6 Invoicing Tips for Getting Paid Lightning Fast

When I was a beginning freelancer, a late invoice often meant the difference between making rent and begging my (very nice, I must say) landlord to waive the late fee. We’ve all been there – some clients pay you within the hour, some clients send a check right around the 30-day mark, and some clients conveniently forget to pay at all. But sometimes, late payments

The Business of Freelancing: Disregard at Your Own Risk

Every now and again I’m caught off guard by the nature of this industry. I might not have been involved in the world of online marketing and freelance writing my entire adult life, but almost eight years in the field is enough to give me a rather cynical perspective on a lot of things. That being said, an experience this week took me aback and

Transitioning Out of Freelance Writing

By far, most freelance writing advice is building a successful freelancing writing business, not about leaving one behind. But, sometimes, writing businesses fail. Or, writers decide to pursue other opportunities. Your freelance writing business may morph into another business. There’s nothing wrong with that. The most important thing is to continue doing something that pays the bills and keeps you (somewhat) happy. If you have

Making Money as a Freelance Writer: What’s Most Important

If I were to ask those just starting out what is most important in having a freelance writing career, I’m guessing most would tell me what seems obvious. You have to write well. And it’s true that you do need sufficient writing skills to build a career as a freelance writer, but that’s not what is most important. In fact, excellent writing skills don’t even

Who Can Afford to Write for Cheap?

“You want to hire me, but you don’t want to pay my rates. Tell me again how accepting a project that pays far less than what I need to survive on is going to benefit me.” My honesty is never this brutal, but it’s sometimes exactly what I want to say to those clients who want to hire me, but want to pay me in

Game Changers: Is It Time to Throw in the Freelance Towel?

It’s crossed the mind of every freelancer at one point or another, perhaps on the day that a major deal falls through or you learn you’re looking at a divorce or pregnancy. Is there a good time to stop freelance writing? While our knee jerk reaction may be to immediately deny the thoughts of walking away or scaling back, logically there are some times when

Handling Freelance's Biggest Financial Surprises

Some surprises are nice: surprise birthday parties, surprise gifts, surprise breakfast in bed. Other surprises are not so nice, specifically surprises that cost you. When you’re a fulltime writer, your income fluctuates often, so surprises are typically unwelcome. But they happen, even to the most experienced writers. Success and longevity hinge on your ability to manage these surprises. A big project falls through. Not every

Freelancing Tricks: Find a Comfort Zone

One of the hardest things to do as a freelancer is also one of the most critical. You need to find a comfort zone in your professional life. If you don’t find a happy medium where you’re driven to succeed without overwhelming yourself with projects and obligations, your professional life will quickly bleed over into your personal life – and soon you find yourself trapped

Freelancing Doesn't Have to Mean Financial Failure

If you asked my 20-year-old self what kind of job I wanted after graduating college, writing would not have been my answer. But, if you asked that same me what I was passionate about, I would have answered “writing” without hesitation. I’ve talked to many people who, like I was, are afraid to follow their dreams of being a full-time freelance writer because they’re worried

Freelance Writers: A Checklist for Switching Banks

If you bank with a major bank, you’ve probably received notice that a monthly fee is being added to your account. For the most part, these fees can be waived if you maintain a certain balance, make a certain number of debit card transactions, or have a certain amount direct deposited into your account. Basically, you may have to go through a little bit of

Working from Home and Wasting Time

There is a lot of resistance to the idea that working at home makes you lazy. I’d heartily agree that stereotypes are generally unfounded among successful business people who choose to work from home, but I’d also offer up the argument that having worked in a few places in corporate America, people are lazy workers at times no matter where they are stationed for the

Documents You'll Need for Tax Time

Tax time is still a few months away but if you wait until then you could be in a rush to get all the paperwork together. You can make it a lot easier on your tax preparer (even if you do your own taxes) by keeping up with necessary financial documents throughout the year. W-9 forms for contractors to whom you paid more than $600

Profitable Guest Posting

Guest posting is popular for several good reasons: Guest posting is an excellent showcase of your skills. Guest posting is a highly targeted form of marketing. Guest posting is an ace-in-the-hole for SEO. Guest posting can be rather profitable. If you raised an eyebrow at my fourth reason, you aren’t thinking about all of the true possibilities of guest posting. What’s Guest Posting? For those

Financial Signs Freelance Writing Isn't Right for You

A lot of people have the wrong idea about freelance writing. Being able to write 500 words on a single topic doesn’t mean you’re cut out for freelance writing. Even having impeccable writing skills doesn’t mean you’ll have a long, successful writing career. That’s because freelance writing is part craft, part business. Without the financial habits of a successful business owner, there’s a low likelihood

Making Big Adjustments as a WAHM

It’s that time again! The kids are going back to school! This means my house will in an uproar for a few weeks while we try to get everyone and everything settled again for the school year. While you might expect me to celebrate my kids going back to school as a sign that I’ll have more time in the day to write, I am

Losing a Big Client

The first time I lost a big client, I was devastated. The second time, I was angry. By the third time, I realized it’s just part of the business and there’s no use getting emotional over it unless it happens right before going on vacation. Clients come and clients go. That’s the ebb and flow of freelance projects. Businesses change and sometimes your services may no

Why This Freelancer Never Takes Vacations

After many years, I went on a vacation last week. The trip was great, of course, except for one small detail. About two days before we left for Colorado and the cool mountain breezes, my largest client “changed direction” overnight. My primary contact was laid off and my regular blogging commitments stopped effective immediately. Not exactly the sort of send off I was hoping for,

When People Ask About Your Income

People are always shocked when I tell them I’m a full-time freelance writer. Invariably, they want to know how much I make and how I can afford to pay my bills on the money I make from writing. I don’t blame them. Before I started writing full-time, I was one of those people completely oblivious to the fact that writing was a legitimate source of

Freelancing My Way to a Real Vacation

I have a bit of a confession to make. I haven’t gone on a real vacation in about ten years. I know. Shoot me now. I do have some good reasons for the lack of travel. My husband is a homebody so he’s not struck with wanderlust. When I do travel, I’m usually going to see family for a few days with plenty of obligations

How to Be a Better Loan Candidate

Taking out a loan, especially a mortgage, when you’re self-employed is hard. Because lenders see self-employment income as risky and unpredictable, the lending standards are a lot harsher for us than for other workers. Before the mortgage crisis, freelancers had an easier time getting major loans. Many banks offered “no doc” or “low doc” loans that required little to no income documentation. Now, you can

How to Furnish Your Home Office on a Budget

When we work from home as freelancers, sometimes we don’t have much control over our work environment. For example, some writers work from their kitchen tables. A benefit of working in a pre-established area of the home is that you don’t have to worry about furnishing a separate office space. But what if you do have a freelance office, but not a huge budget to furnish it?

Writing at Home: Can I Do This?

It’s not an unusual question. We all wonder from time to time if this world of freelancing from home is worth the extra time and effort it takes to be successful. Naturally we usually find plenty of reasons that it is, in fact, worth the hassles and stress. To name a few: freelance writers who work at home enjoy schedule flexibility, more time with family,

What the Affordable Care Act Means for Writers

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is legal. While there’s still much debate on whether it’s the right move for the people and the economy, the provisions of the law provide significant benefits for self-employed workers like us freelance writers. If you have private health insurance or you’re covered under a spouse’s health insurance, nothing much will change for

Is Freelance Writing Wasting Your Time?

I was browsing through a popular working mom forum recently and found a popular thread that was both interesting and disturbing. In the thread, moms were discussing their work schedule – a popular topic I like to discuss as well. On the forum, the moms were describing how much of their day they spend dedicated to writing part-time and it disturbed me. A lot. The

The Sacrifices We Make to Freelance Full-Time

“The thing some folks don’t understand about sacrifice… Sometimes it’s more of a trade (The Skeleton Key).” One of the things I hated the most about a regular 9-5 was missing out on beautiful weather. Those first few nice days of Spring when it’s sunny and warm, but you’re stuck behind a desk and the sun is setting by the time you get off work

Freelance Writers Have to Pay Quarterly Estimated Taxes

Freelance writing can be very stressful. Some months new clients are beating down your door (well, email account). The next month, you’re scrambling to write grocery lists for a little bit of cash. It all comes and goes so fast and it’s tough to maintain a monthly rhythm. Which is why when quarterly estimated taxes come along many freelancer writers just wave their hands in

When Working Conditions Are Never Right

There are those among us who can only work when the conditions are just right. They must have the right music or show on in the background. They must have their ergonomic chair positioned just so and their office door opened exactly three inches to allow for cross ventilation while blocking 93 percent of all regular household noises. I’m not that person. Nor is any

The Cost of Running a Freelance Writing Business

What one of the things I love most about freelance writing is that I only need a few tools to get my job done. I can work nearly anywhere and any situation. I prefer my laptop and an internet connection, but if I have a pen or pencil and some type of paper, I can be just as productive. Because there are only a few

Recognizing and Changing Bad Habits

A few months ago, I read an intriguing article about how Target can figure out a woman is pregnant long before she ever tells her family or friends – by analyzing on her shopping habits. Who knew habits were so insightful? In the article, the author, Charles Duhigg, analyzed his own habits and noticed he had a habit of eating chocolate chip cookies every afternoon.

Freelancers Union: The World's Largest Invoice

Last month, the Freelancer’s Union launched a neat website – WorldsLongestInvoice.com – which totals unpaid invoices from freelancers all over the world. The current total unpaid invoices is just a couple thousand dollars away from $16,000,000 and the site has only been live for a little more than week! Dozens of writers have added their names to the list. For example: Lanelle: $300 for Content