Your first freelance writing assignment is complete. You are published! After you share your piece with everyone you know and read it a million times over, there are some practical steps you should take after publication.
Hopefully, you are already keeping track of ideas, pitches, and assignments. So adding a few extra columns to your trusty Excel spreadsheet (or whatever your chosen platform) shouldn’t be too hard. You’ll want to keep track of a variety of things, including:
- Date Published
- The Link
- Date Invoiced
- Date Paid
If you’re looking for a submission/pitch tracking spreadsheet, I’ve got one available! Let me know if you need a copy.
Depending on the freelance guidelines, you’ll invoice at submission, upon publication, or at the end of the month. If you don’t know when to invoice, ask your editor! You’ll also want to review any information they’ve given you based on how you should invoice.
Some places use PayPal and want the invoice that way, others don’t care. Make sure you include this crucial information on your invoice, no matter the program you use.
For the record, up until Jan 1st of this year, I used a free program called Wave for my invoices. I downloaded each one as a PDF and sent from my regular email address. In 2018, I switched to QuickBooks Self-Employed in a further effort to keep things all in one place.
Make a copy
In a perfect world, you’d be able to pull up the piece you’re looking to share or reference with just a few clicks. And it would stay on the website forever. But, things happen and you’ll want to ensure you don’t ever lose the work. There are two ways you should do this.
- Put the link in your spreadsheet. Copy and paste that link right next to the place you documented your assignment date and the amount you are getting paid. Make no mistake, you’ll want to use it and it’s nice to have it all in one place.
- Make a PDF of it. This especially applies to print pieces but is good practice for digital as well. My preferred technique for digital pieces is to “Print to PDF” and then save it as the publication, title, and date. Have a folder full of these and just keep tossing articles in there. For print pieces, you can scan them in using your all-in-one printer, or use a program like Google Photos.
Add it to a portfolio
Now that you have copies of your amazing work, it’s time to do something with them. There are quite a few online portfolio options, and they all have benefits, but the biggest reason to have a portfolio is to get more work! I use Contently, which has grown and changed over the years, involving a bit more steps to upload, but for good reasons. You could also simply host a bank of links on a website, or plug things into a template.
All of these steps will become second nature to you as you continue to freelance. Frequently they can become overwhelming, but they are all important. You can start by doing them after each piece is published, or you can do them in batches on chosen days.
What other questions do you have about the freelance writing process?