Starting any type of business means doing your research and getting all the preparation right, but when you are setting out on the path to becoming a freelancer, you really need to attend to every detail.
For many business owners and self-employed people, the positives involved in working for yourself far outweigh the negatives. However, for those who are used to a regular pay packet, the money side of things can come as something of a shock.
In the early days, most businesses will be a little bit hit and miss, and some months may be better than others. Taking a set amount as a regular paycheck will only be feasible if there is funding in place or a regular income stream has been set up from the start.
When it comes to being a sole trader, it can be very different from being an employee as work can be sporadic and a guaranteed income will often be something that you can’t rely on.
This means that it is all the more important to be prepared and be able to make sure you do get paid promptly for the work you have done.
Administration and organizational skills are something that many people are lucky enough to have naturally, and fortunately for others, they can be learned relatively easily.
It really comes down to paying attention to detail in terms of preparation, and one of the most important aspects of this for a freelancer is having a good invoicing system in place.
Before you make the transition to actually running your own business, even if you are the “employee”, boss, bookkeeper, and marketing manager all rolled into one, you need to know what you have to do to cover the basic essential paperwork.
Thankfully, today, this is all fairly straightforward as computers and online systems can pretty much take care of most admin tasks.
Making sure that you know all of your responsibilities in regards of tax liabilities and any other official rules and regulations you might need to adhere to is a basic requirement.
Likewise, putting your financial house in order in terms of having a bank account and any funding from various sources that might be available is something that you need to have in place before you begin working.
Like any business, being a freelancer means having a plan of action in terms of how you will earn money and who your clients and customers are going to be.
Although it can be difficult to make a detailed financial forecast for work that can be sporadic at times and extremely busy at others, if you have a few regular jobs, you can make a good base to build on, no matter how small it is to start with.
When it comes to invoicing, this is particularly important for freelancers because, basically, if you don’t give a client the right paperwork asking to be paid, it is unlikely that you will receive a cent.
Essentially, an invoice is a request for payment for work that has been done. It usually has some terms, such as a payment period, and will include all the relevant details about the job that was carried out, the bank details that you want payment sent to, and the correct name and address of the person or company who owes you the money.
Using ready-made templates is the quickest and easiest way to get professional-standard invoices that cover all the bases and leave no room for error. Simply click here to choose from hundreds of different invoices that will cover every likely scenario.
Being paid promptly for work that you have done has long been a traditional problem for freelancers. Often, a large company will simply have so much paperwork to deal with that your invoice might be at the bottom of the pile, but sometimes, if your details are not correct or you have made some kind of invoicing error, your payment will be delayed for avoidable reasons.
Cash flow problems can mean real hardship for a freelancer who is working on his or her own and who has to budget carefully around funds that are due to come in on a set date.
By making sure that your invoicing procedures are up to date and fully professional, you can make a real difference to your chances of getting paid on time.