Just starting out in your career as being your own boss? Here’s how to get paid as a freelancer!
If there is one thing I could go back and tell myself about being a full time freelancer, it’s that the only person who is in charge of making sure I get paid IS ME. Freelancing isn’t like a normal job where you fill out paperwork once and then just start getting an automatic paycheck deposited into your bank account. Today I’m talk a little bit more in depth about how to get paid as a freelancer…
How To Get Paid As a Freelancer
Getting paid for freelance work often means filling out the same forms over and over again. It means making sure you have an invoice template. It means following up on payments. It means keeping track of who owes what. It means tracking down lost and missing payments. And the only person who cares enough to do any of this…has to be you.
So, where do you start?
Keep Detailed Records Of Work
I cannot stress enough how important it is to track and maintain records for freelance work. In the beginning, it felt really silly to me. “Of course I’m going to remember that so-and-so owes me $400!” I can still hear those words in my head with a little post-it note stuck on my desk. But as the years have gone on and I’ve maintained clients and even taken on full-time contracting work, my workload has increased and my bandwidth for remembering it all has decreased. I keep a running spreadsheet of what I wrote, for what company, and how much is owed. This makes follow-up really easy!
Getting Paid For Freelance Work
The reality is that editors and companies are doing the same thing as you – balancing a myriad of freelancers. It is not your editor’s job to track down payments for you. Once you submit all your initial paperwork to them (usually W-9 and any requested portfolio work), it’s up to you to follow their invoice procedures to ensure you get paid. All companies tend to have different procedures, so pay attention to what information they request to avoid any payment delays.
Ways To Get Paid As A Freelancer
Different outlets pay in different ways. It’s important to note that not all companies are going to be able to pay you with direct deposit and that’s completely normal. Some pay in paper checks, some pay using PayPal, and some pay using Square Cash. When dealing with international outlets, make sure you also notate whether or not a wire transfer fee is involved and bill accordingly.
When getting paid, it’s also important to note how long it takes companies to make payments. Do they pay on net 30, net 60, or net 90? This is important to note in your record of work, because it helps for follow-up purposes. You don’t want to inquire about a “late” payment if the company pays on a net-90 basis.
Speaking of late payments, my last piece of advice is to never hesitate to ask questions. If you have kept a detailed record of your work and payment schedule and see a discrepancy, inquire! The amount of times I’ve done this is beyond count and it has almost always resulted in my editor saying something fell through the cracks on their end. Had I not kept records, I wouldn’t have been paid!
I hope this post has been helpful for anyone starting their freelance career. If you enjoyed this post, you might also like How To Start Freelance Writing or How To Be Productive When You Work From Home