Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Challenge: Managing Receivables As A Freelance Professional

I like to share my challenges as well as my successes here on my blog and I'm sure today's topic isn't foreign to other freelance writers. For those just starting out in freelancing, this is something you need to be prepared for.

As a freelance writer, I don't get a guaranteed pay cheque. I have different amounts trickling in all over the place. As a new writer, that can make it tricky. I, unfortunately, don't have a stash or rainy day fund at the moment as my family has recently gone through some major reinventing so I am not yet in the comfort zone of letting clients pay me whenever it suits them.

I recently lost a regular paying gig that has affected the most basic part of my budget and it has left me scrambling. For some reason, two of my regular clients haven't paid me on time lately and another regular gig hasn't had much work. All of that together has really thrown me for a loop. I'm finding myself in a tough spot because I don't want to hound them for payment but at the same time, I deserve to be paid within a reasonable amount of time after submitting my work.

I meet my deadlines, they should meet theirs. My accounts payables don't want to wait but yet my receivables are trickling in so slowly that I'm in between a rock and a hard place. But they're the customer and sometimes being flexible is important. However, it's important to set limits for yourself.

Ofcourse I plan to start stashing money away when times are good and I'm told that traditionally, January is a bad month from work purposes. Someone told me the other day that January 22 is the most depressing day of the year. I think they heard it on some obscure radio trivia but it was a pretty rotten day for me.

A colleague of mine will send non payers to a collection agency which I think is gutsy and a good practice. I'm dealing with only a handful of customers and expect to continue to get work from them but think it's a good last resort. Setting expectations up front for payment is important. No matter how much work they give you, if they never pay, what good are they?

I know that if I'm worried about money, my quantity and quality of work goes downhill. As I build my portfolio and get more clients, I'll start being choosy about who I take on and consider putting clients that don't pay on credit hold.

January 2007, Writingup Mirror.

1 comment:

Merry Jelinek said...

Well, you do have to be practical about it - what good is a paying gig when it doesn't pay? And think about it this way, too; every time you're late paying a bill you have to pay a late charge - if your client is the one making you late (and after all, you can't be out earning other revenue when you're devoting your time to them) I think it's only smart to keep looking for better paying, more dependable clients... when the undependable ones find it harder to find writers they might straighten up and treat them better.