After more than five years of freelancing and making furniture to feed my pie hole, here is the most difficult part of being free of corporate America: getting paid.
This isn’t some screed about how vendors don’t pay me. Everyone I deal with (furniture customers, publishers, etc. ) is quite nice and honest. And no one has tried to stiff me on an invoice or avoid paying me.
But paperwork is paperwork. There are times when I build, film or write something and I don’t get paid for a year. But that’s just part of the deal. I might have to pay for materials for something that could take six months to build before a check comes through. That’s part of the deal. And there are times where people have owed me as much as $12,000 when I’ve had a $10,000 college tuition bill due. But that’s just part of the deal.
Being free from the daily commute means that I also have to be able to weather almost any financial crisis without whining, selling plasma or borrowing. For me, that means I have to have $20,000 in the bank at all times. My wife and I call it (and I’m so sorry for the implied swear word): “F-you money.”
As long as that money is there, I can pay almost any bill that comes up. I can wait out any vendor that has me on 45 days. I can hold out if I need to wait for something to clear there and something to process there. It takes much of the stress out of the accounting.
As I’ve found during the last 65 months, everything works out just fine in the end. You just have to be able to hold your breath for a much longer time than when you were paid every other Friday.
— Christopher Schwarz