Managing clients who pay for freelance writing online

I've said this earlier and I will say it again. Don't just be any online writer - Be a professional online writer by putting in place methods that will give you a professional edge over the rest
I've said this earlier and I will say it again. Don't just be any online writer - Be a professional online writer by putting in place methods that will give you a professional edge over the rest | Source

Whether you are being paid on a per word rate, per hour rate, per article or a fixed monthly rate, there is an easy way to keep a track of your earnings from your freelance writing work online. Here is a helpful step by step guide on how you can manage all your clients who pay for freelance writing in one simple Excel spreadsheet. And when the time comes to invoice your clients, this spreadsheet will be god sent.

Before we start

Here are a few basic assumptions that you should prepare for before we start going into the intricacies of how you are going to keep a track of your periodical progress.

  • Client A pays you a rate of $ x per word
  • Client B pays you $ x per hour
  • Client C pays you $ x per articles
  • Client D pays you $ x per month or a stipulated period

Open a new Excel spreadsheet and make 4 tabs for the 4 different clients and payment types that we are going to discuss. You can color code the tabs if you wish.

The 4 tabs for 4 clients that we look at in this article
The 4 tabs for 4 clients that we look at in this article | Source

1) Clients who pay a per word rate

If you are working with a client in ghostwriting capacity, you may be getting paid on a per word basis. This scenario is the most difficult when it comes to tracking your earnings from your freelance writing work if you don't have a proper method in place. The key is to tie all numeric data to one variable, which is the word count for all your submissions. Here's how.

  • You will need 4 basic columns namely Date, Topic, Word Count and Amount.
  • When you make your submission for your writing work, enter the date, the topic of submission and the word count. You can easily get the word count by simply opening the document in Microsoft Word and looking at the bottom left hand corner of your window where it will say "Words: xxx"
  • In column D, click on cell number D2 and type in the following, x being the rate per word that has been agreed upon.

=C2*x

Typing in the above formula in cell D2
Typing in the above formula in cell D2 | Source
  • The above formula will simply multiply the number of words in column C by the rate per word and give you a dollar value for the article.
  • For your next submission, simply enter the details again. For column D, simply click on cell D2 and click on the copy button or the keyboard shortcut ctrl+c. Then click on cell D3 and click on the paste button or the keyboard shortcut ctrl+v. Excel will automatically copy the formula that we had entered in D2 and paste it in D3, taking appropriate row for the calculations.
  • Once you have entered all the submissions for the period, say a month, you can simply put a total to the Amount column to get your total receivable for Client A for the month. Here's how.
  • Click on the cell just below the last number in the Amount column.

The highlighted cell where you need to click
The highlighted cell where you need to click | Source
  • Click on the Formula tab on the top of your Excel window and the click on AutoSum

The AutoSum function in Microsoft Excel 2007 under the Formulas tab
The AutoSum function in Microsoft Excel 2007 under the Formulas tab | Source
  • Your final spreadsheet for Client A should look like the one below. Once you are comfortable with managing your way through this spreadsheet, you can add you own column and formatting that appeals to you.

This is a snapshot of how your spreadsheet for Client A should look like. This is an actual screenshot of my spreadsheet for such a client for the 1st week of November 2011
This is a snapshot of how your spreadsheet for Client A should look like. This is an actual screenshot of my spreadsheet for such a client for the 1st week of November 2011 | Source

2) Clients who pay a per hour rate

Freelance writers can also work on an hourly basis. If you are one of them, here is a very effective method to maintain a log of the hours you spend writing for a client. All numeric data is tied to one simple variable, the number of hours. Everything else can be auto-filled, typed in or simply copied from the above cells.

  • You will need 4 basic columns namely Date, Topic, Hours and Amount
  • When you make your first submission, enter the date, the topic or the title of the submission, and the number of hours you spent writing it.
  • In column D, click on cell number D2 and type in the following, x being the rate per hour

=C2*x

A screenshot of how the above formula will look like in cell D2
A screenshot of how the above formula will look like in cell D2 | Source
  • The above formula will simply multiply the number of hours in column C by the rate per hour and give you a dollar value for the article.
  • Follow the same step that we did with Client A to copy the formula in D2 to D3 and repeat for all further entries.
  • Once you have made all entries for the period for Client B, put an AutoSum like we did above to get your total payable.
  • The final spreadsheet for your freelance writing work for Client B should look like the one below.

An actual screenshot of the spreadsheet that I maintain for a client who pays by the hour. You can add more columns to this spreadsheet if you want to do some analysis for a particular period.
An actual screenshot of the spreadsheet that I maintain for a client who pays by the hour. You can add more columns to this spreadsheet if you want to do some analysis for a particular period. | Source

3) Clients who pay a per article rate

If you are writing freelance for Client C who has agreed to pay you a fixed sum of money for each article or submission that you make, accounting for the same will be pretty straight forward.

  • Simple start with the 3 basic columns namely Date, Topic and Amount.
  • There are no formulas for this tab.
  • When you enter your data, you can manually type in the dollar value of each article as you go.
  • Your final spreadsheet for Client C should look like this.

A screenshot of one of my spreadsheets from the month of October 2011 wherein the Client had a per article payment agreement
A screenshot of one of my spreadsheets from the month of October 2011 wherein the Client had a per article payment agreement | Source

4) Clients who pay a fixed monthly rate

Clients who pay monthly or periodic rates to freelance writers are my favorites. Do you know why? Because this generally involves a long term commitment on a particular project. Typical projects involve working remotely as a part of a team involved in a website restructure, storyboards and more. There will be little reporting or accounting involved on the part of the freelancer because the work will be coordinated over conference calls and the payment is a fixed sum of money.

It is up to you whether you want to maintain a spreadsheet for Client D. Personally, I am a strong believer in keeping things organized whether it is keeping a track of monies or keeping a track of my writing ideas.

For client D you need only two columns namely Date and Topic. There will be no calculations or any formulas involved. The reason why maintaining the spreadsheet is important is because you can keep a track of all the documents that have gone back and forth. In case of a discrepancy later, you can simply refer to this spreadsheet and grab out the necessary files from their respective folders on your computer.

Advice for freelance writers

  • The above methods to account for your varied freelance writing work are simple and straightforward. Once you have the basic columns in place, you can tweak these spreadsheets and make use of Excel's extraordinary analytical tools.
  • These spreadsheets will be extremely helpful when it is time to do invoicing at end of month. Believe me, copy-pasting from one spreadsheet to another is much easier and quicker than flipping pages of a physical notepad.
  • Whether you are an established freelance writer or one who is still learning the ropes, it is great to have methods in place that will help you find more time to write.
  • If you have any questions regarding the same, feel free to ask. Click here for Princesswithapen's contact details.

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Comments 14 comments

nybride710 profile image

nybride710 5 years ago from Minnesota

Right now, I only work throught brokers and am paid on a per word basis. I keep track of my earnings per day per company and total them at the end of the month. If I eventually branch out into working for clients directly, the information you've presented will really come in handy.


family2010 profile image

family2010 5 years ago

Informative hub, but I kind of find it hard to earn money on any web site even with hub pages, it is a struggle to earn the first $$. Is it worth it to spend all the time for couple of cents?


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi Lisa

If you are being paid on a per word basis, you can use the first tab of this spreadsheet to keep a track of how much you are going to get paid. You can make a new tab in the same spreadsheet with the same layout for another company. At end of month, and this is what I do, you can simply add the totals of each tab to give you the sum total from each company. The whole idea behind this is to automate everything. All you need to do is set these sheets up once and then simply keep adding entries in the future and leave all the counting to Excel.

I hope you can use these tips once you start working for clients directly. Thanks heaps for reading and commenting.

Princesswithapen


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi family 2010

This spreadsheet is to maintain a log of your earning from freelance writing. As a freelance writer, you can be either working in ghostwriting capacity or a contributor to developing content for different clients. HubPages, on the other hand, is a platform where you can be the writer and publisher. A totally different ball game!

If you want to boost your earnings on HubPages, go through the forums and look for what other established hubbers have to say. I can see you are only 5 weeks in. Spend some more time and put in effort to create and publish articles that will bring in revenue.

If you are looking for immediate income, try taking up freelancing jobs. HubPages on the other hand is a long term approach to developing your own brand and building contacts, and friends for life.

I'm glad you found this hub informative. If there is anything I can help with, feel free to ask. HubPages is a warm community and you'll be surprised at how much you will get if you only ask.

Princesswithapen


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Awesome resource! I don't have any type of formal system for keeping track of my client work, but I don't have that much work either. If I expand in the future, I will consider a more organized system like this.


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi randomcreative

I'm glad you think that these tips are good resource. It means a lot coming from someone who is an established etsy seller and a freelancer. After all, we all have our own personalized methods in place to keep ourselves organized and up-to-date, don't we?

Thanks heaps for reading and commenting.

Princesswithapen


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Nice, this has been bookmarked!


cherylone profile image

cherylone 5 years ago from Connecticut

I love working with excel and you have given me several ideas on how to set things up and track earnings. Great Hub.


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Steph

I'm glad you liked it and thanks for bookmarking. I hope you find it extremely useful whenever you need it.

Princesswithapen


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi cheryl

Glad to meet a fellow excel fan. Isn't it amazing how many things excel can do for you? Excel will not only help you to track your earnings but also be a strong analysis tool. I'm glad if this hub gave you new ideas that can be useful to you. Thanks heaps for reading and commenting!

Princesswithapen


LoriSoard profile image

LoriSoard 5 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

I voted this up. This was such a helpful article. I use Excel spreadsheets already, but you gave me some really useful ideas for better tracking methods. Thanks!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi Lori

I'm glad this hub gave you a few ideas that you can implement in your own daily routine. Excel is a wonderful tool especially for online writers who need to keep a constant track variables like word count, hours spent, etc. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Princesswithapen


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Very clearly written and quite helpful. I wouldn't have known where to start. I once did some copy editing on an article for a college professor and we had a terrible time determining how to fairly handle compensation. Great Hub.


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

The format is really great ..very nice info ..Thanks for that

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