How to strategically protect yourself as a freelancer
Although freelancing provides a more independent and flexible pathway of work, it’s still vulnerable to insecurities that can hamper productivity. The long-distance relationship you likely maintain with your clients can make it relatively easy for mistakes to occur if certain precautions aren’t taken.
From staying in touch with clients to managing invoices, there’s a lot to keep track of, and things can become more difficult to handle as your client base grows. Keeping your papers and documents in order will help you both maintain sanity and be prepared to
Safely Store All Communication With Your Clients
Save all your communication with clients in a safe place. A flash drive can be a handy storage tool to use. Cloud storage software, such as Dropbox, can be beneficial, too. Following this tip can allow you to look back on previous conversations and remind yourself of every expectation your clients have about work. Email applications like Gmail and Outlook have exporting tools to allow you to easily download your archives.
These saved documents can also help you clear up misunderstandings about things said in the past. They are especially useful for dealing with legal disputes that may occur in the future.
Log the Work You Do for Clients on a Regular Basis
Documenting all the work you do will further help you stay on track. It’s ideal to do this on an hourly basis to highlight the fine details of your efforts. This practice encourages you to develop a greater sense of accountability over time.
Also, passing these notes along to your clients can help them stay in the loop with what’s going on behind the scenes. In a sense, it is proof that you’re committed to reaching their business goals. Just make sure your documentation is thorough and easy to understand.
You might find a project management tool helpful for scheduling and logging your tasks. There are some awesome web tools out there, including Freedcamp, Asana and Podio, to name a few. These tools are free to sign up for, and will even allow you to manage shared tasks with partners or freelancers you’ve teamed up with.
Keep Track of All Your Invoices
Keeping track of all your invoices is an important practice of financial stability as a freelancer. Doing so can help you identify changes with how much you earn and realize a greater earning potential. It will be easier to construct a sufficient budget around invoices. Also, you’ll be able to hold clients accountable for late payments with greater confidence.
Don’t forget about tax season. Filling out tax forms is much more challenging without having exact calculations of earnings. Create a filing system to manage your invoices in an organized fashion. Online payment services typically provide automated invoicing. Hire a responsive, helpful and knowledgeable bookkeeper from your area to make sure your finances are in order. A bookkeeper who’s used to working with freelancers will have all the information you need to handle your taxes, invoices and payments.
It’s challenging enough to avoid freelancing scams during the job search. But protecting yourself on the job is also a challenge worth taking, especially when working for international payments from foreign clients.