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Getting paid … regularly

In January, my daughter came into my office. I had the heater on – she has the same heater in her bedroom.

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“You’ve only got it on low” she said.

I said “yeah – I don’t put it on high very often”

“I keep mine on high all the time”

“Yes, I know – you cost me a fortune”.

“Oh, I never thought of that” she said, leaving the room, chuckling to herself.

Money isn’t a goal for me. But being able to stay warm when I’m cold (or for my daughter to keep her room sweltering) is.

For that I need to get paid. Regularly.

Because having one good month and three bad months isn’t enough. It makes me anxious.

Having a consistent income, knowing that I’m going to be OK at the end of this month and the month after – that’s a good thing. And I’ve put deliberate systems in place to make it happen – it’s not yet 100% and I’m still short of where I want to be, but I’m getting there. Step by step.

What about you? Is your income a rollercoaster or is it as flat as Norfolk?

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So your priorities have changed?

You don’t want to do that kind of work any more?

You don’t enjoy that type of work any more?

That’s great. That’s why we work for ourselves, so we can change course as and when we feel like it.

I have a load of work on my plate that I really don’t want to do. It’s paying the bills and I’ve made promises to people so I can’t just turn it down.

But I’m also putting steps in place so I don’t need to do it forever. So, once these projects are done, I can focus on work that makes a huge impact on people.

Flexibility, freedom and, yes, a bit more money. Those are the reasons most of us started our own businesses.

So if you’re feeling locked in and 2020 has changed everything for you emotionally, then take advantage of that flexibility and draw up your plans to change direction.

Do it carefully, do it profitably but make sure you do it.

It’s why you started your business in the first place.

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So your client keeps ghosting you.

You ask for feedback and don’t hear back from them for weeks. And then they reply with “oh I thought I told you it was approved”.

Even worse, they leave invoices to go unpaid.

Work is slow and they (eventually) pay well but how do you deal with this?

First – I would make sure your contract details how you communicate and how you get paid. If you don’t have a contract get one, NOW!

Second – I would explain that all communications have to go through a project management system; something like Basecamp or Asana. That way, when you need something from them, like an approval, you can set them a reminder and it will ping them until they respond. And most systems keep an audit trail so you can see (and prove if necessary) that they didn’t reply or react to your questions.

Put these in place, give them a fixed time period (say 4 weeks) to improve how they respond and if they don’t then call it a day.

That’s how I would deal with it. What about you?