If you have put your feet in the challenging yet exciting waters of freelancing, you must know it’s not a cakewalk. Nor is it fraud-proof. You might face clients who don’t pay on time or at all. Sometimes, you would be asked to revise umpteen number of times. At times, you would suffer anxiety because freelancing can be a feast or a famine in no time.
While we can’t solve every problem for freelancers like you, we can surely offer some tips to secure your work. With these pointers, you would be able to tread through most of the challenges.
How Can Freelancers Secure Their Work?
1. Don’t Shy from Advance Payment
What do you fear the most? Well, after the Pandemic woes, that is. Payment frauds, we bet. And the next to it is the long-pending invoices.
To avoid all payment issues, a freelancer should never hesitate to ask for an advance payment. But don’t forget to supplement your payments with an invoice. This tells a lot about your professionalism and authenticity.
Another great way you can use is to take payments in parts after each milestone. Say you are a freelance copywriter, and your client wants you to write copies of 10 web pages for their website. So, you can opt for an advance and then part-payments after each delivery.
Follow our detailed post on avoiding payment frauds and invoicing the right way as a freelancer.
2. Sign the Dotted Lines
A contract between the two parties serves as legally binding and makes the client aware of all the terms and conditions. This is even important when you want to walk out of the contract amicably in the future. You can legally challenge your client in case of payment fraud by having a contract in place.
Ensure your client’s signature, name, address, and contact details on the contract. At the same time, you should mention the services you are going to deliver. Revision of any kind and work tenure will make the contract even more concrete. Check the readymade contract format Welance offers.
Whether you engage in a short project of 2 weeks or a long project of 6 months, you should always mention your deliverables. Ideally, deliverables and milestones should be a part of your contract. If the project deliverables are not yet concrete or are bound to change, do agree over emails about your deliverables.
What you would deliver, when and how will it be delivered, and what is the scope of revision; you should establish a mutual agreement on these points before you take up a new work in hand. Timelines for any project are as important as the payment.
4. Formalize the Business
If you are running your freelance business ‘as it comes’ and work in an ad-hoc manner, it is time to formalize your business.
Get yourself a website and a logo; set a business name and an account for payments. Use a proper system to bill your clients and use a signature on all your documents. Add a business number to take calls. Formalize your email address to look professional. The more serious you look to your clients about your business, the more are the chances of your project security.
Considering yourself as a vendor or a service provider is not a good business mindset. You call yourself a business or a service partner, and clients would consider you serious and not a naïve freelancer.
If you have a team working with you or frequently hire helping hands, follow all the processes you follow with your client.
5. Client Check
Never sign a deal without checking the credibility of your clients.
Verify them on various social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media tells quite a clear picture about a client and builds trust about them. Skim through their website and check their ‘about page’ to know your prospects and the story behind their business.
Challenge a prospect if they look shady, and don’t hesitate to walk out of any lucrative contract as soon as you know of fraud about your client or prospect. Don’t hesitate to ask them in case you seek information.
Of course, many of your clients might refuse these demands. So, you must show them results from previous projects and substantiate your experience. Remember, more than securing your business on paper, building mutual trust is crucial.
Another important factor mentioned earlier is shifting the working mindset from a freelancer to an entrepreneur or a business owner. This would make the right shift in the way you handle clients.
Let us know in the comments how many of these points you are using in your business or planning to implement soon. Also, drop in a note about what topics you would like us to cover next.