Dearest freelancing lifestyle, I yet have so much to learn about you.
One of the things we give up when we leave employee status is the guarantee of a regular paycheck. Presumably, our gigs and a staggered pay schedule will fill in the gaps.
Of course, this assumes that people pay you for work within a two week period. But as I have learned, if there is no contracted pay plan, it might take folks a while longer to get that check in the mail.
And so, I’ve been reading up on the etiquette and protocol of reminding clients that they owe. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Have a set hourly/project rate to charge, and do yourself justice. NEVER low ball your quote – clients will take advantage, or simply think you might not have the skills if you quote a low fee.
- Prepare a contract template, and use it.
- Prepare an invoice template, and use it. Make sure it has all the important details, and send it as a bill. If you have ongoing work with a client, send it at the same time each week or every other week, and resend it if you don’t get paid on time.
- Have more contact info for clients than an email address.
- Don’t dismiss the content farm work when you’re hard up. They may pay less than the individual clients, but they do pay more regularly.
- Be ready to consult someone who’s legal advice you can trust. Better yet, know a good lawyer.
Remember that you do not work for free, and that you deserve the same respect as a “normal” employee.
None of this is to say that I have terrible scam artist clients. They’re busy people and I’m not on the payroll. But, ya gotta pay the bills. Keeping on top of your earnings and being proactive about what you’re owed will only earn you respect and a happier wallet.
Also, it’s my birthday tomorrow. I’m going with…26. Yeah, 26.