10 Things to Know (How to Do) to Be a Freelancer
Writing & Signing Contracts – No Need for Paper & Pen Anymore!
To be able to work with certain customers – especially B2B and/or those that plan on spending quite a bit of money on you – signing contracts, NDAs and such is mandatory. Of course you should read carefully and understand everything before signing; we’re not talking here about those annoying software license agreements everyone skips, but about a contract that frames a professional relationship that may last several years and can potentially influence our freelancing activities.
Once upon a time we had to print everything, fill it in by hand then send the papers back. A while later it became possible to scan whatever pages we had written on and send them by e-mail. Now it’s possible to fill-in and sign everything on the computer, without printing a single page. Here’s how I do it:
• I drew my signature with a black pen on a fully white sheet of paper.
• Once I was happy with the result, I scanned that signature in high-definition and stored the subsequent image in two versions: one with the white background, one without (to easily remove the background without damaging the signature make sure the sheet is really white and the line is really black. Adjust brightness & contrast if needed).
• For Word-type documents you just need to fill them in like any text document, then import the image of the signature (with or without its white background), and finally save as a PDF before sending it back.
• For PDF files I use Foxit Reader and its « Fill & Sign » function, which allows to write directly in the PDF file (and to add crosses, squares and everything necessary to fill in contracts & forms). To add a signature, click on “create signature”, choose “import file” and select the image of your signature. It is now available in the program. Click on it and place it anywhere you want in a PDF document, just as if you had signed it by hand. Note that once the signature is added and the file is saved, it can no longer be edited.