Professional blogging is a dream career, but the reality for many bloggers who are in it for the creative freedom is that the money aspect can be intimidating. Money itself isn't my favorite thing in the world to deal with. However, it's the gateway to many necessities like groceries, shelter and to generally have a nice life.
Successfully handling accounts receivable makes a huge difference in the success of your business. It's both a small and a large part of building relationships with your clients, as you want your clients and partnerships to feel like they're getting the most value from your relationship, but you don't want them to feel like it's ‘all about the Benjamins'. That's a very fine line. I've worked for several years as a freelancer and for the past three years as a professional blogger, while not all my financial transactions had gone over smoothly, there are a few things that have helped make things easier.
1. Determine the Payment Terms and Schedules in Advance
From my years as a freelance graphic designer, I have found that most of my clients knew nothing about how a graphic design project was supposed to unfold. They just wanted a finished project. The same is true in blogging. It's always best to let your clients know in advance what your process is, what the projected timelines are and tell them about the payment schedules. For long-term projects, I often requested a 50% deposit and a 50% upon delivery so the clients were equally as invested in the completion of a project as I was. But you can only do this if you outline everything in advance.
2. Familiarize Yourself With Your Client's Payment Schedules
Many companies have varying billing cycles – some are one week, some are 9o days. Going to point one, if you need the funds in advance, it's best to determine that before you start working. However, check with your local laws to familiarize yourself with the laws for payment upon issue of an approved invoice; many states give clients 30 days to pay. You want to give your clients that cushion before you start asking for payment (unless previously agreed you require earlier payment terms).
3. Send a Friendly Reminder for Past Due Payments
I haven't really had to go beyond sending a friendly reminder, but be sure to check in with a client if their invoice has gone past due. They may have forgotten, they may not be responsible for cutting checks or they may have their own reason for not getting the cash right away. Whatever the reason, be sure to ask about the payment once it's past due or past the time they said they would pay.
4. ALWAYS Say ‘Thank You'
Follow up and gratitude is key in terms of getting the next job from a client or not. A little thing like not saying thank you when payment has been received could stick in the mind of a client when they are deciding who to work with next. Saying ‘thank you' goes a hell of a long way in terms of building a lasting relationship with your clients, what's more, is it takes one second to type.
INC.com has a great archive of articles on accounts receivable for freelancers and small businesses, from screening out deadbeats before you work with them to how to successfully collect debts
Image by Alex Bellink