Tag Archives: freelance payment

Freelance Income Diversification – Now Easier With Square

Square Payments by iPhoneby Joe Wallace

For a couple of years now, I’ve been supplementing my freelance income–diversifying my income portfolio, you might say–by selling vinyl records, custom silkscreened tees and other fun things. I sell hard-to-find records on Discogs.com, eBay and at conventions like Flashback Weekend, Cinema Wasteland and elsewhere.

Basically, I wake up, work all my freelance clients by day, and transition into the selling after the day’s work is done.

Lots of my fellow freelancer friends do this on Etsy, eBay, etc. But now the income diversification game just got a whole lot easier–especially for people doing book tours, conventions, in-person speaking engagements, anything a freelancer might do to train, teach or sell.

Square is a credit/debit card reader which plugs into the audio port of an iPhone or Android. There is no monthly fee to sign up, the reader is free, and Square takes a small percentage of each sale as the fee for using the service. In short, you can accept credit cards or debit cards (as credit cards) anywhere you have a cell phone signal.

I just received mine and will be using it at my vinyl record booth at an upcoming convention. But Square has much more potential than just selling crafts, t-shirts, vinyl or other merchandise. Imagine what would happen if you showed up for your next teaching gig “Freelance Writing 101” with the ability to collect your teaching fee right then and there? Or sell your latest set of teaching materials for that class? Or sell a promotional tee for your blog?

You could take Square with you to the workplace–imagine being able to offer a client the option to pay you on-site with a company credit card the next time you are asked to do a consultancy, training, or team building. Fiction writers can benefit, too–try taking a book tour to a local convention and selling your book with Square. No need to go cash-only.

There are too many creative things you could do with this portable credit card reader–which even accepts Amex and Discover at no additional fees–to boost your freelance income. The possibilities? Endless.

Freelancer Fee Convergence

book and script editor for hire Joe Wallaceby Joe Wallace

One day, science will explain that curious phenomenon I like to call “freelancer fee convergence,” which is where you go ages and ages without getting paid and then suddenly all of your checks show up at once.

This seems to happen not only to me, but to nearly every freelancer I know. Checks are late being paid, getting later all the time, the rent is due, your laundry is piling up for want of a stack of quarters, and you just sent off a new round of invoices to clients you don’t expect to pay up for at least 60 days.

Then suddenly, the late clients pay up, the new clients pay early, and you’re sitting on a small fortune.

I love feeling like a wanna-be Donald Trump (a Trump-a-be?) when I go to the bank on days like that…depositing that little pot of gold that showed up in your mailbox is a great feeling. But there’s got to be a better feeling than the one you had just the day BEFORE the mail carrier flooded your mailbox with Benjamins. That sinking feeling that you’ll be painting houses for your landlord soon, or perhaps doing a first draft on your cardboard sign.

What I want to know is, how do all the clients know to stick the check in the mail on THAT DAY so they all wind up coming at once? Is it some kind of spider-sense tingly feeling they all get? Or is there some supernatural wispy thing muttering into their ears? “Sssssennd it noooowwwwwwwwww”

Whatever the case, the mood swings from financial terror to cash flow ecstasy are a little wearying, no?

Joe Wallace is a freelance editor and writer. He’s currently editing two book projects for confidential clients and accepting new projects on a limited basis. Contact him at jwallace (at) freelance-zone (dotcom).

Burned! The Awful Truth About the Rotten Economy and Print Mags

This is a new one for me. A while back I landed a nice assignment writing for a buck-a-word health magazine. I was excited because the payoff was nice, the market is one I’ve been trying to get more clips in and it was based on research I’d already done. In short, an easy score for yours truly.

There were a couple of revisions and when the piece was finally done, I got wrapped up in other work and wound up sending the invoice out a bit later than I should have. No worries though, it happens all the time in the print world. Sometimes the accountant is a bit late cutting your check, and sometimes you get so caught up in other deadlines that you get delayed getting one into the post–especially when it’s outside your normal billing schedule. I fired off the invoice and forgot all about it.

Until today, when an official-looking piece of snail mail showed up warning me of bankruptcy proceedings for the magazine I’d done the work for. Now I was double-screwed. I lost a nice paycheck AND a repeat market for my work in a new topic. Damn it all.

The moral of this story in our sad economy is obvious. Invoice the second you get the piece approved. You never know when your favorite print publisher is going to go belly up. In the case of THIS particular publisher, it wasn’t so much a case of “belly up” as it was “eaten by zombies”. You get the picture.

I will never fail to invoice immediately again. So says I.