Table of Contents
Ready, Set, Negotiate
In freelancing, you have a lot of say in how much you get paid for an assignment. Always make sure you’re negotiating for a fair wage for yourself.
Upon acceptance of a pitch, your editor will ask you for your rate. How do you determine this? I often look at a combination of things while determining my rate: my level of experience at the current moment, past rates, my own finances, the scope of work and reporting required, and the amount of time it’s likely to take. I also do my research and compare other rates.
Slideshow: Invoice 101
Get Your Accounting System in Order
This aspect of freelancing is the least glamorous, but the most necessary. You have to think about it before you get in too deep—and definitely before the next tax season. Make sure you have your invoice template ready to go and a way to track those invoices because you are your own accounting department.
Now, when I say that, it doesn’t mean you need to rush out and learn double-entry bookkeeping right away. Of course, it’s good to know, but you can also make your own system. I simplified and made an Invoice Tracker to keep track of everything.
And now, I’m passing on that template to you. Use it however you need.
Don't Assume You'll Get Paid On-Time
Fair warning: A lot of publications don’t pay on time. Even the most prestigious ones. Sometimes waiting for payments feels like this…
Sometimes, you have to bug your client to send payment…a lot. Always follow up; you did the work and they need to pay you. Don’t hesitate to speak up to get your money.
I highly recommended being professional, while applying pressure, too. It has happened to me countless times—my invoice has slipped through the cracks in editorial and accounting departments; they only checked on it after I emailed them. Which is why you should always follow up sooner than later.
To further illustrate this point: a little game.