With the rise of the so-called gig economy and the popularity of working from home, you have probably succumbed to the trend of scouring the internet for easy ways to break into freelancing. After all, with a good skill set, a vast network of connections, and a determined attitude, your success as an online freelancer is most likely skewed towards the positive side.
However, making it in the freelancing world takes more than just knowing the terminologies and becoming internet-savvy. In fact, as you dig deeper, you will also find that it goes beyond knowing the impressive lists of the best freelance sites and platforms where you can land a job.
True enough, one of the crucial aspects of freelancing online is the getting paid part. Apparently, what goes on behind these financial transactions between you and your clients can make or break your freelancing career. Fail to properly set necessary parameters, and you end up as an aggrieved party who has lost precious time and effort that could have been directed to other freelancing gigs.
To avoid this disappointing scenario and to help you receive the fruits of your hard work, here are five ways to make sure that you get paid as an online freelancer:
Understand the payment process
Whether you are among those top freelancers in hot demand or you are a newbie who is eager to gain more experience, amongst your vital tasks as an online freelancer is to process payments.
Unlike typical employees, having a freelancer status means you will have to come up with your own invoice. You can do this either in print or go paperless by using an online invoice generator. Then, you will have to facilitate how this document translates into your earnings.
You can do this in various ways such as via issued checks, fund transfer, or through online payment platforms. Also, make sure you thoroughly understand the terms as well as the pros and cons of each method. Keep in mind that you have to understand the payment process first so you can later on relay the necessary payment steps and details to your client.
Choose a win-win payment setup
Once you have learned the ins and outs of the payment process and established a clear understanding of how freelancers get paid, the next step would be to present these options to your client. From there, you will have to work on meeting halfway. Set your pay-out scheme and stick to it.
You will also have to ensure that the setup is as simple and as efficient as possible, for both parties involved. For example, if you are dealing with a client within the same zip code as yours, then electronic fund transfers (EFT) can be a suitable means to receive payment.
On the other hand, international financial transactions can be done efficiently through payment platforms such as PayPal, Transferwise, as well as several other alternative payment options. All you need is to correctly set up your account with a valid email address and the funds can be transferred between accounts right away.
Create a contract
No matter how big or small a project is, creating a detailed contract will save you the time and hassle of collecting unpaid freelancing income. Agree on and create a valid contract that includes important details such as the rate, terms and conditions, services needed and job description.
This protects not just your client but also ensures that you, as a freelancer, will be properly compensated as it lays down the basis of your working agreement.
From the very start of your freelancing stint, it will be advantageous to keep things professional to ensure smooth transactions and dealings, especially when it comes to the financial aspect of things. Submit your work and finish projects on time, while also making sure that they live up to your client’s standards.
In addition, generate invoices regularly and stick to a schedule so the client knows when to expect his billings. By keeping an organized professional stance, your client will be more motivated to facilitate and send out your payments on time.
Develop constant vigilance
Scammers and unscrupulous clients remain to be the number one headache of freelancers. Surprisingly, these people with sophisticated work-from-home scams continue to penetrate the industry, even in the most popular and legitimate freelancing platforms.
The good news is, you do not need to be a victim and fall prey to these schemes. You can counter and even ward off these fraudsters if you abide by the rules. This means exercising your logic and sound judgment when there are clients who want to go beyond the platform and transact in dubious methods.
In addition to this, you must also learn how to conduct thorough background checks and research. Gather reliable feedback on prospective clients before working with them. Ensure that they pay freelancers that they hire, to avoid any trouble along the line.
Fortunately, the hurdle of making sure a client makes proper payment is one that you only usually need to overcome at the start of your working relationship. Once you have had a successful cycle or two of payment periods with a client, you only need to maintain a harmonious working relationship by meeting (or exceeding) your client’s expectations and by keeping a close eye on invoices you send when it’s time for another payment. If, by any chance, you get a client that continuously makes it very challenging for you to receive your due payment, don’t be afraid to end the working relationship.
Author Bio: Originally from the U.S., Rana Tarakji is an SEO Analyst and a web content specialist who now lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including Life Hacker, Upwork, Christian Today, Newswire, and many other outlets.