement basically states, “Hey, thank you for your help! Here’s $200, now beat it!”

How to write a songwriter contract – Quiktract App For Freelance Musicians

I made the mistake early on of not understanding my rights to my intellectual property and signed one of these. I was just hoping to get an album credit and had no idea that I was entitled to royalties.

That song went on to do millions of streams and I was only paid once. Simply put, you deserve to get paid for your work just like everyone else on the record. Own it!

For more information on Work For Hire and what it entails, check out Copyright’s in-depth guide.

2. Changes In Composition

So the song is done, it sounds great and everyone is happy. You keep on living your life and a couple of months later you hear it’s going to be released.

You tell your friends and eagerly await the mixed and mastered version of your greatest work yet. You press play, and suddenly you’re filled with anger (or sadness).

This isn’t the same song you made, the melodies are different, the lyrics are all over the place, what the heck happened?

How to protect your songs from being misused – Quiktract App For Freelance Musicians

What happened was in your musician contract they included a provision that allowed them to chop up your work as they saw fit.

Unless otherwise stated, publishers can change the title, lyrics or music at any time. Make sure it’s amended so that such changes can only be made with your consent.

3. Credits

When you sign a “Work For Hire” you essentially give up all legal rights to your song. So, as we talked about at the beginning, stay away!

When you sign that document, publishers are no longer required to list you on the song’s credits. That is key for many reasons, one of them being, you want to get recognized for your work!

Be safe and include your credit in any songwriter agreement you sign. Besides, fun fact, if you do not sign off on a record, and have evidence you wrote it, publishers may have a hard time releasing the song anyway.

4. Song Royalties

If you are just starting out, you’ll hear the term “Split Sheet” a lot. Split sheets are the bread and butter of the music business and control the percentage of a song you legally own.

A guide to split sheets – Quiktract App For Freelance Musicians

All songs are divided into a total of 100 points (50 for the production, and the other 50 for the writing). Those points are then negotiated and divided amongst the musicians, artists, and whomever they see fit.

It is imperative to make sure that what you are signing is what was agreed to. You are also entitled to receive song royalty statements at least once every six months after your songs have been released.

Still not sure what a split sheet entails? Check out Vydia’s article, Everything You Need To Know About Split Sheets.

5. Know Your Worth

It’s very easy to get swept away in the euphoria that comes from a big artist wanting to use your song. It’s validating and a reminder that your hard work is being recognized.

As exciting as this may be, this is where the tricky part comes in. Always remember that your talent is what got you here, and it deserves the same amount of respect owed to any other creative.

How to protect your songs from being stolen – Quiktract App For Freelance Musicians

Get excited, jump up and down, call your mom, whatever! Just remember to come back level-headed and go through that agreement with a fine-toothed comb.

For easy ways to create your songwriter agreement and keep your work protected, download Quiktract to create legally binding contracts in less than 60 seconds.

Cole Midkiff

Founder

By | 2019-05-16T14:24:50+00:00 May 16th, 2019|Contracts, General Quiktract|0 Comments

5 Tips For More Effective Networking For Freelancers; How To Get More Freelance Clients

Networking is an interesting exercise. As freelancer trying to shake the right hands or leverage an existing relationship, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting yourself out there. However, one conversation or connection can put you on path to achieving all of your business dreams.

Some of us thrive off of meeting new people, and some are a little less thrilled by the idea. Whichever boat you are in, there are tactics and strategies you can utilize to help you not just exchange business cards but forge long-term, strategic and meaningful relationships.

Tips on preparing for your next freelance networking event– Quiktract App

As a freelancer, networking is your meal ticket. You need to be starting conversations with new clients, as well as nurturing connections for continuous work.

Below are 5 tips for more effective networking for freelancers.

1. Get in the Right Mindset.

We all want to connect.

No matter your hustle, we’re all just people at the end of the day. It’s really as simple as that. People want to connect, they may not always know how or where, but when they find someone and forge a bound – it means something.

Remembering this before you go to a mixer or out to a bar is the first step to creating a memorable moment.

Tips on preparing for your next freelance networking event– Quiktract App

Set yourself apart by saying, “I am going to meet some very cool and interesting people” and not “I am going to find my next 10 clients”.

Want to find networking events in your area, but not sure where to start? Check out Search Engine Journal’s 13 Awesome Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn for some useful platforms to help you find relevant networking events near you and get more freelance clients.

2. Have Your _____ Together.

As a freelancer, you run your whole operation.

This means your presentation falls 100% squarely on your shoulders. Be sure your website, portfolio, and even your Instagram are up-to-date and showcase your work in the best possible light.

Making the connection is one thing, but the gig usually isn’t yours until the client has done a little bit of homework on you.

3. Add Value.

It can be a dog-eat-dog world for a freelancer.

It is very easy to get consumed in only thinking about yourself and the bottom line. It’s important (and healthy) to take time to see how you can help others on their journey. It doesn’t have to be working for free or anything like that, it could be something as simple as offering insight or playing matchmaker with a potential client and someone you may know with a particular skill set.

Take some time to take the blinders off and help others succeed! Doing so without asking for anything in return isn’t only a kind thing to do, it can help strengthen your relationships down the line.

4. Get Social.

How to connect with more freelance clients – Quiktract App

It’s 2019, people hardly leave their house as it is! Platforms like Instagram are a fantastic place to showcase your skills and network with other like-minded individuals.

Take some time to discover who are the interesting and most helpful voices in your field and connect. It is also the most direct route from A-to-B when it comes to sharing relevant information and articles that may help others.

For some more tips on how to network your freelance business on Instagram, check out How To Network On Instagram Direct Message by Gary Vaynerchuk.

5. Ask For Help.

Truth be told, this is a huge one for me. Some of my most important connections came from me simply asking for help from someone I respect.

Now, by asking for help that doesn’t mean “Excuse me, can you stop everything and mentor me please?!” No, it means something else entirely.

A sure fire way to set yourself apart from most of your contemporaries is actually by not thinking you have it all figured out.

“Hey, what do you look for in a designer?”

“What are some books on finance you could recommend?”

Simply put, find individuals you would like to work with and ask them for help. You will be surprised how willing most people are to shell out advice on a topic instead of listen to your elevator pitch.

Tips to crushing your next networking event – Quiktract App

Doing this breathes a sigh of humility and allows someone to have a more honest dialogue.

What are some other helpful networking tips you’ve received? Reach out and let us know!

To learn more about networking for your freelance business, read our relationship expert, Blake Stanton’s advice on building business relationships.

Cole Midkiff

Founder

Why Freelancers Fail; What Freelancing Is Really Like

I started Quiktract the day I saw a friend of mine get screwed out of $800. This was by no means the first time any fellow freelancer I’ve known has gotten ripped off, but for some reason this time it stung.

It felt permanent, it felt heavy, and must of all – it felt avoidable. As I sat there in his Toyota Matrix I knew this was a problem that could truly be fixed. The only question was, how?

My name is Cole and I’ve worn my fair share of hats over the years. Whether it was designing clothes or writing songs, I’ve always found my place nestled somewhere inside of the creative process. I’ve created things that I am tremendously proud of and equally also created things that make me thankful that there’s such thing as a “delete” button.

Why Freelancers Fail - What Freelancing Is Really Like – Quiktract Blog

Like a lot of creatives in the freelancer industry, I’ve learned pretty much everything I know through a healthy amount of “trial-and-error” and YouTube tutorials. Well everything, except how to run a business.

The mindset of most freelancers (myself included) was always very interesting to me.

How was it that all of us decided to go at it alone, trudging through the maze of the business world, and yet hardly treated ourselves like the businesses we were?

We would find ourselves staring down the barrel of a 6th logo revision questioning why a weekend job has dragged on for a month; only to then wait weeks longer for payment that would then take 2 more weeks to clear.

Why Freelancers Fail – Agreements and Legal Documents - Quiktract

The truth is, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. One of my favorite sayings ever goes like this, “what you tolerate, you encourage” and that just about sums up the woes of freelance life for me.

The even crazier part was how we would orchestrate these deals in the first place. Never mind tolerating the utterly ambiguous deadlines, the hazy payment dates, and the terms that would magically change. How could we ever expect this to work out?

What’s worse was sometimes deals like this would go off without a hitch, essentially just reinforcing this system. Stringing together two weeks’ worth of text messages to clarify things we could’ve made clear with a simple agreement if we both stopped being “cool” about it.

How Freelancers Make Agreements - Quiktract

It was that idea of being “cool about it” that interested me the most during the conceptualization of Quiktract. As silly as it may seem, in the freelance creative world, most contracts have a stigma attached to them. They feel harsh, final, and reek of corporate America (I know right)!

It’s why Quiktract is all about removing that heavy-handed feeling. It’s never been solely about streamlining a process, but rather encouraging clarity.

This is what we strive for at Quiktract.

How To Layout Terms For Freelance Work - Quiktract

I want to live in a world where we all feel comfortable laying out the specifics of a job and know that we’re on the same page. I want to live in a world where if plans change we don’t send ourselves down a text conversation rabbit hole fishing for answers.

I’m excited for a future that looks like that, and I think we just might be on our way!

Cole Midkiff
Quiktract Founder

6 Ways to Build Confidence as a New Freelancer

Launching a freelance career can shake the confidence of the most successful person. Competition is fierce on bidding sites and the internet in general. Freelance writers submit articles to magazines in hope of publication credits and pay. Self-employed programmers offer their apps for sale and approach companies to fulfill their needs remotely. Designers hawk their skills on social media and their own websites with rich galleries and ever-lowering price lists.

The ability to put yourself out there and offer your talent or skill to professionals and businesses takes confidence. At the start, that can be in short supply. No matter what type of service you offer, these six tips can help you find the guts to go for gold in your new freelancing venture.

1 – Start Small

A New York Time featured article is a pipe dream for most freelance writers, and a software scriptwriter working from his kitchen table is unlikely to sell his code to a Fortune 500 company. Targeting the ultimate gold-standard in markets will frequently lead to utter defeat, which damages your confidence even more.

Get your foot in the door with easier targets. Submit to places you know you have a good chance of acceptance. Smaller blogs, local businesses, and publications that pay one dollar instead of one-hundred per word are more likely to say, “Yes.” Every “Yes” you get will fuel your self-confidence more and more.

2 – Perfect One Step at a Time

If you come to a new freelance career looking at the big picture, you may quickly get overwhelmed and experience fear paralysis. Instead look at each step that will take you toward your goal and learn, practice, and perfect (or as near as you can get) each one before moving on to the next. Knowledge destroys fear and builds confidence.

For example, a freelance writer needs to research markets, craft query letters, negotiate contracts, write the article, work through rounds of edits, and handle invoices and payments. As a whole, this seems like a huge amount of studying or you are at risk of getting it all wrong. Approached one step at a time, however, it becomes much more manageable. If you become an expert at finding great markets, that is one thing off your fear list.

3 – Surround Yourself With Community

Your mother might think you draw wonderful pictures on the computer, but that will do little to instill real confidence that you can market yourself as a freelance artist or designer. Get on social media, message boards, and join groups with fellow self-employed professionals. Networking can not only help you learn more about how to succeed; it can give you the confidence to get outside your comfort zone and try something new in your career.

4 – Don’t Scoff at Self Help

While quite a few people poke fun at the self-help industry or raise their eyebrows at people who read the books and practice the techniques, there has been real scientific research that shows cognitive and mood improvement from some of the methods. Really, how can repeating affirmations or taking ten minutes to meditate hurt you any?

Confidence is, after all, a mindset. The lack of it is not a disorder, vitamin deficiency, or curse. While those suffering from clinical depression, anxiety, OCD, and other issues need outside help, self-help techniques can help everyone feel more self-assured and eager to launch into a new project.

Another large part of this is realizing that you will fail to land coveted jobs or sell your services to the ideal client and being okay with that. Acceptance of this fact can lead to confidence that helps you get back on the proverbial horse and do what it takes to succeed the next time.

5 – Constantly Challenge the Boundaries of Your Comfort Zone

Building self-esteem is impossible if you never do things worthy of esteem. In order to become a more confident freelancer, you need to achieve things you were not sure you could. The comfort zone, by definition, is a very comfortable and easy space to be in. Push the boundaries, challenge yourself, and celebrate the successes you achieve out there.

For some this may mean making bold advances toward dream clients once per month or so. For others, simply tip-toeing across the comfort line. The key is to recognize your efforts and the good results.

6 – “Fake It Till You Make It”

A man or woman in a power suit gets respect. Freelancers have the freedom to shlep around in their pajamas all day if they want to. Professional businesses have slick websites with domain-specific email and professional design. You can easily get away with a free host and a template.

Pajamas and cheap websites make you look and feel like you are not taking the freelance career seriously. If you lack confidence, pretend you do not. Present the best possible face to the online world you can. The feedback will provide external validation that you are a professional.

It will help you psychologically too. The things you make an effort for will be the things you come to appreciate. If you want to be a successful professional freelancer in any field, act like one. Your emotions will catch up soon.

By | 2018-12-03T04:04:11+00:00 December 3rd, 2018|Freelancer Thoughts, General Quiktract, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

Meet Dwayne | #ineedquiktract

The Quiktract launch will bring with it a wide variety of templates within the app that can be used by both service providers and buyers to initiate a Quiktract with another party. Streamlined and simple, these templates provide individuals with a straight-forward way to quickly get their agreements in writing. With a mission to serve as broad of user base as possible out of the gate, the depth of the templates in version one is quite extensive and includes everything from a general services template to templates for Landscapers, Babysitters, Coaches, Tutors, Fitness Instructors, Entertainers and more. It is important for us as a company to meet the needs of our user base while also providing the framework to make things simple and we’ve worked to build a diverse template base for the first version of the app.

Garnering user feedback, and understanding how those that we’ve shared Quiktract with to-date will use the app, is incredibly important to our company. Our processes and the technology we are building are being defined and tweaked by real-world people to ensure the most optimum fit possible.

As part of this process we’ve started having open conversations with those that have reviewed Quiktract, understand its mission, and believe heavily in its premise. Those conversations now form the baseline for a video series under development called appropriately enough #ineedquiktract.

Above you will find the first video in a 10-part series with individuals from all walks of life and all user types. In this first video Dwayne discusses the challenges of being a singer / song-writer and how Quiktract could be used by up-and-coming artists that need to get terms quickly in the simplest of forms.

Enjoy!

By | 2018-11-20T02:27:10+00:00 November 7th, 2018|#ineedquiktract, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Genesis of Quiktract…

I have friends in the freelance community. And I’ve seen them lose out because they didn’t get an agreement in writing. Almost always, it was not maliciously being taken advantage of either. It was simply reasonable people who saw things differently. And my friends could not afford to hire an attorney after the fact (nor could they have afforded to hire lawyers to write complex contracts to begin with), so they simply gave in and took less money.

I thought “if they had only written something down and gotten it signed.” Heck, even the proverbial back of the napkin would have worked! Then I thought that there must be an app that could have helped, but there wasn’t one. So, here we are creating an app that will protect both buyers and providers from misunderstandings or worse malicious intent. And we back up the agreements with a network of attorneys who can help with the worst cases.

Once we started working on the idea, it became obvious that this could benefit a lot more people than just the freelance community. Any time there is a buyer and a seller (or service provider), there is some kind of agreement. And agreements have specifics and particulars which reasonable people can interpret differently if they just rely on memory. And most of the time, neither party can afford an attorney upfront (and would like to avoid having to hire one afterwards).

In essence, Quiktract provides an electronic “napkin” for capturing agreements. (It actually comes with several predefined agreement templates based on different businesses and industries.) The agreements are far simpler to use than contracts packed with “legalese” but just as binding. Because it’s an app, it can track changes and agreement to those changes by both parties. And it handles payments which is also beneficial to both parties.

We set out to revolutionize agreements. I don’t think that we’ve necessarily revolutionized them so much as evolved that back of the napkin approach to its ultimate conclusion. And now, with Quiktract, both parties can enter an agreement with the details documented, changes captured and make/receive payment — all in a simple, easy to use app.

Cole Midkiff, CMO

By | 2018-11-20T02:27:46+00:00 November 2nd, 2018|Management Thoughts|0 Comments

Meet Adam| #ineedquiktract

 

In the second installment of the #ineedquiktract campaign we are pleased to profile Adam.  Adam is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.

In this video Adam discusses the challenges of managing your own freelance business and how Quiktract could be used by soloprenuers that need to get terms quickly in the simplest of forms.

Enjoy!

By | 2018-12-11T18:10:08+00:00 October 8th, 2018|#ineedquiktract|0 Comments