Updated: Jul 31
Working as a freelancer can be an extremely fun and rewarding experience. There’s a sense of independence, freedom and creativity that you may not have while working a 9-5. However, as a freelancer in a creative industry, you may find that your bank account does not reflect the amount of work that you put in. Clients simply do not want to pay you. Your email is filled with unpaid invoices and inquiries from potential clients who would love to work with you, but who don’t have a budget. If this sounds familiar, here are a few tips that may help you get paid in actual money and not exposure.
Offer a Retainer
Many creatives use retainers as their official way of payment. With a retainer, clients pay you upfront for the work they want to be completed. Depending on the project, some creatives offer 3, 6, and 9-month retainers to their clients. Retainers create a sense of accountability for both the creative and the client. This is the most secure way to make sure that you get paid on time.
Give a Discount
In some cases, you may come across an amazing potential client that just doesn’t have the budget to pay your full price.
If it aligns with you budget and your goals, then offering a discount may be an option.
Discounts should be given out on a case-by-case basis.
Sometimes it’s easier for clients to understand how they are being billed if you break it down hourly. Unfortunately in some creative spaces, some tasks are not the easiest to give a time value. How do you charge for 4 hours of research? 2 hours of pitching? There are sites like Toggl and My Hours that allows one to keep track of billable hours.
Sometimes you will simply have to pass on a potential client if they do not have a budget. People who work in creative spaces, tend to have huge hearts and want to help everyone they can. Unfortunately, we can’t go on this way if we want to make money. If you have to turn a client away, refer them to someone else in your network who offers the same services.