This blog is all about my experiences and lessons Freelance content writing world. I have learned my lesson the hard way, well, still not a pro in this however, a bit more careful, I think.
I was a corporate employee with a 9 to 5 job for more than a decade and then decided to switch teams. Entered into this work-from-home setting some five years ago. The freelance content writing bit started once I was looking for a side hustle while raising my newborn. It all started when I started to write for a parenting platform and some brands’ started noticing my work from there. Registering on different platforms as Fiverr and Upwork happened gradually.
A tale as old as trade
A few years ago, being a newbie I relied on the words of clients and didn’t do my due diligence before agreeing to work with them. It’s every freelancer’s nightmare when the invoice remains unpaid with no communication from the client’s end. A client won’t pay for the services or the product you provided and now we have no clue what to do – a tale as old as trade.
Truth is, it can happen to anyone, regardless if you’re a novice or seasoned. Sometimes one just doesn’t spot the warning signs or sometimes when you spot them, we don’t really know what else to do. Chasing down payments isn’t just obnoxious it is also really exhausting. It can have a major impact on your cash flow for the month and disrupt your budget.
Here are a few things that have worked for me when it comes to timely payment from the client’s end:
- Research about your client before agreeing to work with them: Always make sure to research the person or business before you agree to work with someone. If the prospective clients have a bad reputation around town, you might want to avoid dealing with them. Vet your clients thoroughly and schedule at least one video call with them before starting the project.
- Upfront payment for your projects: Make sure to get your payment upfront for larger projects. Some freelancers expect payment during the project when each stage is done. There are options in almost every platform that I have worked on so far, to set the payment either on an hourly basis or project-wise. Choose wisely. I would rather lose a potential client than risk doing a month of work for free which is why most of my projects are paid upfront in full.
- Be persistent and keep communicating: Regular communication might help bolster your work-relationship with the clients, which is crucially important at a time of financial stress. This is solely based on my experience with Indian clients so far, they need reminders.
- Late fees/Contract: Try setting up a structure for late fees that can be used on every client when they fail to make timely payments. Ideally, a written policy on the contract or invoices would be a better way to deal with it.
- Be clear with your terms and conditions: Make your terms and condition clear before signing up for the project. Before anyone signs, send a brief email that outlines the main points of the contract.
if you’re owed a significant amount of money, you’re well within your rights to pursue to take things forward legally. If you feel that you can’t come to an agreement with a debtor, it may be time for expert advice. There are plenty of lawyers and legal advisors who can be of great help in tough times. Well, I have lost quite a huge payment on one project last year and it made me think, it can happen to anyone irrespective of the number of years of experience in this field. All we can do is be more vigilant and firm with our clients. Having said that I still have clients with whom I have been working for years without a miss of a single payment.
I guess, we all learn our lessons along the way 🙂
It is important to remember that every situation is unique on its own and has to be carefully reviewed before any action is taken. I am yet to meet a freelancer who doesn’t have such experiences and have learned their lessons now. Every freelancer and business has a story about one client who never paid and got away with it.
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