Though freelancing may not always provide the stability and steady income of a traditional job, it can be quite rewarding and profitable. That said, there are some things to get straight and understand before you venture too far into the market. Here are 6 crucial things all freelancers need to do.
All Freelancers Need To Do #1: Always Use a Contract
The words in your contract determine what you expect of your client and what they can expect of you as a freelancer. It’s therefore essential that you keep it as specific as possible, leaving no room for “creative interpretation”. A contract protects you in case any disagreements about your work arise. People almost always try to push the boundaries of work performed in freelance situations. I’ve experienced this so many times I can’t even tell you. It’s much easier to send the client back to the contract than to argue about what they really paid for.
Your contract is the first formal correspondence between you and your client, so make it work for you. Get some solid advice from the professionals at Freelancers Union on how to write one.
All Freelancers Need To Do #2: Talk about the Plan
Even though you have a contract, verbally explain exactly what you’re going to be doing for the client and what you’re not going to be doing. Clarify how you are charging them and what the final price is going to be. It’s also important that you both are clear on the timeline for the job.
All Freelancers Need To Do #3: Get a Deposit and Payment Guarantee
A staggering seventy percent of freelancers name late payments and unpaid balances as their main concern. Because freelancers depend on income from clients, this is serious stuff. Eliminate the dangers of not being paid by asking for a deposit up front and the balance at delivery. I like to use Paypal business services and invoices for my freelance projects. This keeps the invoice in front of them and I always know what is owed.
All Freelancers Need To Do #4: Have Clear Terms
It’s also important that you state your terms in your contract, verbally, and on your invoices. The reason for this is because a large number of people don’t actually read through every word of a contract. In addition to these terms, make sure you both understand what penalties are in place for late or no payment.
All Freelancers Need To Do #5: Have a Financial System in Place
It’s important to have a good financial system in place before you start freelancing. This will make it a lot easier to figure out your taxes and earned income. Should anything get messy, you can always call the experienced tax law attorneys at MCC4Tax to sort things out. I’ve never had to do this, but I have heard some freelance nightmarish stories.
All Freelancers Need To Do #6: Check in with Clients Regularly
It’s a good idea to have set check in dates and times with your clients. They need to know how the project is going throughout the process. This is your assurance that things are developing in the way you both expected them to. If there are any glitches or things that need to be changed, this is the perfect time to work through them.