Money matters. Conversations can go either of two ways when it comes to money- they can either stall or flow. Sometimes, they just get really awkward and uncomfortable, as if they aren’t meant to hold. Many of us have been taught about how the money can be the root of all evil, and we almost shrink at the thought of making ‘money conversations’, especially when you are doing the asking.
Unlike the regular 9-5 job where your account is credited on a certain date, with everyone else expecting this and you not having to worry about it, the freelance life is very individual. It’s your money, paid to you by your client. No other person is involved, which means there’s no other person to cry foul if you don’t get paid. No one except you.
There is a huge difference between work and well-paid work and few things can be as traumatic as pouring your heart into delivering an excellent job and not being financially compensated for it, especially if your aim wasn’t to do a free job/ work of charity but to get paid for what you just did. Which still boils down to one fact: money matters.
Most of us don’t want to be seen as that person who is all about money, but it helps to have the mindset that if you have done the work properly, then you have automatically earned the right to ask for your pay without feeling as though insects are crawling all over your skin. If you didn’t deliver the job as specified, wouldn’t the client ask for a re-run? Then why shouldn’t you be able to ask for your payment?
It doesn’t have to be awkward, you deserve it
Especially since you aren’t begging for the money, you are asking for money for which you have worked, and for which the price for the rendered service has probably been set. When you have the mindset that the money which you are requesting is that for which you have invested a substantial amount of time and mental energy, it isn’t so difficult to request for your pay. Well, it might be a little harder if as at the time you’re asking for the money, you’ve forgotten about how much work you put into the job (or you don’t feel it as acutely as you did when you were in the process of getting the work accomplished); but you must always remember that you EARNED this money.
Setting a Schedule
It helps to know when your money would be paid. For instance, before commencing a new client’s work, you need to be certain of when you would be paid, and if possible, get some part-payment before you even begin to work. This commits the client to pay you, regardless. Your mind is also at rest because you know when to expect your payment and as such, not every conversation with the client has an undertone of ‘you haven’t paid me, so why are you expecting me to do more work?’
For an old client with whom you have been working, it is less awkward to have money conversations, because ‘you know how you roll’ already.
Part-payment can help in resolving a couple of money issues. It makes you more settled and able to work without being all apprehensive about lack of payment. It also assures you that the client is committed to compensating you for a job well done. Be wise; embrace the concept of part payment.
Top freelancers would usually request for part-payment before they even begin to work because they have created a trusted brand and as well because they see their time as valuable. If your time is valuable to you, giving it away for free might not be on the top of your to-do list and getting a partial payment keeps everyone in the loop as to how things work around your space.
I wouldn’t do justice to this subject matter without broaching on the topic of politeness. Truly, it might be an oversight on the part of whoever owes you some money. This means that you shouldn’t be found to be impolite while requesting for your money- you might just be impeding your own progress by your approach towards money. Kind, gentle yet firm reminders do the trick, often.
Don’t be so eager that you forget to assess the client
Sometimes, with so much fervor to launch into a new job, we can easily forget to actually assess a client’s tone to guess whether he/she wouldn’t be willing to pay. Some clients are actually looking for free work, so don’t be so carried away that you forget to assess if he or she is worth your time, or not. Spotting a scammer and separating this person who is out to waste your time, from a real client who is ready to pay for your services is indeed, very critical.