I like FreeAgent as it takes a lot of the hassle out of time-keeping and invoicing. One of the things it can do is send automatic reminders to late-payers, and thank-yous to people when they do pay.

One of the biggest challenges for a freelancer - and my central concern - is cashflow, so unless you're charging many times over what you actually need month-to-month, you'll probably start out living a little hand-to-mouth. So how do you coax people into paying on time? "Well", I thought late last night, "why not with GIFs?"

So this morning before work, I recorded a couple: one to thank people for paying, and another one to send a month after an invoice is overdue (I send an email 7 days after the due date of unpaid invoices too, but I wanted to leave that one GIF-free).

This one I call "Hungry Misty", and it accompanies an email explaining that, as a very small business I rely on people paying on time.

Let's get it out of the way now: her bowl was empty because I was just about to fill it with delicious food, and I got her to meow by showing her a treat (and then giving her lots of treats. I'm not a monster and I don't habitually make my cat beg for treats!)

OK. And finally, the sequel: "Happy Misty", in which my cat eats breakfast, added to my emails to thank people for paying.

Hopefully this small amount of minor pet abuse will go a long way to making sure she's kept in Whiskas for years to come. And who knows, maybe even me too?

I love my cat.