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How to avoid not-getting-paid situations

2017-09-28 | ALL, Guide | No Comments

How to avoid not-getting-paid situations

It happened to all of us. It does not matter if you are a freelancer or running a small business. We all have come in a situation to face clients that are not paying or being late with payments. In order to run a successful business and protect your cash flow if you are a freelancer, each of us has to have a strict organization in the client communication.

Here are several rules you must do in order to avoid not-getting-paid situations:

  1. Add Payment Terms and Project specifications in writing – either in the agreement contract or in each invoice to make sure the client is informed
  2. Research the client before you start working with him/her – do a simple google search and check out the client and potential reviews about that company or person online. You can check reviews on Google, Upwork, Linkedin or even Twitter.
  3. Have a paper trail: Email your client and ask them when you can expect the payment. Keep things professional and don’t sound too desperate. For me personally, it said: “We will pay on Monday” (it was Thursday).
  4. Follow-up: Wait a few days and send another email. If you have a good relationship with your client, consider an emotional approach. My client was communicating with me about recurring tasks every day so I waited and reminded him at the end of each day continuously for two weeks. The answer was always “We will send it tomorrow”.
  5. Do things automatically. Use software to send invoices, reminders to clients and notifications if the invoice is paid or not. That will keep you organized and you will not worry if you will forget that client or payment.
  6. Communicate, communicate – email, chat or even a short phone call can take you closer to getting paid. Just keep in mind to leave the emotions at home and stay professional.

Keep yourself organized from start to finish will make you a better professional, will create a better image in front of your current and potential clients and will get you paid on time. That way you will protect your cash flow and your business.


Every year freelancing culture is spreading and more people want to be part of it.

People want to have a control over their time, flexibility and money. Also if you’ve listened to the successful examples in your circle, it seems like, becoming a highly paid freelancer is like taking a candy from a baby. Isn’t it?

Assuming that you’ve already decided to leave your full-time job, you better gear up and start planning. Landing your first gig might not be as fast and easy as you’re thinking.

Therefore before you start searching for a gig there are several steps you need to wrap up in order to leave a positive impression when pitching to your potential clients.

1. Polish your freelancing portfolio

First of all, I would recommend to ditch your classic CV and to create a personal website or a modernistic offline version of your portfolio.

Especially relevant is that your portfolio should be focused on your best performing services. Focus on the two to three services where you are best at.

Let’s have a look at Sean Halpin’s personal website. He clearly states that he focus on minimalist design, typography and content. If a potential client visits his page, he will understand what this guy can do and if those services are of value for him.



After the initial introduction, if the potential client is interested in Sean’s professional working experience, he can see the actual projects on his portfolio page.

2. Learn more about the client you are going to pitch to



“Try to sell your skills” is often misunderstood with “try to produce business value with your skills”. I’ve seen this numerous times when trying to find a professional to collaborate on a project.

Let’s try with an example:


A client asks for a CRM solution

We are looking forward to creating a clean CRM app designed for sales professionals in mind;

And we believe that our CRM should enable a sales professional to easily and intuitively manage their contacts, contracts, and events.

Our CRM app will be a handgun for salesmen.


Ineffective pitch by a freelancer:



Hope this mail finds you in best of your health!

My name is John, from London. I offer development solutions for Mobile and Web using agile methodology.

I am experienced in cutting edge technologies like Angular.js, Backbone.js, Node.js, .Net, PHP (CMS), HTML5, Python, Magento, Ruby on Rails for web development, Responsive designs, E-commerce etc.

I can work with you Full/Part time/Hourly Basis.

I’d be happy to send you details of the past work and assure you best services at affordable prices. I am happy to assist you as your dedicated backend technology partner.

Looking forward to speak with you.


Why this type of communication is ineffective in the first place? Looking at it we can identify the following flaws:

  • This freelancer clearly ignores the initial request which is a need for a CRM application;
  • He focus on his skills rather on the delivery and his experience in delivering CRM applications;
  • Laying out too many details to start with:
    • Technologies;
    • Working methodologies;
    • Full/Part-time/Hourly Basis;
    • Price;
  • The communication ends without any action point to be taken. What will be the next move after this email?


Effective pitch by a freelancer:


Hi Peter,

My name is John, a developer from London. I’ve seen your project and I would like to collaborate with you on delivering the simple and intuitive CRM.

As one of the developers of Highrise – Simple CRM for small business, I have the opportunity to understand the client’s needs. I believe that we can use the feedback to create a simple and intuitive CRM.

If you are available, I would like to schedule a call on Thursday at 12:00 to learn more about the project.

Kindest regards,



What makes this communication effective? Let’s have a look:

  • The freelancers states that he has knowledge and expertise in the domain;
  • He focus on the business value to deliver a simple and intuitive CRM solution;
  • Keeping it straight to the point:
    • Simple and short messaging;
    • Understands what is important to the client;
  • He asks the potential client for a meeting. – The ball is passed to the client.

3. Before the meeting



You’ve got a positive reply from your client. The meeting is scheduled. – Hooray!

First of all, a good meeting always starts with an agenda. Before you start make sure you write down all of the different topics you want to discuss with your client.

In addition, a good meeting agenda should cover the following topics:

  • Analyze their competitors to understand your client’s direction;
  • Proper Introduction – Tell your part of the story and listen to their part of the story;
  • Discussing the project – Lean about the project itself; Learn about the business priorities; Understand how you can help them with the execution; Find out the extra step that you can take to make them feel special;
  • Discuss the project timelines – Try to find out when they plan to start and if the timelines are realistic enough;
  • Discuss the budget – Don’t be afraid to ask about the estimated budget. Estimated budget might not be the final one;
  • Propose a date to send them an estimate, required budget, and a timeline;

Finally, the action point of the meeting should get you all of the answers for you to be able to create an estimate. If there are different variables that you require for your estimation, don’t forget to put them on the meeting agenda.

4. Preparing an estimate



Most noteworthy to be able to understand the workload, you need to translate the project into numbers. This means that you will need to calculate the amount of work required for you to deliver the project.

The question is how you can create this estimate?

Creating an estimate consists of two parts:

  • Identifying the action items(tasks) that we need to do for a goal to be reached;
  • How much time it will take for a task to be completed in the different phases of the project;

For example in software development, you need to consider the time required for every task in a different phase:

  • Analysis;
  • Design;
  • Development;
  • Testing;
  • Feedback;
  • Polishing and Cleaning;
  • Deployment;

If you are interested to learn more about how to prepare an estimate and reach your goals, check my blog post Time management – What high achievers want you to know.

When you will feel ready, communicate your estimate with your client. You should clearly specify the timeline, the team (if any) and the budget;

Don’t forget to ask for a second meeting to discuss the details and to close the deal.

5. Closing the deal



You’ve got a reply with confirmation for the meeting. Gear up and get ready for it. There are some action items that you will need to consider before the meeting takes place.

Action items:

  • Show appreciation for time to discuss so far;
  • Ask them about their view on the estimation;
    • Discuss the timelines;
    • Agree about the budget;
    • Talk about the future;
  • Once they agree on your estimate, you should agree on the following:
    • Signing up an agreement;
    • Agree on how you are going to get paid:
      • 30% before the project starts;
      • 50% after 80% of the project is completed;
      • 20% after the final delivery;
    • Discuss the responsibilities;
    • Communicate about the guaranty of the delivery;
    • Project start date;
    • Discuss what are your requirements before the project starts:
      • Requirement specification;
      • Design;
      • Meetings schedules;
      • Feedback schedules;
      • Retrospective meetings schedules;
      • The person responsible for the project;
      • The person responsible for your payments;

In conclusion, make sure that all corners are covered so there are no surprises from both sides. Both you and your client should be happy.

Close this meeting with an action item for you to prepare a document on how the collaboration would work. Make sure you invest your time into educating your clients about the way you work and how your process will have a positive effect on the collaboration.

If there is a positive energy and ambient and an agreement has officially been made, congrats on landing your gig. Send a thank you email and start planning with success in mind.


As freelancers, it is expected to care most about finding and signing a contract which is going to pay the bills. Speaking of which, freelancers got to the usual routine: register at Upwork, Freelancer or similar job searching sites, find a job and start earning. – most of all beginning of the comfort zone.

We’ve discussed with our friends, who has been freelancing for years, about how they are invoicing their clients and we were surprised by the results.

To sum it up in one response: “Upwork/Freelancers/Any similar site handles that for me” – was the common answer.

As a result of their feedback, I decided to write this post. Let’s start…



1. It is all about credibility

First, of all swimming with the sharks requires you to take your correspondence to next level. If you work as a freelancer for a company it is most likely that the company will require your invoice for its accounting to justify their expenses. Therefore having a front face before the client, will tell your clients about your level of professionalism.

2. Easier for your clients to find you

Another fact is that if your clients’ need similar services in the future they can easily compare the prices between different freelancers to compare rates and expenses. – Therefore a decision to hire you again can be easily made.

3. Understand your financial conditions

Keep your friends close but your financial situation closer. You have to understand how much you earn and what type of work is most profitable for you.

Most of all invoicing means asking for payment. Also, it will help you to understand how much you’ve earned, paid and you are due to your customers.

4. Refer to your invoice if it hasn’t being paid

Furthermore, your client can find the invoice by its unique number and check the status.

5. Respect your law

Because of the fact that in some countries, it is illegal to work without invoicing, you can to justify your income.

Your effort to create an invoice will have a positive effect on your brand. Keep your invoicing simple and branded.

Find your most financially lucrative freelance services

As freelance professionals, we are best at a limited number of freelance services we are offering. As such we should focus on what we do best. And what is most financially lucrative for us.

The question to be asked is “How do we know what is most financially lucrative service we can offer?”. Speaking of it, we can easily answer this question. If we look at our financial details in the past years.

Selling logos has brought us more financials. That means we should put our focus creating logos instead of focusing on low-income jobs.

If you feel that you can contribute to our collections with your blog posts or some other blogs worth sharing. Feel free to reach out via our in-app messenger or on reachout@envoice.in.

How to handle customers who won’t pay

If you’ve ever found yourself in such situation with your customers. Don’t worry there are several things you can try to get paid.

  1. Offer your customers to pay their due in several payments;
  2. For the hard nuts – call them daily;
  3. Try to understand the reason behind that behavior;
  4. If you’ve signed a legal document, discuss with your lawyer;
  5. Ditch the client if the amount is insignificant – your health is your priority;

If you feel that you can contribute to our collections with your blog posts or some other blogs worth sharing. Feel free to reach out via our in-app messenger or on reachout@envoice.in.

How to increase your earnings from less paying customers

We all have had some less paying customers who just wanted a small portion of work to be done. A fix here and there.  Some color changes, small copy changes on the landing page.

Those gigs can have a hidden potential and we should try to get from them as much as possible.

First of all, we should schedule a meeting with our client. To understand his vision about whatever he is trying to build. After we have this meeting we will have a better understanding of our client’s business.

Furthermore, if you’ve been paid to do some small UI changes, you can offer your client service to assess his current user experience. And to improve over what he has at the moment.

Basically, the idea is to understand his business and offer your services to help your client out.

If you feel that you can contribute to our collections with your blog posts or some other blogs worth sharing, feel free to reach out via our in-app messenger or on reachout@envoice.in.

7 ways to thank your top customers

As successful freelancers, we have to maintain good relations with our top customers. This will help us to bring our relation to the next level and to improve our collaboration.

There are many ways to say thank you.

Write a thank you note;

  • Invite your customers over for a dinner;
  • Send them a gift – People do like books;
  • Praise them on your social media channels;
  • Send them a treat;
  • Give them a discount;
  • Send them a swag;

If you feel that you can contribute to our collections with your blog posts or some other blogs worth sharing, feel free to reach out via our in-app messenger or on reachout@envoice.in.


As professionals we believe that we need to educate ourselves daily and each time to learn something new. Expanding our knowledge will help us to become better and more efficient at our work. Becoming a better professional is our duty.

In Envoice we have collections, like those on Product Hunt, crafted by our community, which will help you to learn more about a certain topic.

Together with our community, we’ve prepared several collections for you to start with:

  • Tutorials and how to’s;
  • Clients & Gigs;
  • Managing projects;
  • Leading teams;
  • Brand development;
  • Productivity;
  • Communication skills;
  • Learning skills;
  • Managing finances;
  • Legal;
  • Community;
  • Member stories;
  • Featured;
  • Life & Fun;

If you feel that you can contribute to our collections with your blog posts or some other blogs worth sharing, feel free to reach out via our in-app messenger or on reachout@envoice.in.

Stay in the loop with the Action Center

In Envoice we have several ways to inform you about your latest activities regarding your invoices. In case you’ve missed out our emails and SMS messages, you can always return to the action center to find out the latest activities for all of your invoices.

You will be notified of the following events when an invoice has been:

  • Created;
  • Set as draft;
  • Duplicated;
  • Sent to the client via email;
  • Sent to the client via SMS;
  • Sent to you via email;
  • Sent to you via SMS;
  • Opened by the client;
  • Viewed by the client;
  • Rejected by your client;
  • Updated;
  • Marked by you or paid by your client;
  • Marked as unpaid by you;
  • Marked as overdue;
  • Paid on PayPal;
  • Paid on Stripe;
  • Sent to your accountant;
  • Downloaded as PDF by your client;

If you’ve already got exhausted from reading the list, don’t worry you will learn them on the way. You just need to focus on your business and let us do the rest.

Rule number 1 to have a flawless collaboration with your accountants

Accountants are one of the most important professionals you will want to have on your side.

They are the ones who handle your finances, calculate your taxes and creating financial cards. Or in other words taking care of your numbers and how your business is doing.

As such it is of big importance to keep them in the loop, notified about your earnings and expenses.

If you are a type of person who forgets to send his invoices on regular basis now that can all be changed with Envoice. Select your invoice and click send to the accountant.

Make your accountant happy and updated.