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by Jessica Hische

Negotiating incoming project terms over email is difficult for even the well-seasoned professional. I’ve created this handy tool to help you say “no” to free and low-budget work and to help ask for more favorable contract terms before the start of a project. I tried to make it as comprehensive and flexible as possible, but every creative industry is a bit different so feel free to adapt my words to best suit your personal situation.

This is an interactive Email Helper which you can manipulate the best that fits your own situation and needs.  The Client Email Helper updates with your selections. Give it a try!

Choose Your Own (Interactive) Email-venture Here

An example:


  • Doesn’t Matter


  • Good


  • Reasonable

Contract Curveballs

  • Work-for-Hire


Dear __________,

Thanks for thinking of me for this project and for reaching out! It seems like a great opportunity.

I noticed in the terms that this project is listed as “work-for-hire” — I prefer to not sign work-for-hire contracts unless the budget is high enough to justify a transfer of rights. Are you willing to renegotiate the budget? If not, I’m sure we can come up with a usage agreement that works within your budget constraints.

I look forward to working with you and let me know when to expect a finalized contract. Thanks!

All the best,