You, Inc. is a business, so you need to act like one. You should look as professional as possible. This includes everything from business cards to websites. I was just out of college and someone recommended me to do a little arrangement of a pop song. Not only did I have to arrange it for two or three horns, I also had to transcribe it from a recording. The composer was what is known in the jingle world as “a hummer.” But that’s another chapter in itself—people who “write songs” but don’t read, write or for that matter play music. Anyway, I did the job. We recorded it and everyone was happy, so the composer asked me to send him a bill—an invoice. I went to music school. I didn’t remember the subject of “invoicing the client” in my 8:00 a.m. theory class. The point is, in business, when services have been rendered, you bill them. This provides a written record of the job and allows your client to pay you. It also helps you keep your records straight. An invoice doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it’s something You, Inc. will need.
Clients like to feel confident that you know what you are doing. When I first began doing radio and television contracting for national accounts, I immediately contacted the union and became signatory to every agreement that I could. If I was going to operate in that arena I had to know, or have access to, the rules.
One more thing: now that you’re a professional get rid of that email address that seemed so clever in high school. Your PookeyPuppy handle doesn’t make it anymore. The same is true for the greeting on your answering machine. Your precocious daughter singing Old MacDonald doesn’t cut it. Make sure the photos that strangers can access on any social network to which you may belong are not questionable. Use common sense and remember your brand. Protect it—and yourself.