Excellent piece Kevin. This lines up perfectly with much of how I talk about freelancing.
On the divisive topic of contracts, I agree and disagree. In my 17 years freelancing I don’t recall ever having to enforce one, but having said that I usually do have one.
Lately I’ve been transitioning into a much more user friendly “agreement” between myself and client, which is written in plain language and outlines responsibilities, deliverables, timeframes, costs, expectations, etc. It’s far less formal and overwhelming than a traditional contract but serves a similar purpose of getting terms of the agreement in writing.