I talked with my writing students today about making a living as a creative professional. As part of my lecture, I solicited advice from freelancer friends (i.e. friends who freelance, not freelancers who I pay to be my friends) on Twitter -- and shared what they had to say. I edited Jake's advice because he used the f-word.
From @costa_kout -- "Always remember that 'time off'/vacation time means sacrifice. Whether time in doing work to cover for it...(cont'd) ...but also in income that's missed from the work you don't work on and do."
From @TreyGarrison -- "Have a day job."
From @skleefeld -- "Would 'OHDEARGODDONTDOITRUNAWAYRUNAWAY!!!!!' be too cynical? :)"
From @amboy00 -- "Serious clients will pay you."
From @VinhLuanLuu -- "Get paid in stages: either a deposit with rest on delivery or broken up into payments per draft/revision." "Be prompt and communicate; any industry is smaller than you think and word gets around pretty quick."
From @carissa -- "Be fair and friendly to everyone. You never know who your clients will turn out to be. Keep $ books organized."
From @kenlowery -- "Meet your deadlines. Be polite and available. Keep your invoices filed meticulously and DO NOT be afraid to follow up on them." "No one ever wants to pay out money, so it's highly likely they WON'T pay until you DO bug them about it. But: politely."
From @warlick -- "Always have a contract. Always get a deposit up front. Have a kill fee. Have a late fee. You CAN fire clients. Be polite."
From @markwalters74 -- "never sell yourself short on freelance jobs, or you'll set a precedent that's almost impossible to break."
From @ryancody -- "Try to get paid up front. If possible."