What’s been your biggest setback in freelancing?
Not getting paid. To mitigate this:
- Clear scope of work
- Very tight contract showing remedies for non-payment (i.e. binding arbitration, late fees, etc.)
- Collect at least 50% up front, no exceptions (try for 100%)
- Provide an EASY way of getting paid
- Pick up the phone but recap all verbal conversations in writing
- Send a certified letter
- End the relationship
Also, false reviews
- Respond immediately both to the client and the platform where the review was left.
Get ready for freelancing strategies, hacks and tactics to help you skyrocket your success brought to you by Freelancer masterclass calm. You’re listening to freelancing school with your instructor Mike Volkin.
Welcome to another episode of Freelancer school. I am Mike Volkin. And today we’re going to be talking about what has been your biggest setback in freelancing. I got asked this on a Cora question the other day and I wanted to address it since I think so many of you either have experienced it or will experience it in the future. First of all, I would say that there’s two main problems, not just one, my biggest setback has been not getting paid. And I’ll give you some tips on how to mitigate this but another setback I have is false reviews. Let’s go ahead and talk about false reviews first, reviews are a necessary Evil in some cases where you get a bad review and it just drags you down from tons of future income. But in some cases, in most cases, it can be great for you because positive reviews really prop you up. Not only do they help in the Upwork algorithms, lots of great reviews, but it helps when prospects look at these reviews and see that you have lots of good experience working with our clients and positive experience. But every now and then you’ll get either a false review or a bad review. The difference between the two is that a bad review may or may not be justified, a false review is not justified. Let me give you an example. I had a freelancer who I was thinking about hiring and I decided not to they followed up with me later after the project was done and asked me he said Mike, why did you not hire me I we had a great conversation. And I was if anything overqualified for the job and I said, I know I saw a review on you know, a scathing review on your Upwork feed that’s on your Apple profile that had all those negative points about and i and i just resonated with me. And she said you do know that was for a different Freelancer right? I said No, you know what I’m on your profile right now I can see it. He’s like, I know, she said, but my my profile, the client had left the review for intending it to be for someone else. And because they were hiring multiple freelancers, so it wasn’t supposed to be on my profile. And I’m working with Upwork to get it removed, and the client is, you know, working with me to make sure that that happens. I said, Well, I wish you would have told me that in the first place because that is a false review. And that was a four and a half thousand dollar project. I wound up hiring someone else for that that person missed out on. That is just one example. I can’t imagine all the other false reviews that are on Google and you know, if you google your name and see an unjustified review, then that would be an issue I did have an issue with a false review wants but gotta quickly removed where I don’t think anybody noticed it. Although that is not a setback for me, it is a setback for a lot of freelancers. So I just wanted to bring that up. And in dealing with false reviews and even bad reviews, because everybody’s going to get bad reviews no matter how great you are. In a bad review could be as little as a forced out of five stars, what I consider a bad review is four to five. To deal with bad reviews, you want to do two things. Number one, you want to respond immediately on the platform, which it’s on. So if you see a bad review on Google or Bing or up work, you want to respond immediately and publicly. And in a professional way, but and you also want to respond to the client to do whatever you can to get it removed. Because bad reviews affect you more than you know, they’re there forever. And anybody can see them, and they’re bad for your brand. So please try to get those removed as soon as possible and respond publicly. Now let’s talk about not getting paid. There are some steps that you can do to mitigate not getting paid as a freelancer and unfortunately, almost everybody has been freelancing. can experience not getting paid either partially or fully for a project? First of all, you should have a very clear scope of work before you even begin working with a client. I’m talking about excruciating Lee clear. It’s not just Hey, I’m going to do three blogs for you at 800 words or more. If you’re a freelance writer, for example, it has to be much more fleshed out than that everything from the timeline to the details of the blog
needs to be fleshed out with the client and agreed upon in writing. Very, very clear scope of work. I can’t stress that enough. I work so hard on making sure that the scope of work is so clear, not just for not getting paid, but also for the fact that you’re going to want to prevent scope creep. scope creep is when a client asks you to do something that is outside the scope of the work of the contract and it costs you time and doesn’t you don’t get paid for it usually. The next tip is having a tight contract. That shows remedies for non payment. So you always want to have a clause in your contract you’re working agreement for what’s called binding arbitration. Maybe something that has to do with late fees, I always recommend late fees in your contract. Going back to binding arbitration, there are several different types of arbitration. But binding arbitration is one that is enforced outside of the court system. So the two parties will come to an agreement with an arbitrator in the room. And that is an enforceable by law as opposed to a non binding arbitration where the judgment is honored between the two parties, but not enforceable by law. So you want something with binding arbitration if not just skip arbitration altogether. Arbitration is easier for both parties in most cases, because you don’t have to go through the court system and which takes time and cost money, although binding arbitration can, in fact, in some cases cost more than going to court, but it’s more Much less complicated than going through the court system. So always have a very tight contract showing remedies for non payment if you’re a freelancer masterclass student premium member, you will get those those agreements. Another tip for not getting paid, or actually for getting paid faster or more frequently collect at least 50% up front, no exceptions. I always try to get 100% of the money up front. If it’s a short term contract, meaning for me three months or less, especially one month or less, you should always get 100% up front. But if it’s something that’s ongoing, recurring, you should be able to bill at the beginning of the month as opposed to in arrears, which is the end of the month, but always try to get at least 50% up front. I don’t have many clients who haven’t paid me but the ones I did all have the same commonality as I did not collect money up front. Now. It’s an absolute requirement that I do that before working with a client, no matter how much I liked them, no matter how polite They are, okay.
Provide an easy way of getting paid. So
many times I work with freelancers, especially ones that are international, and they provide these crazy ways to get paid out to sign up for this system called pay Payoneer and I’ve never heard it before. So then I sign up and then have to get validated and then I have to get something signed by a notary and then come back. It’s like these crazy steps just to pay you You know what, sign up for something that’s easy for the client. That takes little to no time. That way, if I’m the one paying a freelancer, I don’t have to think about it. I know it’s not going to be a hassle and I can do it right now. Instead of having to like flag that email to say please pay this invoice knowing that it’s going to be an issue later. All right. So make it super easy for someone to get paid whether you’re there in your country or or outside your country.
Yes, there are going to be fees associated with that.
Those should be built into your costs. Too many times I hear about freelancers, moaning about oh 3% credit card fees. You know what build that in. It’s nothing. You get to keep 97 percent of it. And it’s, it’s a luxury to get to be able to take payments electronically believe me it was hasn’t been that many decades where you had to send checks and or send credit card numbers by fax or some weird thing. So now it’s super easy to accept payment, just take care of it and build a fee into your hourly rate. Okay. Another tip for mitigating on clients paying you is picking up the phone and calling them and trying to resolve any payments disputes. Sometimes with emails, it’s difficult with the tone of the voice or way something might be stated, that might be taken in a different direction. It’s all people are always nicer on the phone.
So pick up the phone, call the client,
but always recap all the verbal conversations in writing in case if there ever is an issue. I had actually dealt with this issue with a client where a client was just refusing to pay me for something. And it turns out when I got him on the phone, it was a giant miscommunication. They said that they weren’t going to pay me for something that I didn’t deliver. But I delivered it to them. And for some reason they skipped over that particular email. It was marked as read. I even had an email tracker that showed when they read it and how many times they read it and how long they looked
at the email the whole thing.
So I showed them this via screen share, and we went into their email live, and I saw that it was red, and they apologized profusely, and then they paid me right away, that would have never been resolved, just doing email communication. All right, there’s just one example.
So it’s always helps to pick up the phone and situations like that.
Lastly, actually, secondly, lastly, send a certified letter. If it comes to the point where the client is you guys are just at an impasse and they’re just not paying you you have to send a certified demand letter certified meetings, they somebody at their establishment, their home or their office has signed for it and is personally responsible for giving them the letter. They’ve actually signed it and that signature will come back to you in the mail. That’s what certified is. cost a couple bucks, but that way It is showing you showing them and you that you’re demanding payment. This puts any excuse out of their hands if it ever comes to court arbitration that they didn’t know you’re asking for payment. That’s a typical cop out. Oh, I didn’t know I forgot I sent payment. I didn’t know they didn’t have it. If you send a demand letter with their signature on it, they know that you did not receive payment. And lastly, and the relationship Oh my God, I had a freelancer their day was telling me how their client didn’t pay for the second time. And I was like, what, why? How does that even possible? Why did you not end the relationship after the first time they didn’t pay? Oh, well, they call me they apologize. They really needed me to fix their website again. And I decided to take on work and just bill in the past to payment to this last invoice. And guess what the client took off on them again, went dark on them. So if they don’t, you know, Fool me once, shame on you fool me twice. Shame on me. Alright, so don’t work with a client. Again, who doesn’t pay the first time? Alright, so hope these tips help you. Hopefully you won’t have to deal with any of these issues but if you do you know the steps to take to mitigate not getting paid.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai