Collaborative post. Freelancing and running your own business has plenty of benefits. You can sit at home in your pyjamas, on the couch watching trashy daytime TV while you work. You can set your fees and your working hours, and if you want or need a day off, you can have one. You can make up your own rules. What is not to love about it?
Well, actually there is something that most of us hate about working on a freelance basis, and that is the unstable nature of the income. After completing the work, you have to invoice your clients and live in hope that they pay on time. If they don’t, you will have to keep costs to a minimum in order to keep the books balanced while you wait.
Today, we are going to explore the options available to you when you have bills mounting up but are still struggling to get paid.
Chase Them Up
It is so frustrating when you have completed a project for someone, and then you are suddenly met with radio silence. They are quick enough to chase you for the work, but not so quick to answer your calls or emails asking them for the payment for your time.
Send them invoice reminders, emails and give them a call – sometimes, a phone call works best as they can’t just ignore it. If that is still proving fruitless, contact them on social media asking them to get in touch. It is also worth checking out their website or LinkedIn if they are a big business to find their CEO or company director.
If you are still getting nowhere, it may well be time to start thinking about taking legal action against them. It is crucial that you do this carefully and correctly; otherwise, it could end up costing you money.
Split Your Money Up
If a late payment is leaving you short for the month, then you need to practice some savvy budgeting.
Look at the balance in your bank account. Pay off any outstanding bills, and then look at what you have got left to cover you for the rest of the month, or until your next guaranteed payment.
You will need to spend some time working out what you still need to pay – food, rent or mortgage, utility bills, travel expenses, clothes, school fees and expenses, mobile phone costs, etc. Once you have (hopefully) accounted for all of that, split the remainder of your money up over the next few weeks.
Live On A Budget
As long as you have the essentials covered for this period, there is no need to cut your social and leisure time out completely. It is entirely possible to have a life on a tight budget. If eating out is your thing, look for coupons and deals. You can cut costs with your grocery shopping as well – an Iceland voucher code, for example, can save you a fortune on your weekly shop.
This can be a little time consuming and not the best payments, but when times are tough, every little helps, right? There are many survey providers online, usually paying a few pence for every survey you can complete. Once you have reached their payout line, you can withdraw the money.
Do a bit more freelancing
Can you add to your portfolio? Your skills will no doubt lend themselves to other aspects of freelancing. Perhaps you could look at doing some short term data input or social media management on the side? You could also use the time to pitch to new clients or get in touch with any previous clients you have worked with to see if they have any further opportunities available for you.
Set up an emergency fund
I’ve put this tip last because it doesn’t exactly help with the crisis in hand the first time you don’t get paid. But if you find in your line of work that late payments happen to your frequently, then it would be a good idea to start putting money aside when you have plentiful months. so that you have something to live on while you chase the defaulters.
Simply follow the budgeting strategies above while diverting some of your monthly pay into a savings account, until it builds into a sizeable buffer for you
Freelancing is great for mums, especially if you can do your job from home. but the uncertainty of payments can play havoc with your family budget and lead to increased stress levels for all.
Have you had problems with late payments in your business? Please share any tips that you found to cope with this