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New Guest Post from Anna Dower! The 10 Commandments of Getting Paid

Read on for advice from Anna Dower, a graphic designer, entrepreneur and in-demand creative mentor that harnesses 20 years of industry experience to enlighten, empower and elevate the businesses of graphic designers on a mission to make their mark. Read more about her work with Shillington graduates.

You love what you do.

Creating bad-ass sh*t that rocks your clients socks off? Totes your jam.

BUT even though you are definitely in this biz because you’re passionate af about it…a lady’s gotta get paid. After all, you can only pay your rent with million dollar smiles for so long.

So, how, as a kind but driven entrepreneurial designer boss lady, can you create cool sh*t…& get paid promptly for it?

Welp. Through trial, error (and more than a few weeks in the early days of staring at single digits in my business banking account), I’ve developed the ten commandments of getting paid.

Use them wisely, lady boss.


1. You are the BOSS thy Lady. You make the rules. If your clients don’t follow them, you’re well within your rights to fire them (yep, you can fire your clients) or refuse to work with them.

2. Thou shalt not release files until complete payment has been made. This includes making a website live. No matter how much they beg or plead. They don’t get their files or live site until your funds have been received.

3. A 50% deposit is mandatory. Up-front. No negotiations. You can choose to offer a payment plan if you like, but I’d strongly recommend standing by your 50% deposit rule, just in case things go pear shaped.

4. Thy payment terms shall be made crystal clear. From day one, make sure your clients understand your payment terms and any payment deadlines. Double check they are cool with everything. You can never have too much clarity.

5. For overseas clients and jobs under $500, full payment must be received in advance. Charge 100% and make it clear that you will not start work until this payment has been received.

6. Thy invoice and confirmation email shall show due date. When you send your invoice, make sure you list the due date (in bold) in the body of the text, as well as in the invoice itself.

7. Thou shalt not fear reminders. You’re not being annoying if you remind them that their invoice is due. You’re being professional.

8. If an invoice is overdue, thou shall charge a % fee. I know, I know, this one sucks. But look at how clear you made everything! Now you have to put on your boss lady pants and stay firm. Just make sure you state in your terms and conditions that this fee is incurred once an invoice is overdue.

9. Thou shall charge a 3% fee for invoices paid via PayPal. These fees can add up so make sure you account for them in your terms and conditions or invoice if you have made PayPal a payment option.

10. Thou shall ask for transaction receipts. It’s just easier this way. Trust me.

Thanks to Anna for these words of wisdom! Follow her on Facebook, join the Designer Boss Ladies Facebook Group and catch daily updates on Instagram.

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