Do you know if you have enough money to get through the month? Are you getting paid for your work in a timely fashion so that you can cover your expenses when they come due?
Guest blogger Jason McCoy walks us through how to keep cash flow positive in your voice-over business in today’s Vox Daily.
Cash Flow Management Tips for Independent Voice Over Artists
As independent voice over artists, we’re self-employed and reliant on ourselves to keep our cash flow buoyant and our bank balances healthy. Unlike the big corporations, we don’t have a crack team of accounts receivable ninjas to make sure we get paid on time, and that’s usually the weakest point when it comes to managing cash flow.
Working though Voices.com gives you the benefit of escrow in the SurePay payment service, meaning getting paid is easy and guaranteed. But what about direct clients?
Throughout my career I’ve built up a robust process for managing my cash flow, so I wanted to share some top tips with you. Whether you’re just starting out on your own, or an established voice over artist, it’s always helpful to re-visit your own processes.
1. Set Your Payment Terms
Whatever your payment terms are, from immediate on invoice to 60 days, you need to have them set, and more than that, you need to make sure you communicate them to your clients!
If they’re not specifically set out in your contract, make sure your client agrees to them in advance, because they’ll quite often have their own default terms they’ll fall back on. It’s too late after you’ve completed their project to say you expect payment to 15 day terms if they’re only willing to pay to 30 days.
Knowing when to expect money to come in is crucial for maintaining a healthy cash flow. After all, you have to pay your own bills and expenses!
2. Invoice Immediately
Your client is going to put much more of a priority on paying your invoice if they receive it while your amazing work is still fresh in their mind.
Of course there are always going to be star clients who would pay immediately however late they received your invoice, and other, not so star clients who would take their own sweet time paying an invoice no matter how promptly it was received – but in general, the sooner you invoice after a project, the more likely it is to be paid in a timely fashion.
3. Keep Lines of Communication Open
If you haven’t received a payment, don’t sit quietly getting more and more annoyed, get in touch with the client straight away. There could be a number of reasons why they haven’t paid to terms, perhaps they forgot and need a reminder, perhaps they’ve sent a check and it hasn’t arrived yet, perhaps they’re having issues and just haven’t got round to it yet.
Don’t forget that they might not even have received your invoice (it does happen), so a quick call or email checking in case they have a problem is often all that’s needed.
Having a conversation about why a payment is late can feel slightly awkward at first, but it’s often the best way to get that dialogue started and get that money in!
4. Plan for the Worst
I hope it never happens to you, but sometimes you get a client that just won’t pay, and if and when that time comes, you need a procedure in place for collecting that debt. It may be that you use a debt collection agency or choose the small claims court route. Whatever you decide, make sure that you fully understand the specific state and federal laws and legislations before you start.
Working for yourself in any capacity is so rewarding, and it’s always important to remember that you’re running a business. Keeping on top of your cash flow might not be your favorite task, but it’s worth it for that extra peace of mind.
How Do You Keep Your Business’ Cash Flow Healthy?
Be sure to let me know in a comment!
ABOUT JASON McCOY
Jason McCoy has been a voice over talent for 15+ years and a Voices.com member since 2006. His voice has been used on projects for Dell, Walmart, Honda and many more. He specializes in voicing explainer marketing videos and corporate narration.
Listen to Jason’s demos or check out his blog for guides and resources on topics related to voice over.