Runar Restrup, YunoJuno DIRECTOR.
A third of UK workers believe they could earn more money working for themselves, and 39% have considered becoming freelancers, according to a survey. research by IPSE.
The number of self-employed increased before the pandemic hit, IPSE also reported. The recalibrations around the way we work that took place during the pandemic have led so far more speed to freelancing, which “is destined to elicit Work 3.0 over time — a remake of how we work on resources, connect with employers, and organize how work gets done,” according to the Global Freelance Survey. (Full disclosure: My company was a platform research partner in this survey.)
As the CEO of a platform that brings together a community of highly skilled freelancers and clients, I believe there are three main reasons behind this passion for freelancing.
• Autonomy: You become your own boss and your own business the moment you become freelance. There is a choice about the work you take on and each client you work with. You can create a niche with your unique combination of skills and interests and create a “role” that didn’t exist before. This is a freedom that many workers of previous generations could only dream of.
• Flexibility: Choosing your own hours and prioritizing work-life balance are often cited in freelance research as one of the top reasons people choose to work this way. Whether you have more than one specialty, have a lot of time during the week with children and loved ones, or have a disability, a full-time 9 to 5 job is often unattractive. Sometimes it is impossible. Freelancing can allow you to contribute to the economy and keep earning if you can’t hold a conventional full-time job.
• Progress: Freelancing can free you from the role constraints that inevitably come with a full-time position, as well as from the constraints of a corporate structure. Your career is only yours to work out, so you have the potential to progress at your own pace and achieve your personal goals. Now that Gen-Z is at work – and demanding purpose and meaning of what they do – an increasing number of people now expect to work this way.
Freelancing can offer a tempting mix of benefits, but what’s the catch? It’s a big one. Traditionally, late payments have been a widespread problem, and for a freelancer with no salary to fall back on, it can have a huge impact on monthly cash flow. Payment delays can even keep some would-be freelancers from taking the risk of going it alone. But this tricky issue doesn’t have to be an obstacle to a successful freelance future.
Tips to get paid quickly as a freelancer
1. Make your payment terms crystal clear from the start. Inform clients of your payment terms when you accept the work. When you invoice, clearly state all the necessary details, including full payment instructions and the details of exactly what work you did and when. Basically, you don’t want to leave room for error or have someone chase you for details, which can slow things down.
2. Invoicing immediately and systematically. Invoice as soon as possible. It can be worth taking a leaf out of the craftsman’s books and submitting your invoice right after a job is completed — or even in advance if that’s an option — so it’s top of mind for the client. This can actually have a more positive impact on payment speed than your payment terms. Then make sure you have a system for sending reminders on specific days after the invoice is issued.
3. Inform customers about late payment fees – and enforce them. In the UK, the Small Business Commissioner website offers a online tool for calculating interest for late payments. the legal rate for late commercial payments is 8% plus the Bank of England base rate for business-to-business transactions. Please include a clear statement on your invoice regarding your terms and conditions regarding late payment fees. Be determined to remind your customer of — and, if necessary, proceed with — these fees.
If concerns about having an unstable income have kept you from making the switch to freelancing, these steps—learned the hard way by many self-employed professionals—should serve you well. Here too, trust, communication and consistency are essential. I believe freelancing is the future, and if you do it right, late payments can be a relic of the past.