I can’t remember where I heard this the first time but the message was something like this: If you are having a problem with someone or something, take 100% responsibility for it because if you do, you can change it.
This came to mind recently during a conversation with a friend who was troubled about not getting paid for work that he had done and was upset with the client.
When I asked for more detail about the situation, it became clear that he had started some work for a new “client” who was excited about working with him before he had a signed contract or had received a deposit for the work.
Oh, this is so tempting to do. You know how it goes. The meeting went well and you are excited and full of ideas about the project. Your mind starts spinning and you start to jot down the plan and start working on logo concepts. But then…. your client crush, does not come through.
I love this saying, “Three frogs sitting on a log and one decides to jump in. How many frogs sitting on the log?”
The answer is three. One frog decided to jump but did not jump.
The way you know the difference between a prospect who has decided to jump and a client who has jumped is by being clear about fees and payment schedules and getting a deposit.
I have a lot of people who tell me that they would like to pick my brain about their businesses. If I spent my time letting people pick my brain, I wouldn’t have much time or brain left to do the work for my paying clients. I developed an initial consultation called the Talk it Out Session at $150 for the hour. This gave people who were serious about getting my advice about their businesses a way to see if it was a fit. Most of these sessions result in the client wanting to work with me. I send them the invoice but then I wait. I have learned not to start before getting the deposit.
If you want to get paid for your work, it helps to be very clear about what you do and how people can work with you. You cannot hold it against someone who asks for something for free. It is up to you to let people know how you work and the quicker you get the client to sign-up and pay for your services, the better.
You would be doing this if you had plenty of work. If you are not yet to that point, then act as if you already are and spend extra time you have getting your own business in shape rather than giving your services away for free.