As a freelancer or professional service provider, there’s nothing worse than “waiting for the money.”
So one of the quickest ways to catapult your business forward is to insist that, from this point forward, you will (at least ask) for all client fees to be paid upfront.
If your client balks at this, don’t worry. It simply means that your current positioning in their mind is not strong enough to do business on your terms (with this client).
Improving that is the “working on your business” that all the business gurus talk about.
I’ve found it very difficult to reset the positioning with a client once it’s cemented in their head. It’s generally just easier to get new clients where you can go in with the right positioning from the start.
If your clients say something like, “I can’t do that. I can’t pay you upfront, cash is tight,” then my suggestion is to get new clients. You cannot allow their problems to become yours. As a business owner, you have enough of your own.
Here’s another reason to get paid first:
Consider the scenario where you’re waiting for completion of a project to collect 50% of your fee. If the client drags her feet and the project never “ends,” guess who’s not gettin’ their money?
Should you suffer because of your client? Is that just “life?” Is it something you should just accept?
Maybe it’s smart to accept it if it’s actually happening in the moment, but there’s no reason not to do everything in your power to keep it from ever happening to YOU.
So what is the obstacle that is keeping you from asking for what you want FIRST? What is keeping you from getting paid up front?
Is it the challenge of figuring out logistics–figuring out how the prepayment system would work?
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to do that. And it’s not hard.
Are you afraid your client will balk or say, “No?” Or that you’ll ruin future chances for work?
You have to get over the fear. It’s not helping you. Plus, do you really want future work from a client like that? Of course not.
Are you wondering how you’re going to sell the idea of upfront payment to a client when “no one else” does it?
That’s a marketing problem… you can fix that. Your client has to WANT to work with you. The attraction has to be strong. Because THEN, doing business on your own terms becomes much, much easier.
Do people haggle with heart surgeons about their fee or when it’s paid? Of course not.
If the doctor wanted the fee upfront, would people have a problem with that?
You’re not doing heart surgery, but there’s no reason you can’t go in with the strong positioning of a real professional.
If you currently get paid for your time, at the very least, get paid upfront for blocks of time. This is still getting paid for time (which ultimately will suck), but at least you are in control of the cashflow.
Controlling the cashflow is key. It will allow you to focus more on your work and lower your stress.
Life is short. Get paid first.