financeMore and more people working side hustles and moving into freelancing. It is expected that the number of people that identify themselves as self-employed will increase by 300% over the next two years. It is important for new freelancers to change their mindset from that of an employee to that of an employer. That means remembering to watch things like contracts, cash flow, and returns.

One of the most stressful things about being self-employed is managing your cash flow. It’s especially difficult if clients don’t pay you on time. You can avoid most problems by putting a contract in place before you start an assignment. Don’t believe a handshake will suffice, even if you’re working with friends. Informal agreements are the source of almost every payment problem, so be sure the scope of the project, the payment terms, and the expectations for both sides are written down. For small projects an email chain will often suffice, but for longer engagements you should get a signed contract. Having a standard contract template that you can alter for different clients will make this easier — and save you time and headaches.