Getting Paid as a Freelance Professional

If you're a freelance professional, chances are that you're preoccupied with thoughts of increasing your client base, managing your time, and exceeding the expectations of your current clients. Even during your leisure time (if you can even remember what that is) your thoughts bend toward finding ways to improve your business.

As far as preoccupations go, these are not bad ones to have, but there’s another one that intrudes, taking your thoughts away from pursuing the positive—slow paying clients.

As a service provider, your daily work plan is tentative at best. The phone rings or an email arrives with the subject, “Urgent!” Your client needs your help—now!

Freelance professionals pride themselves on their flexibility and their responsiveness to client needs. Unfortunately, that same level of attentiveness isn’t always returned when it’s time to pay. This is not meant to disparage clients as a whole, as there are many who show their appreciation by paying promptly, but if you have been freelancing for any period of time you’ve likely encountered a client who isn’t as conscientious.

What can you do to get paid faster?

Sometimes clients need a nudge—a subtle reminder to get their attention. On other occasions, it’s time to get a little more creative.

As with any business, the idea is to make it as easy as possible for clients to pay. Not offering enough alternatives can lengthen the turnaround time of your receivables.

These days, freelancers don’t have to wait for a check that’s “in the mail.” Accepting credit/debit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and other types of payment can improve your cash flow while leaving your mind free to focus on the future of your business instead of the past.

Accepting merchant payments is simple and inexpensive. Here’s an example: Issue a PayPal electronic invoice with a “Pay Now” button and the cost to you when it’s paid is 2.9% of the invoice + $0.30. Clients don’t even need a PayPal account to pay and the funds are available immediately. Stripe is another payment option that works the same. Get a free account and start accepting payments!

So if this type of trade-off for faster payment fits into your budget, offer a variety of payment options and scratch collections off your list of preoccupations.

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