When you start getting some serious freelance work, or even just finally get a piece accepted, it’s time to start seriously working on the business side of… well, your writing business.
There are many careers for writers, especially in remote, freelance capacities like editing, content creation, blogging, product reviews, freelance journalism, travel writing, you name it.
However, unlike other 9-5 gigs, a freelance writing career means you don’t just get your shiny paycheck and that’s that. Usually, most jobs require invoices, sometimes time logs, and contracts.
Knowing how to draft these is an important part of remote work. I know when I started and someone asked me to send them an invoice I was a little lost.
And I’ve also had jobs completely fall apart (even after months and months of work) because there was never a contract put in front of me, just the promise of a contract.
In short, contract first and foremost, know your rates, stand by them, and always log your time.
It might even help to get some sort of bookkeeping software or even an excel sheet that tracks your income and spending. I use Wave, a free website that monitors your small business finances and it’s really handy. This isn’t an affiliated post, I just really like their program.
For contracts, thankfully it can be fairly easy to find the templates online. From there it’s easy enough to just doctor the contract until to wordage fits exactly what the client expects and what you expect to get in return.
Here’s an example of a contract that I edited for a client who had asked me to write up a short story.
As you can see there’s a little bit a legalese, and that would be because it was a free template that I played around with to get the gist of what I was looking for with my client. This was a small project, but if you are taking on a really big job it might be worth getting a real legal contract drafted by a lawyer.
Contracts are way more complicated than invoices. Invoices are simply put, the bill. It’s what you give your client that tells them:
- What it is for
- How much you’re owed
- How you should get paid
Along with obvious information like dates and names.
Here are some example invoices I have sent to clients.
September 1st-September 30th
Let this document serve as an invoice for all articles listed below for the dates through the month of September
To be paid via direct deposit to Kay Vandette PayPal Account
(Paypal email address)
List all articles for that month
List Article Title
Dear (insert editor),
Please let this letter serve as my invoice for $25.00 for one edited article, “Insert Article title” per your request on (Date).
I am preferable to Paypal (insert paypal payment info).
A time log is the most self-explanatory of the three above mentioned things. It’s just your record of how you spent your time, that way when you present an invoice to your client, you’ll have hard evidence of how your time was spent should you need it.
Time logs are essential if you charge hourly (and most freelancers recommend that you should). I think there is a hesitancy on the client’s side of it because you might just “strrrrrrrrretch” that time out to make maximum bucks. But those who know the freelancing business, know that hourly is the way to go.
And there you have it, an essential list of the three biggies you need to have for your freelance writing career. Pretty soon it will be tax season and you can join me for the fun of doing my taxes as a self-employed person for the first time. Ah, the joys of running a freelance writing business.
As always, happy writing!