How billing upfront as a freelancer saves you $3,000+ per year

So I’m in the freelancing and online business game for more than a decade. Same as everyone else, I started as a rookie, making the same rookie mistakes, which were then reflected in my monthly earnings (or absence of them). A typical mistake is starting the work without receiving payment from the client. I’ll show you how doing this will cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. And yes, I have the exact numbers.

Personally, for projects under $1,000, I require 100% of the payment upfront. For bigger projects, I define milestones with the client and the payments arrive in chunks, but are still paid in advance.


Productive Hour – The Answer To How to Track Your Freelance Time

For me, a Productive Hour means 60 minutes of uninterrupted deep work with a full focus on the given task. If I’m interrupted or just pause (answering team mate’s question, lunch, etc), then I’m stopping the timer for this task and track it as a “not-productive” time. My daily average for development is around 4.5 productive hours and I can push myself to do 8 – 9 hours when doing a less mentally demanding activity.

Immediate benefits of using the productive hour for tracking your work

Normalization and objectivity – now you have a unit which can be compared (for previous days/weeks, or with different persons), you can measure your productivity and figure out ways to improve (earn more money).

Effectiveness – new KPI – I track “non-productive” time as well. So, I can introduce these metrics:

  • Time in the office = productive time + not productive time
  • Effectiveness of work = productive time / Time in the office

My average productivity is 76%. This means, during 1 hour spent in the office, I’m productive for 45.6 minutes. I can use this information in multiple ways:

  • I can optimize my productivity, so I work 50 minutes instead of 45.6.
    • By being roughly 9% more effective, in theory, my income could be higher
  • I can track the influence of my behavior on my effectiveness. There are various things which can impact on this, such as; sport, meditation, ketogenic diet, drinking coffee, green tea, nootropics, consumption of alcohol and partying etc.

About the Author

Hi! My name is Tom Herudek and I am full-stack WordPress developer for hire.
Learn more