So you’re among the nearly 54 million freelancers in the U.S. and have proven you’re really good at making a living by offering your services.
Businesses realize the value of outsourcing certain jobs, such as online marketing, because they can get an affordable hourly rate for a high-caliber freelancer. Since you aren’t on their company bank roll per se, it’s up to you to figure out how you get paid and keep track of your accounting records.
The world of freelance marketing is full of potential pitfalls.Here are some tips for freelance marketers to maximize cash flow, increase profits, and make invoicing more effective and beneficial for them.
If you want to look legit for your client and get paid, you need a professionally prepared invoice. There’s an abundance of software on the market for those looking to create their own. Using an online invoice generator will streamline information on each invoice and the client will know exactly what they are paying for.
The client is less likely to delay payment if there’s no mystery surrounding your services. Clients don’t like to be surprised. You can set up recurring billing with your regular clients using an email productivity tool like Boomerang that will send scheduled invoice reminders.
If you’ve developed a positive working relationship from the beginning, clients will trust you and could potentially bring more business your way through referrals.
Give Clients Incentive to Pay on Time
Chasing down payments is not fun for a freelancer. Why not give your clients an incentive to pay on time? If your profit margins can handle it, you could offer a 1 or 2 percent discount if they pay within 10 days. Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone, but it may save you the hassle and headache of tracking down your money and prevent lost revenue over time.
You’ll also need a standardized client agreement that builds in late fees. “One of the easiest things you can do to deter late payments is to think like a video rental store and start charging late fees,” according to the Freelancers Union.
A typical fee is 1.5 percent interest per month after the payment due date. For the client, it’s a no brainer to pay on time. Or you can spend time hounding them, which isn’t what freelancers want to do.
Accept Various Forms of Payment
You don’t want to hear “the check’s in the mail,” from a client. It’s as tiresome as the old adage, “the dog ate my homework.” While cash, checks and credit cards are always great, they aren’t the only ways to pay bills.
Consider other methods of payment including Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal and other competitors. The digital transaction field is huge. If you choose a digital payment option, consider what your needs are and pick a service accordingly.
You’ll need to consider the costs associated with maintaining each system. You want to make payment easy and safe for the client and yourself. Ask other people in your industry what types of payment they accept and why.
A pro tip: Dig into the big data analytics of other marketing companies because you might be able to cut out errors in invoice processing and automating, for example. Whatever other savings you might discover could outweigh the cost of the data software. Tapping into larger sources of customer data could help your own marketing business to make smart decisions.
Even if you are a marketing pro, it’s a tough gig if you aren’t organized and prepared to do the collecting. It’s important to know how to handle the money flowing into your bank account. The beauty is freelancers can earn a lot of money, avoid working a 9-to-5 job, and work from home.