No More Mrs. Nice Gal
I think the toughest thing about being a freelancer is that you are the last person on everyone's list of people to pay. You are running a business, you are meeting your deadlines, you are exceeding expectations...yet more often than not people treat the freelancer as if they're doing it for fun and the money is just the bonus icing on the cake. Oooo...icing.
Though my work is fun, it is also incredibly hard. I 0ften work six and seven days a week. I work on holidays. I work when I'm sick. I work because we have bills that need to be paid. The people to whom I must remit money for bills do not care to hear that I'll pay them as soon as the freelance 'check in the mail' arrives in my mailbox and clears my bank account. I'm not J Wellington Wimpy and they're not going to give me the cheeseburger unless I pay for it. My freelance work is my job. What I find fascinating is how the people who owe me money and have no trouble pressing me to meet deadlines seem to disconnect when it comes time to pay me. I wait endlessly for checks to arrive and the stress level of not knowing and still having to juggle the bills is epic.
How would they function if they had to wait indefinitely for their paychecks? How would they make their mortgage payments, pay their bills, buy food for their families? My freelance money is my salary. Just because I don't punch a time clock doesn't make my need to be paid in a timely manner any less important. Often before I get paid, I'm spending money. Money for materials, money to keep my computer online, money for shipping, money for my business email, money for my website, money, money, money, money..MONEY.
I need to be treated professionally because I act professionally. I find myself apologizing for asking to be paid. Seriously. Apologizing. Gosh, I'm sorry to bother you but can I please get paid so I can pay my mortgage now? Thanks.
What is up with that? Why should I apologize for asking to be paid? Shame on me. It's that guilt factor that the people who hire freelancers count on. Oh they're going to wait patiently, they're a freelancer, they feel weird about asking to be paid on time. We can count on that...so let's just hang on to the money we owe them as long as we can.
Show me the money.
I am so friggin' tired of apologizing for asking to be paid. I'm not the only one. Most of the people I know who freelance are in the same boat. Sometimes we do the work and don't even get paid. It's so expensive to pursue the people who owe us money, we suck it up and move on. Seriously, can you imagine stealing money from a freelancer and feeling okay about that? People do, lots of people do.
I'm not sucking it up anymore, because sucking it up, quite frankly, sucks.