Freelancing has loads of benefits. I can sit at home in my pants, on the couch watching trashy daytime TV while I work. I can set my own fees and my own working hours, and if I want or need a day off, I can have one. I can make up your own rules. What is not to love about it?
Well, actually there is something that most of us hate about working on a freelance basis, and that is that endless chasing of invoices and payments. It is so frustrating when you have completed a project for someone, and then you are suddenly met with radio silence. They are quick enough to chase you for the work, but not so quick to answer your calls or emails asking them for the payment for your time. Let’s not even get started on those companies that have a 60 or even 90-day payment turnaround policy. Let’s face it, no one who is employed would put up with waiting three months for their money so why should we? But that is a whole new blog post. Today, I am going to explore the options available to you when you have bills mounting up but are still struggling to get paid.
Chase, chase, chase
Now, we are sure that you are already doing this, but continue to chase your contact. Send them invoice reminders, emails and give them a call – sometimes, a phone call works best as they can’t just ignore it. If that is still proving fruitless, contact them on social media asking them to get in touch. Don’t publicly discuss why, but many companies get a sweat on in case you do go public. It is also worth checking out their website or LinkedIn if they are a big business to find their CEO or company director. If you are still getting nowhere, it may well be time to start thinking about taking legal action against them. It is crucial that you do this carefully and correctly; otherwise, it could end up costing you money. A good solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to give you advice on the process.
One of the most obvious, quickest and easiest ways of getting hold of some cash fast is to borrow money. Usually, you can have the money in your bank account in a couple of days at the most, and you can spread the repayments out over a more extended period of time. You should not have to take this course of action because you should have got paid, but needs must sometimes! Thankfully, Polar Credit offers a credit line which allows applicants to borrow money as and when they need it. It bridges the gap to mainstream finance so responsible borrowers can progress to lower-cost credit and not pay the higher fees associated with payday lending, whilst also rebuilding their credit rating. They offer access to small sums of money (from £25), so customers can just borrow the amount that they need and only pay interest on that amount, rather than having to take a larger loan that mainstream services offer and paying interest on the full amount.
Split Your Money Up
Look at the balance in your bank account. Pay off any outstanding bills, and then look at what you have got left to cover you for the rest of the month, or until your next guaranteed payment. You will need to spend some time working out what you still need to pay – food, rent or mortgage, utility bills, travel expenses, clothes, school fees and expenses, mobile phone costs etc. Once you have (hopefully) accounted for all of that, split the remainder of your money up over the next few weeks. So, say you have £400 left to cover you for a month, give yourself a budget of £100 a week – and stick to it!
Sell Some Stuff
You have more than likely got some things lying around your house or apartment that you no longer need. Those sneakers from last year, those designer jeans that will never fit you again. Those Xbox games you have played and played. Have a look around and anything that you no longer need, sell. You can do this on auction sites such as eBay, but be aware that you may be stung for fees on there. You can also do it in local Facebook selling groups, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. Depending on what it is that you are trying to sell, there may be specialist shops or dealers in your area that can take it off your hands for you for a handsome fee. Not only will this give your income a little boost, but it can also help you to create a bit of space in your home.
Survey Sites and Mystery Shopping
This can be a little time consuming and not the best payments, but when times are tough, every little helps, right? There are many survey providers online, usually paying a few cents for every survey you can complete. Once you have reached their payout line, you can withdraw the money. Mystery shopping involves you being paid to go to a shop, act as a regular customer would but report back on your findings on things like their customer service, availability of stock, cleanliness, and tidiness etc. Sometimes you will get the cost of your purchases back; sometimes, it is a flat fee for doing it, sometimes, if you are lucky, it is both.
Do a bit more freelancing.
Ok, so this is your job already but if you have a spare bit of time, is there something else you can do? Your skills will no doubt lend themselves to other aspects of freelancing. Perhaps you could look at doing some short term data input or social media management on the side? You could also use the time to pitch to new clients or get in touch with any previous clients you have worked with to see if they have any further opportunities available for you. Other things you could do is see if any neighbors need jobs doing such as gardening, babysitting, car washing, dog walking or pet sitting.
If you have tried all of the above and it has been to no avail, you will have no choice but tr to cut right back for a short time. Look at your grocery bill, to begin with – can you reduce that? It may involve eating lots of cheap pasta for a while instead of steak, but it won’t hurt you in the short term. The next thing to do is to make sure you are getting the very best deal on your utility bills and do what you can to reduce them – turn the central heating down or the air-conditioning off, depending on which you use, turn off the lights and stop taking the long and luxurious baths. If you have lots of subscriptions – perhaps SkyNetflix, Amazon, magazines, newspapers etc, pause them or stop them for the time being. If you drive, look at using public transport or walking to work. If you regularly grab take away coffees and lunch, make up a flask and a packed lunch the night before to take with you. That can save you up to £10 a day! By looking at your outgoings, you should be able to find a few quid here and there – and when you’re waiting for your cash, every little helps!