Written by Cate Barker
The 12 years I spent as a work-from-home mom were some of the most satisfying of my life. Working for myself meant I could set my own hours, writing during the mornings when my son was at daycare and at night after he went to bed. It also meant I could keep one foot in my profession while I spent afternoons in the park with him. I’d seen other women go through re-entry shock after years away from the workforce. I figured if I kept working, no matter how part-time, I wouldn’t be woefully out of step with the industry when it was time to go back to full-time work.
My least favorite part of working for myself was getting paid. I’d fire off an invoice as soon as I finished a project, only to wait weeks before getting a check. It didn’t seem to occur to the former colleagues who hired me how rude it was to not pay me promptly.
Tips to Keep Your Cash Flow Steady
Whether your business is graphic design, tax advice or another service, keeping the cash flowing might be your biggest challenge. A friend of mine owns a band instrument repair business, and she’s always begging for checks from the band directors. Another writer friend, after weeks of waiting, finally went to his client’s office and said, “I’m not leaving without a check.” This worked by the way.
There are a number of ways to stay on top of your funds. Here are a few tips to keep you in the black:
- Don’t start a project until your client signs a contract that spells out the estimated amount and payment terms.
- As soon as the project is finished to the client’s satisfaction, send them an invoice.
- Give them a variety of ways to pay. Billing apps like GoDaddy’s Online Bookkeeping and others make it easy to accept credit or debit card payments.
- Introduce yourself to whoever pays the bills. If they know and like you, they’ll respond when you call.
- Call the client two weeks after sending your invoice. Say something like, “Hi, this is Cate. I’m just touching base to see if you received the invoice I sent on December 2.” Repeat each week thereafter until you get paid.
Doing these five steps consistently will help keep the cash (mostly) flowing. Want to get even further into the black? Consider finding options for recurring revenue or passive income. That way, when you do have those clients who make you jump through hoops, you have some funds to fall back on.
Cate Barker is a veteran advertising writer with expertise in technology and higher education marketing. She’s one of two writers who craft all the promotional content on GoDaddy.com. She loves yoga, social activism, good wine and cooking.
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