December 5th, 2018.

For all the freedom that being a business owner brings, being paid late is one of the most disempowering and dispiriting things about self-employment. SMEs in the UK are paid on average 21 days late, which has an effect on cash flow, financial freedom, and in some cases even mental health.

According to recent research carried out by IPSE and Sherpa, nine in ten self-employed people said they worry, at least occasionally, about their financial situation. A third said that these worries caused them to lose sleep (34 per cent) and experience lack of confidence (33 per cent).

I have been self-employed for many years and I firmly believe it’s time to take the situation back into our hands. Remember that you set the invoice terms, and with some clever cashflow management, you can help yourself to get paid promptly.

1. Invoice in advance if at all possible

Even though the legal payment terms for business are 60 days after work is completed, it is always worth making the case for upfront payment. In case that is not possible, or if it’s more palatable to the client, you could try to ask for half of the payment up front before any work is done. Or, you could even try to negotiate a discount by asking for all the payment up front.

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