How to get paid as a freelancer

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I read on a daily basis about late-paying or non-paying clients.

One story recently, a fellow freelancer had invoiced their client only to be told that she wouldn’t be paid because they needed to pay ‘actual companies’ before her — despite the invoice being due.

 

Say what now? 🤔

 

As freelancers it’s so important to be paid and on time. 

 

We’re sole traders, this means our only income (in most cases) is the money that we get from the work we do for our clients. That money then goes directly to paying our rent, mortgage, bills, it’s not pocket money, it’s not a sideline, most of us don’t have rich partners that pay the majority, some of us don’t even have partners to support us and we rely on the money we make for the work we do.

 

This happened to me at the beginning of my freelance journey, I’d be buttered up by certain people, they made promises to pay me, even had one guy upping the fee every day just so I’d do more for him — eventually, because I had no contract or terms in place, I ended up with nothing. 

 

This particular client still owes me most of the money 4 years later. 

 

I learned hard lessons early on. 

 

I drafted in a Life Coach — the best investment I made. This enabled me to learn about ‘my worth’ (as remote workers we can sometimes forget this). She also taught me how to say ‘no’. Some clients aren’t worth your time and therefore need telling.

 

How to get paid

  • Have a firm contract and terms in place with a written agreement on both sides.
  • 50% payment up front, even before any work starts.
  • Discount deals for clients who pay early.
  • If you work with larger companies who aren’t in a position to pay upfront and have their own terms, put a plan in place to ensure you are covered for the money you’ll need in the interim.
  • Always make sure you send your invoices to the right place with the correct details to avoid delays.
  • Make it as easy as possible for them to pay, using online payments, bank transfer, card payments.
  • If payment is delayed, this can sometimes be a genuine mistake, first get in touch with your contact to enquire before you roll out the big guns.
  • Lastly, make sure the work you are providing them is what they contracted you to do. Offering up insufficient work will cause delays.

 

These will ensure your client knows you’re serious, not in it for pocket money and will give them incentive to pay you the money they owe.

 

But, if you still find yourself in a late/no-payment situation it’s time to reconsider who you believe to be a good client for you.


Hello, I’m Nik, I specialise in Marketing & Brand Design for start-ups and small businesses. I also enjoy writing about authenticity, emotional + experience based thoughts and positive outcomes.

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