I have been meaning to write this post for some time now but with all the talk and confusion after the sudden shutdown of Mode Media (formerly known as Glam Media) and the soon to be shut down Passion Fruits Ads, this is the best time to talk about how to make sure you get paid as a Blogger/Freelancer. Many bloggers are being owned thousands of pounds by both companies, and they may never be paid. I was never part of both networks (thank God) but I know quite a number of bloggers affected by these sudden shutdown. and it is very frustrating to work and not be paid.
Here are some ways of making sure you get paid as a Blogger/Freelancer:
Now these tips work for me 98% of the time, the remaining 2% are those difficult clients that just like to mess you about. Sometimes we always have to deal with them.
1. Do a quick background check on your prospective client
Engage in a friendly conversation with your prospective client to get an idea of what they are like in person. Is that person someone you’d love to work with? An attractive project with a horrible client is as bad as not having a job at all.
The best way to ensure you get paid is to avoid working with people who have a reputation of not paying. Watch out for people who have a habit of initiating a transaction only to cancel or ask to include details not mentioned before, like a do follow link or infographic.
2. Find out if the potential client has the budget to pay for the project.
If they have a website, go through it to find out if they’re genuine. You can ask fellow bloggers/freelancers in the same niche as you if they’ve worked with the client before. There’s a possibility that your client might have worked with someone in your niche. Always ask what the budget for the job is, and agree on a figure. Leave no room for assumption.
3. Have a contract
Have a contract that spells out the terms and conditions of your service, including your terms of payment, how much your client is expected to pay and on what day, and what happens if your client fails to fulfill the terms of your contract, and how you would like to receive the payment. Having a contract ensures you have every detail in black and white.
4. Get paid up front before you do any work
In my PR world, I always ask for full or half payment upfront if I am not comfortable with the client, or if it is a new client. In the Blogging world, payments are usually done after the job is done, but I sometimes ask for an advance payment, depending on the circumstances. This makes your client committed to the project.
5. Send invoices promptly
If you have retainers or you have a client that hires you monthly, send invoices early or immediately after you have finished the project. That way your client will always be aware of the next payment. As an added benefit, you can offer your client an incentive when he / she pays early, like a 10% discount for early payments. That will encourage your client to pay you quickly.
6. Chase Up Payments
When the client’s silent on the other end, follow-up. There’s a possibility that the reason why your client didn’t pay was because your client might not have seen your invoice or may have forgotten all about it due to a busy schedule. Don’t be afraid to pop an email to ask if everything’s alright or a phone call if necessary. I won’t leave an invoice pending for weeks, I will follow-up daily if I have to, to ensure it is paid. There is nothing wrong with demanding money you are owned.
7. Decline Crazy Terms
I won’t work for a client and wait for 30 days to receive payment. That is just too long. I know many freelancers accept those terms, but I won’t recommend them. Anything can happen in 30 days. You never know the true state of affairs of your client, so accepting to wait to receive payment in 30 days can be dangerous, especially in te digital world. I am more comfortable with 14 days, and that is the maximum I would accept.
I hope we have all learnt a thing or 2 from the sudden shutdown of Mode Media and the upcoming shutdown of Passion Fruit Ads. I hope all the parties involved reach an amicable resolution.
Are you affected by these shutdown? How do you make sure you get paid?