Freelance Ain't Free

Photo Credit:

Since I left my 9 to 5, I've started to seriously work from home. When I say seriously, I mean no more "free work" for friends and family, no more sloppy record keeping etc. Since I've been on my own, I've started to really work on my business and make it legit. I've been burned in the past by clients ("friends") that don't pay. Although I'd like to crush their slimy, dishonest, no good skulls (karma will get you suckas!) ... There are so many ways to avoid this, but I learned the hard way. In addition to getting invoices paid, there are other things as well that make freelancing easy to do.

  • Stay organized: Keep your files (digital and paper) named neatly and of course label them so you can quickly scan/read them when necessary.
  • Keep billing simple: Make a template, use an online service, make payments available online. Bill weekly or biweekly, just be consistent.
  • Contracts always: A simple Word doc will do, doesn't need to be fancy. Just a written document of a working agreement.
  • Get a deposit: I typically collect 50% up front for print jobs.
  • Always, always invoice: Even if it's a free job for your grandmother! Send a zero balance invoice detailing your hours, cost and what you did. You have value, show it.

A couple years ago I picked up My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman. I highly recommend it, it's fun, super easy to read and she keeps it real. There are many books on this topic, get one - it could save you hundreds or thousands or dollars in rookie mistakes.