Payment can be a tough subject for many of us who are freelancers. Yet, it’s important! After all, why are we working? Sure, we truly enjoy our craft, whether it be writing, visual art, graphic design, crafts, or whatever the case may be. But we don’t do it purely for love. We do it because we need something to pay the bills and put food on the table.
That’s why today’s post is dedicated to that most uplifting of prose, “pay to the order of.” We’ll talk about pay, getting paid, and things to do to make sure you get paid! If anyone has questions, feel free to ask and I’ll probably add it on as another question.
Tips for Freelancers:
Set clear expectations.
Have a place on your website that explains when you expect to be paid, how much, and when. Then you will have a leg to stand on when someone starts to argue. For an example, check out my commissions page: http://rohvannynshaw.com/commissions/
Have a contract.
This helps both client and creator understand the terms of the deal, and protects both if something goes wrong. When is pay expected? When is the work supposed to be complete? What is the scope of the work, and how many rounds of editing are allowed before the client needs to pay more? This prevents clients from adding extra things or deciding to pay… later. Keep all copies and send the contract in a PDF if you have to email it, that way nothing can be changed.
This means not pricing too high, but it also means not pricing too low. Do research in your field, and see what other people doing similar work get paid. If you price too high, you may not get customers. If you price too low, you devalue other people’s work and you also may drive customers off. After all, no one likes to buy at a fire sale.
Keep all records.
I said it above, but it bears repeating. Don’t just keep the contract. Also keep all emails (preferably archived in PDF format) related to the project, all materials provided to you, and any other correspondence. Keep it in a separate folder and if possible archive it on a thumb drive, just so you have it ready to hand in case you need it. This way, if someone takes legal action against you, or you need to do the same, you’ll have everything and won’t have to go hunting around.
Family and friends are famous for asking for “buddy discounts.” The trouble with this is, they often start offering that same discount to their own friends. Pretty soon every available client seems to think they should get the family rate. I didn’t think this would happened to me and it did – so it can happen to anyone. It can happen to you. So price fairly and then if they give you static, calmly explain that this is the going rate for professional work.
Don’t “do it for the clicks.”
Doing work for exposure only goes so far. I write for free on this blog and I feature artists and authors for free. However, I never do art, editing, or manuscripts for free. You can’t eat clicks, you can’t pay bills with exposure. Not only that, but every time someone does something for free it drives down the value of what other freelancers do!
Fire clients if you have to.
It can be scary to fire a client. You may think “I’ll never find another,” or “how am I supposed to work if I fire my clients?” So I’m not saying to fire every client, or to do it quickly and easily. However, some people are just not worth your valuable time or stress level. If you have a client who keeps trying to get you to lower your rates after you’ve agreed on a price, or if they treat you badly, or if they make it impossible to do a good job, fire them. Do it simply, do it calmly, and you don’t have to explain why.
Set limits on how much you will do for a certain fee.
If you write, put a clause in your contract saying “includes three rounds of editing.” You can do something similar for art. If you build websites, find out up front how many pages you’ll be designing. Think similarly for any other project. Otherwise, you may have a client who creates a seemingly endless project for one low starter fee.
Don’t undersell the competition by too great a margin.
If everyone is designing book covers for $200-$500, don’t say “hey, I’ll do just as good a job for ten bucks!” You’ll see this all over DeviantArt. People will do amazing work for five or ten dollars, or even for free. Now, the artists are just thinking about having fun and not considering the effects of what they are doing. However, you have a choice. For every freelancer who offers services at rock bottom prices, other freelancers can’t put food on the table because people are using the ultra-cheap options offered by the irresponsible freelancers. Sites like Fiverr.com, by offering extremely low prices, are ultimately harming the industry. Don’t be part of that trend. Remind your clients and potential clients that they get what they pay for, and can rely on you to provide professional, responsible service at a fair price.
Be responsive to questions.
When someone asks a question about you or your business, be friendly, informative, and respond quickly. This is especially true if they contact you via your contact link on your website. One of the great things about hiring a freelancer is being able to communicate openly with them, so help people see that advantage by being there.
Be punctual and professional.
Similarly, if there is a time expectation set, meet or exceed that expectation. Use good business style in all your communications. Be unfailingly polite and cheerful. Explain things clearly and answer all questions. If there is a misunderstanding, be as clear as you can and try to help your client understand. Sometimes misunderstandings can be as simple as a different use of language, and easily solved with a few questions.
Being a freelancer can be a lot of fun and a very rewarding career. Following these tips will help it be even better!
via Daily Prompt: Later\