1. Do: Research before accepting a gig
Whether you see a post about a project or a client has approached you for one, make sure to learn as much about the company or client before you send a proposal or respond. If the post or offer sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Besides researching the business or brand, look for mentions about the company in freelancing groups. Some freelancers often warn about sketchy companies (read: does not pay freelancers) in private freelancing groups so others can avoid them.
2. Don't: Get started without a contract
It's not uncommon, especially for beginner freelancers, to experience not getting paid for the work they have done. Before accepting a project, it's important to ensure that you and the client are on the same page. Depending on how you price your services, explain how your package or rates apply to the project.
It's crucial to use clear language and mention essential details in the contract, including the repercussions when the terms are broken. Any negotiations should be stated in the contract as well so you have a record. Draft a contract, discuss it with your client, and have it signed to protect you when it comes to payments.
3. Don't: Start working for free
You can state in your contract that you require a down payment (at least 30%) upfront before starting on the project. Many freelancers do this not only to guarantee that the client has the intention to pay but also to lay the foundation of trust between clients and freelancers.
Of course, you must state the terms so the prospective client wouldn't feel uncomfortable with the deal. For example, you can note in the contract that you'll show or discuss the progress halfway through the completion. Once you feel like there's a good relationship between you and the client, it's up to you whether to continue the down payment rule.
4. Don't: Forget to send invoices
Make sure to send out the invoice each time you complete a project or gig. The invoice should detail what you're billing the client for, the total amount due, how the client can pay you, the payment due date, your and your client's contact details, and the invoice number. If you want to get paid fast for your work, send the invoice on the same day.
There are many invoice tools online freelancers in the Philippines can use, such as Odoo, Xero, and Lano.
5. Do: Keep things professional
It's essential to remain polite and respectful when communicating with prospective and existing clients. It's always best to use a formal tone when writing emails and conversations to keep the discussion professional. That means avoiding memes if the conversation doesn't call for it.
This isn't to say you shouldn't share any personal anecdotes with clients, especially those you've worked with for a long time. It all comes down to moderation—share just enough relevant personal notes to keep things light, but don't ramble on unrelated personal notes. Whether you're sending a sense of urgency about unpaid invoices or communicating updates, maintain a professional and objective tone.
6. Do: Learn when to say "no"
If a client asks for revisions on a completed project due to oversight, don't do it for free. Suppose the client wants to change the scope of the project but you're already swamped with other client work, explain the circumstances, respectfully decline, and say you need to stick with the original agreement. When you get requests that are beyond your control, capabilities, and schedule, know that it's OK to say "no."
7. Do: Have a savings plan
One of the limitations of freelancing is inconsistent work; hence, inconsistent income. That's why you must beef up your savings as you get to work with many clients and make more money.
While you're at it, get an investment plan that doubles as life insurance to safeguard your future as a freelancer. You can't control many things as a freelancer, and you don't get the same benefits as a full-time employee. Getting a life insurance plan allows you to work with fewer worries.
Switching to the freelance side is exciting and daunting, but it's most rewarding when you're doing it right. As a freelancer, you have to see to it that the projects you accept from clients are bringing in significant earnings.
Late-paying clients can be inevitable. That's why it's best to have a backup plan in case this happens. BPI AIA's Savings Plan can help you become financially ready through investment and life insurance. BPI AIA lets you get insured at the convenience of your home despite the ongoing pandemic. Get in touch with a Bancassurance Sales Executive today to future-proof your freelancing career.