What good is being your own boss if you dont get paid for your work? Wherever possible, collect 10 (percent), 15 (percent) or 25 percent of your fee upfront, says Bostrom. Your clients reaction to that request will tell you a lot about whether theyre capable of paying you.Always use contracts, recommends Alan Siege, president and CEO of Small Business Management Consulting in Brooklyn, N.Y. Specify clearly what the deliverables are and what and when people will pay you and make people acknowledge it. By having a contract, youre saying that you play for real and that youre someone whose business people need to take seriously.