As a freelance writer you will want to know how to make your finances work so that you are getting a regular income. Payments for freelance writing can be erratic or delayed. Having a plan to deal with this is essential.
This is your business so you need to treat it like a business. You can be as nice as pie when dealing with clients, but you want to be firm about money. It is not bad manners to ask for payment due dates. When offered a choice of paying now or paying later a lot of people will choose later, which can stretch out for more months than you intended. Before you start a job, make the payment due date clear. Put the dates in your written contract for clarity and to avoid misunderstandings.
Look for smaller jobs to tide you over:
A small contract may pay a lot faster than a big one. If you find a couple of jobs that take less time and pay less they will usually pay upon completion. That couple of hundred dollars will help get you through until the big paycheck comes in.
Book larger contracts in advance:
If you can, book larger jobs a couple of months in advance. That way you can time your income to match your work load. You will see where there is time to fit in a few smaller projects to fill in the gaps while waiting for the bigger paychecks to arrive.
Don’t delay invoicing:
To get paid you will have to send out invoices. This is a business, remember. When billing a larger company like a magazine or corporation you will have to get your invoices timed to meet their payment cycle. Just be sure to invoice as soon as the project is completed. If you wait for any length of time, and your bill doesn’t arrive until the beginning of their pay cycle, you will be waiting another month for your check.
It is okay to call and remind the accounts payable department that you need to get paid. Don’t be a pest, but some companies actually wait for that call before they put you on their “must pay this check run” list. If you have specifically outlined your terms on your contract, just follow those guidelines.
Set up a self-payment schedule:
Arrange to have all the incoming checks put into one business account and then have regular weekly payments go into your daily access account. Once you know that there is a regular paycheck coming into your personal account, just stay on top of the big monthly amounts with proper paperwork and occasional phone calls. It is easy to handle your sporadic writing income if you take a proactive role in managing your finances.