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Freelance Writing and Getting Paid: 5 Tips for Success

Working as a freelance writer means that you must be your own collection agency. In other words, there is nobody else to collect money from clients; this is your job. Luckily, most clients are good about paying what they owe on time. But just like any industry, there are going to be times when a client tries to stiff you. In order to decrease the chances of this happening, follow the five points listed below:

1. Demand a certain percentage of payment up front. This does not have to be the entire amount, but should be substantial. Most freelance writers agree that anywhere from one-third to one-half payment is fine. In the past I trusted people entirely too much. In turn, this resulted in several projects that I have yet to be paid for. You are much better off demanding some money up front. Explain why you are doing this, and work with the client to agree on reasonable terms. Once a client pays you once, you know that you can trust them in the future for the most part.

2. Keep in mind that situations do arise that will push payment back. Even if you mark on your invoice that payment should be made within 30 days, this may not happen. Some companies only cut checks once per month, and others are simply slow. If you do not get paid right away, do not accuse the client of scamming you. Instead, send a nice notice.

3. If possible, sign a contract with your client. As you probably know, this is not necessary or possible with every job that you take. After all, you are not going to draft a contract for one keyword article. But from my experiences, larger jobs should be backed by a contract. In most cases, you may not even have to do this as your client may beat you to it. Of course, before you sign a contract presented by a client, you should make sure that you agree to the terms.

4. Talk about payment with your client before you start the job; this goes along with number one above. Not only should you ask for some money up front, but also get an idea as to how you will get paid. Will the client send you a check? Do they use PayPal? These are all details to consider. When you open the lines of communication before the project starts, the chances of a problem later on is much less.

5. Although not always easy, try to dig into the clients past. With the help of the internet this is not as difficult as it once was. You won’t believe how many times I have had somebody contact me, just to ask around and find out that they are a fraud.

These five tips should help you to get paid soon after completing a freelance writing job. Just remember, every situation is different and should be dealt with accordingly. 

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2 Comments »Freelance WritingNovember 19th, 2007

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