Freelancers | Life on the Hanging Thread

This has nothing to do with my hormonal pregnancy rants but something that i've been wanting to bring up for a long time now. Some might say that this is a sensitive issue and best be kept hushed but as a victim of delayed payments (like all the freelancers in the world), i feel that voicing out is a necessity.




Everyday is a question of how am i getting through the week with barely $5 in my pocket, day after day of numerous chasing that turns to begging but our desperation is turned to deaf ears by all these unethical companies, especially large ones.
We are humans too who need to eat, pay rent, basically we need money in order to survive in this world. Never a day we can go without rationing our expenditure, making sure it lasts us long enough till the next pack check comes in. I know this feeling all too well as i too have struggled my fair share of being a full time freelancer thinking it would give me the flexibility to pursue my dream and build my portfolio as a fashion designer. But after 12 months that all ended because realistically it is just not sustainable especially for my line in Malaysia, in between i had to do so many odd jobs just to stay afloat but there are some fields like "talents" there is usually a demand for them.
No matter how many gigs you are booked day and night, 365 days a year and that doesn't mean shit if you can't even pay your rent at ease every end of the month because your payments are always on the "pending phase".

I am glad to have a full time job right now so payments from freelance gigs became the least of my concerns as long I'm paid accordingly but how about the rest who still relies on them as their main source of income?

Excuses after excuses, we can't blame the middleman at times as well because they are just doing their job by being the bridge between the client and us freelancers, so never did they expect to be dragged into such shits as well (though they know there are such risks) and this all goes back to the MAIN source of everyone's problems. UNETHICAL COMPANIES.
If you are reading this and so happen to work for a company that pulls this shit on innocent people, please grow some guts and bring this problem up during your office meetings. It could save you guys the unwanted backlash (like being sued) near future and heck even get a promotion for taking responsibility like a proper worker bringing up concerning topics that would benefit the company rather than a slave who just nods their head at everything throw to them.

It's frustrating, for EVERYBODY. No one likes to be hounded left and right, so does the ones that are doing the hounding, they do not want to resort to this method but you left them with no choice. Freelancing industry is indeed a grey area, you aren't exactly an official worker but yet you are being paid a fixed labor fee for every odd jobscope engaged for but getting the money into your bank is another story. Most freelancers encountered their fair share of clients who refuses to pay them as promised, those are the ones we wished their company would just burn to the ground along with the owner. Because of people like them that was where i developed "trust issues" with people who want to engage any of my services, like the saying goes- "once bitten, twice shy"
And being an independent freelancer not tied down to any agency, i realized vulnerable i am to the claws of these scoundrels as every job opportunity that comes to us is somewhat a "blessing" but half the time turns out to be nothing but disappointments because of delayed payments or client decides to play that "Ï've changed my mind"card halfway through the project wtf. So i found it necessary to take precautions to protect myself from these by coming out with proper B&W contracts, invoices, quotation which can be used as evidence against the party that has breached their agreement.

It's also important to always DEMAND (it's your rights) a 50% payment upfront before the job starts and the other 50% after the job is completed within 30-60 days (not more) unless it was stated from the start that payment duration is longer than usual company practices as some of them depend on their finance team overseas to issue out payments.
But for local companies, i don't see a reason for them to drag on payments longer than 90 days and giving bullshit like so many channels to go through, etc. Hello, to the freelancers you have hired this payment is their bread and butter, without it how are they going to survive? It's not to say the amount is huge like billions, it's just couple of hundred bucks yet it can drag on this long :-/

There's been so many cases of mine where client takes up to 1 year to pay, so imagine the amount of chasing i had to do just to get my payment and that's not proper. I've done my side of the job in a timely manner as well, so why can't you guys so the same with payments? Where's the logic?

But going through middleman (aka agents) we assume (biggest mistake was to assume) that we are protected by their company as payments and chasing will be done by them since they are already getting a cut from it anyways but when shit hits the fan like they did not ask for the 50% payment upfront, that's when both middleman & talents are left on the hanging edge because their client is taking their own sweet time to pay up.
I'm not going to reveal the name of these parties, but for those reading this and know what i am talking about, i'll leave the rest up to you on how you want to interpret the rest of the story as i am going to remain neutral in this situation despite being annoyed.
The middleman can't pay us from their own pockets first because their company doesn't have the money to do so (according to internal source) so the talents are left with no choice but to wait for god knows how long and none of them can do a thing since our first mistake is not asking for a B&W from the middleman.

So much for doing jobs based on "mutual trusts"and being taken advantage of.

Huge lesson learnt from this, jobs are job and don't bother using the friendship/ trust card when it comes to business. People always think that coming in as "friends" you are doing them a favor with these paid gigs but don't be shallow and please look further like how these things can easily ruin your friendships and trusts. Unless you are willing to risk all of that please make sure to get every loophole covered while at it because none of us want our friendship to be ruined over something like money.


NOTES FOR FREELANCERS/ TALENTS
  1. Register your own company, pay SSM RM60 a year to make your freelance services legal, and don't worry about having to pay GST charges as you aren't earning billions in a year with your small side projects.
  2. Always prepare a B&W, make sure it states the jobscope that you are engaged to do (not more/less) with your basic terms & agreement like payment duration (30-60 days- make sure to discuss with your client on a comfortable arrangement for both parties to honor)
  3. Issue out official Quotation, make sure this is signed so that they don't try to haggle the pricing after the job is done.
  4. Before starting a job, always issue out an invoice stating that 50% of payment is needed to secure your services. So make sure that 50% is in before doing anything.
  5. Always complete your jobs according to the time frame given as clients are paying you.
  6. Once job is done, issue out the 2nd invoice for the other half of the agreed payment and send them gentle reminder one week before the deadline of the payment duration.
  7. If things get out of hand, there's always solid proof to make this a legal case.

Despite having so many unpleasant experience in all my life freelancing, there are a handful of jobs that i am very grateful for as the clients are such understanding and professional people who at least make sure everything goes according to plan with no delays (especially payment) and if there are unforeseen circumstances they would have the COURTESY to notify me, never once i had to chase them and that is how it should be by right. Just because you are an outsourced to do the odd jobs by companies doesn't mean they can treat you like garbage rats, heck our services are considered valuable too just like any other white collared jobs except we work at the comforts of our home.
It's hard to find good clients, so i am thankful when i do come across some, this also shows that not all are bad it's just a handful of rotten people that tarnishes the industry. We can't purge them from the face of the earth but the least we can do avoid them at all costs and try to warn other as well.
Now with social media, it's easy for one to share information and news, so use those to create necessary awareness and not spread rumors.

Life goes on for us, we all have struggles but having to chase for payments shouldn't be one of it.Don't you agree?

Share this post if you feel that you have been taken advantage off as a freelancer or know friends who are currently facing such problems as well.
Let me know your thoughts below regarding this topic, or how you overcome dealing with clients like these that might come in handy for others.


OUT OF TOPIC:

On a side note, can't believe i am almost reaching 28 weeks (3rd trimester) and i can't see my crotch anymore lol and soon my feet. Lil Parasite is a real jumpy one, and it's no joke when they say that pregnancy is exhausting :(

Just sitting down and getting up is a feat itself already, plus i'm constantly sleepy but all those i'll be sharing in another upcoming post about pregnancy. It ain't all about pregnancy glows and glorious food, it's more than it meets the eye but i'm not trying to scare people away with all the horrors of being an expecting mom lol take that upcoming post as a way to mentally prepare yourself for what is coming if you have been planning to get a kid.
Make sure to Subscribe to get notified! :)




XOXO,

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