When Clients Don't Pay, Pay Late...and Other Anomalies of Freelancing

Written by Melissa Brewer

It's something that freelance writers don't like to talk about or hear about, but it happens more often than we like to admit.

The Scenario: The perfect project --repparttar one with a decent budget, and a wonderful project manager or editor, has finally been completed. You send an invoice torepparttar 129566 person in charge, who promises to forward it torepparttar 129567 accounting department. The contract stated "payment on acceptance/ completion", and you have their signature on file, so you're pretty sure there is nothing to worry about. Besides, they sent you a deposit. Of course they'll want to send yourepparttar 129568 remaining balance as soon as possible.

A week goes by andrepparttar 129569 check hasn't arrived. You hearrepparttar 129570 sirens going off in your head, but you decide to give your clientrepparttar 129571 benefit ofrepparttar 129572 doubt. The check is inrepparttar 129573 mail, you're sure, andrepparttar 129574 new Anthrax-prevention equipment atrepparttar 129575 post office sure has slowed repparttar 129576 mail down.

Week two sets in. Your bills are arriving on time inrepparttar 129577 mail, so you decide that your client may have cutrepparttar 129578 checks late. You promise yourself that atrepparttar 129579 beginning of next week, you'll make sure you give a friendly reminder call -- ifrepparttar 129580 check isn't here. When you call, your contact person isn't there to take it. You leave a message for them to call you -- you don't want to sound like a collection agency!

Days go by with no return call. You send an email that goes unanswered. Alarm bells are going off in your head. Did you do something wrong? Are they going out of business?

How can you retain your client relationship AND get paid?

1. First Things First: An Ounce of Prevention

We all like to thinkrepparttar 129581 best of our clients and new projects, and sometimes, in earnest, we gloss over some ofrepparttar 129582 fine details.

It's important to "check out" our clients before we begin working for them. Retailers and goods suppliers always do a credit check before taking on a customer. Most freelancers can't affordrepparttar 129583 time or money to do this. However, ifrepparttar 129584 company is publicly traded you can always look them up onrepparttar 129585 web. In fact, always do a quick check onrepparttar 129586 search engines for any press releasesrepparttar 129587 client has put out, bad publicity, etc. If your client is a day away from bankruptcy and you're their last hope, they're not going to tell you that! If something looks unstable, go with your gut and ask for a larger deposit or pass onrepparttar 129588 job. It will save you much frustration atrepparttar 129589 end!

You can also checkrepparttar 129590 following warning reports for writers and consumers to see if other writers have had problems with your client inrepparttar 129591 past. If they're listed, steer clear!

Writer's Weekly Warnings Report http://www.writersweekly.com/warnings/iaq.html

The Rip-Off Report http://www.ripoffreport.com

Writers Alerts http://www.sfwa.org/beware/general.html

National Writer's Union Alerts http://www.nwu.org/alerts/alrthome.htm

A legally binding contract is an essential MUST for any freelancer. You can changerepparttar 129592 contract to reflectrepparttar 129593 time allotted, deposit, and completion date. I always includerepparttar 129594 number of allowed revisions, a "kill fee", and a statement explaining thatrepparttar 129595 copyright forrepparttar 129596 project transfers AFTER I receiverepparttar 129597 final payment. Here are a few links to contract resources you can use when "sealingrepparttar 129598 deal":

Sample Contract http://freelancebank.com/resource.asp?id=14114

When is a Contract a Contract? http://freeagent.com/advice/legal/makesacontract.asp

2. Whenrepparttar 129599 "Pay by" Date Comes and Goes: Nudge Them!

Nothing makes me, as a freelancer, want to panic more than an unpaid invoice from a company. The thought of Ramen noodles and Tang are terrifying - or, at least, humbling - and I must admit my cash flow is still somewhat limited some months!

Approaching your client about a delinquent account, initially, isn't too difficult; you can send a "thank you forrepparttar 129600 project" email and a short note saying, "Byrepparttar 129601 way,repparttar 129602 check hasn't arrived inrepparttar 129603 mail yet, I was wondering when you mailed it?" If you don't get a response, callrepparttar 129604 main office phone number and ask forrepparttar 129605 fax number torepparttar 129606 Accounts Payable department. Send a polite note torepparttar 129607 AP office explaining that, "I'm afraid that this invoice may have been lost inrepparttar 129608 shuffle. It's several days past due. Please update me onrepparttar 129609 status when you have time." Usually, this will dorepparttar 129610 trick, and you'll get a polite phone call or email with a notation aboutrepparttar 129611 "paid" status. Make sure you note all ofrepparttar 129612 dates and times you've called and keep copies of all of your correspondence.

Online Writing and Beyond: Writers Will Lead the Content Revolution

Written by Melissa Brewer


It is often thrown around loosely onrepparttar web that "Content is king."

If content is king, then what is a content writer?

Unfortunately, we are not yet royalty. We're never paid as well or considered as skilled as a web designer or our more technical counterparts. This is changing, however, with an influx of writing forrepparttar 129565 web courses andrepparttar 129566 frenzy of corporate training in writing forrepparttar 129567 web. Training an already overworked, understaffed web team to write specifically forrepparttar 129568 web is costly and distracts technical workers from updating their ever-changing, ever-evolving techie skills. And then there isrepparttar 129569 whole left-brain, right-brain trap. Technical workers usually work fromrepparttar 129570 left side of their brain, programming ASP and javascript. Designers userepparttar 129571 right side of their brain to apply design elements torepparttar 129572 technical aspects, such as forms and web sites.

Good writers are already gifted in using a voice that reaches their audience clearly and effectively. Content writers work behindrepparttar 129573 scenes to help websites retain and expand their readership, sales, and visits by offering articles, sales copy, email outreach, and other types of writing to enhance a web site's overall "stickiness". The basic premise behind content writing is that without content, a website creates no reason for a customer to return. And it's much easier to get a customer to return than to visitrepparttar 129574 site inrepparttar 129575 first place. The web is still referred to asrepparttar 129576 "information superhighway", and millions of users expect their information for free.

Where Writers Fit In

Ultimately, it is not "Content is King." As readers adapt and change their uses and needs onrepparttar 129577 web, it is clear that really,repparttar 129578 users are king and queen. Providing fresh and interactive content is simply repparttar 129579 role content writers undertake. This is similar torepparttar 129580 role of jesters, caterers, tutors, and playhouses to our royal readers. (Online books have failed thus far primarily for this reason; much of repparttar 129581 content isn't uniquely informing andrepparttar 129582 format doesn't make an enjoyable read. How can somebody enjoy reading over 50 pages of boring, painful-to-read Adobe- Acrobat text?)

Content writers entertain, refresh, inform, educate and expandrepparttar 129583 world of their readers through writing. Those of us who write and love writing understand thatrepparttar 129584 essence of writing is invoke emotion, take your reader "another world", inform them or prompt them to action. Combinerepparttar 129585 passion for writing withrepparttar 129586 need for content onrepparttar 129587 web, and a writer can have it all. Not only can a writer fulfill these needs, but alsorepparttar 129588 web writer can achieve a coveted, long-lasting goal for every website; compelrepparttar 129589 reader to interact.

Writers Engaging Readers

As more forms of entertainment move online, more unique ways of fulfilling their goals will surface. Some ofrepparttar 129590 most popular websites today begin with a little content and build a community. Community-based websites not only have online writers, but also provide a forum for their users to interact torepparttar 129591 content. Building conflict and community can engage your readers in such a way that they no longer feel like readers, but an audience. Members of an audience can applaud, converse, heckle and cheer when appropriate. By encouragingrepparttar 129592 use of a message board or other interactive media, readers return to see whatrepparttar 129593 next day, week, or month will bring. They "get in on a piece ofrepparttar 129594 action".

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