Pay keen attention to this exercise. It’s simple, if you want creative freedom you need to get paid.
I once coached a filmmaker who was complaining that he was getting work but he was not getting paid.
So I asked, “Do you send your clients invoices?” His response, “No.”
“So, why don’t you try it?”
Asking for payment, in writing, is a business practice that you must employ if you expect to get paid, particularly with your small business clients.
You have all received invoices. Pick one and copy the elements that make sense to you.
- the date of the invoice
- how much is owed
- what they are paying for
- when payment is due
- form of payment: credit cards, PayPal, checks, cash
Of course, you have already outlined all of your business and payment terms in your agreement and you and your customer have had a very clear conversation about the terms and delivery. So when their invoice arrives there will be no surprises.
I like to reiterate the terms of the agreement on the invoice itself and state that “payment of this invoice confirms your acceptance of the terms outlined above.”
Your job is to determine who owes you money and to make sure you have sent them an invoice or a request for payment. If you have not, then you get two lashes with a wet noodle. What are you doing?!
You must follow up in a timely and systematic manner.
So back to the moral of the story. This young filmmaker created an invoice template, he sent invoices to clients who owed him money with a due date, and guess what? He got paid.
This filmmaker’s clients were businesses. Their accounting departments need to receive an invoice to trigger payment. Yet he was taking it personally and getting all frustrated. It was simply a lack of communication and understanding of basic business protocol. But they don’t teach you this stuff in film school.
So if you have your knickers in a twist about not getting paid you have to ask yourself:
- Have I clearly communicated how, when, and what I am expecting to be paid for?
- Did I have a clear conversation about this?
- Does my invoice reflect the conversation?
- When did I send the invoice?
If you don’t receive your payment then call with a gentle reminder. Don’t assume that you are being blown off. If you have to, turn up the heat gradually.
If you honor your commitments and your communication is clear most people will honor theirs.