Freelance Ain’t Free

Running a business is hard, especially when it comes to handling money. I remember when I first started freelancing, I was terrible at making budgets and organizing my income. Today, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned along the way that might assist you in staying on top of your money game when it comes to freelance.

50/50 payments // This is pretty much an industry standard but as a rule I always require my clients to pay 50% of their total payment up front as a deposit and the final half prior to installation/site launch. It protects the designer and also helps out the client by easing the burden of paying a large sum of money all at once.

Billings // This is a wonderful, Mac-based invoicing app. I use it to keep track of & send client deposits and invoices; it makes it easy to keep both parties in the loop. It’s worth mentioning the various invoice template options are really spiffy-looking. You can check it out right here.

PayPal debit card // Although my preferred method of payment is check by mail, I still accept PayPal payments for those clients who don’t have personal checks. Not many people are aware that PayPal offers a free debit-card for your account; its freakin’ awesome and super convenient. I use it all the time; it’s like an extra checking account. I highly recommend ordering one if you’re an avid PayPal user.

I hope some of you out there found these little tips & tricks helpful. If you have a question regarding freelance {money-related or otherwise} I’d be happy to answer them in another upcoming post. I’ve learned to take advantage of the design community because your peers are usually full of great advice!

Computer graphic made by me; inspired by miss Vanessa


  1. Natasha says:

    This entire post resonates SO much with me. “Freelance ain’t free” – yes! And your graphic is perfection!

    Billings sounds wonderful! Exactly the kind of thing I need to keep my scattered brain in check. And I didn’t know about the Paypal debit card! This is truly life-changing.

    re: payments. I generally invoice the balance of payment after the design has been installed (rather than just before). Are your clients usually pretty good about agreeing to give you the balance of payment before install? I think I’d actually like to switch to this method, just for my own peace of mind and to avoid any sort of mess in the future!

    Thanks for such an awesome post, lady!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Natasha! With the whole, pay-before-install thing, its kind of on a client by client basis. I can usually tell if they will be understanding of my request to pay beforehand. The logic I like to use is, you don’t pay for a sweater after you wear it, do you? :)

  2. Krysten says:

    My boyfriend has the Paypal debit card and LOVES it. It’s pretty darn handy!

  3. If you don’t have a Mac (which can happen :)), then instead of Billings, take a look at Traxmo, which is an online invoicing tool and time tracking tool. In fact, even if you DO have a Mac, take a look at Traxmo.

  4. Vanessa says:

    You should check out Pancake App. Super awesome for invoicing/estimating.

    I’ll have to look into getting a debit card w/ paypal. I hate waiting the 3 days for it to transfer to my bank! I want mah moneyz!

  5. Thanks for sharing this! I think I am going to check out Billings today.

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October 9, 2012 Geek Chic