Working for yourself is cutthroat. This I know for sure, for many reasons, many of which revolve around money….and nine times out of ten, the lack thereof. The business-owning reality is this: netting zero doesn’t mean that there isn’t any work to be done; these are, perhaps, the moments in which business owners are working their hardest to break even or better.
But what happens when business is coming in, but invoices are not returned on time? Disbelief may be your most immediate emotional response, followed by anger, and then discomfort when the reality of not getting what you’re owed slowly settles in. But somewhere in there, you may also begin to analyze the interactions with your client in a desperate attempt to grasp some sort of understanding of where you could have gone wrong.
Every business owner, contractor, and freelancer has been there. Myself included.
And though the feeling of having your work not be valued is a tough pill to swallow on its own, non-paying clients can seriously mess with your livelihood, and cause some debilitating self-doubt. Luckily, like anything else in our lives, there are lessons to be learned from these situations, that will help prevent you from getting taken advantage of again…
So long as you put these five practices in place while managing your sales funnel:
- Place such high value on your product or service that non-payment is not an option. Don’t give your client the option to not pay you. Wait for the invoice to be returned before you proceed with their project.
- Invoice first, and work second, as agreements, both contractual and verbal, can be violated at any moment. Even on paper, words are easily trumped by action.
- Do not entertain conversations that require doing work and then getting paid. If you want your product or service to be taken seriously, also get serious about charging people for it.
- Approach your client’s non-communication of how they will pay with caution. Your client should be just as engaged in the conversation on how you will bill them, regardless of how big or small the project fee is.
- Don’t assume your client has the same level of respect for others that you have. Productive conversations and rapport do not constitute respect, and even the most unsuspecting people can have sinister motives.
Still not convinced that your business needs these protections? I can change your mind with my experience chasing invoices (and yes, it is a horror story).
With Mental Health Awareness Month upon us, there’s no better time to pause and consider the health of our inner dialogues. Recent reflections around my mental health helped me realize how much time I have spent considering my relationships with others. And who doesn’t? It’s the most human thing to do.
But when do we start giving the same time and attention to the relationship we have with ourselves? Our thoughts create our reality, and of course, our ability to shatter limitations. I started to prioritize my self-talk after a college roommate scoffed at my post-grad aspirations, and told me it would never happen. My recognition that those were her limiting beliefs and not mine, helped me to muster “the nerve,” and conviction to follow my dreams instead. At that very moment, a choice was made.
We often think that changing our thinking to honor all that we are is a long process, but the work of Peace Unleashed owners, Ellie Shoja and Neloo Naderi show us major breakthroughs can happen as quickly as 15 minutes…if you’re ready to commit.
Their business consists of empowering people to connect to their true selves, which are completely at peace. The power of peace then helps them to, quite literally, make their dreams a reality.
Don’t believe it can happen to you? Ellie and Neloo just might change your mind:
Never have I ever worked on a project quite like this. I’ve worked with many friends, many of whom are uber-talented Creatives. Filmmaker, Ogechi Musa is no different:
However, this is the first time we’ve recorded ourselves having such a revealing conversation on the economics of being a “starving artist,” creating for the sake of creating, and where she finds inspiration to create award-winning projects:
1. Feature film, “Friction”, centered on a community-led revolution against police brutality
2. “The Hodge”, featuring Cleveland-based artists of color who are using their artistic platform to save their artist-living space
3. “Midst,” a story about two interracial lovers and their struggle between self-identity and societal conformity.
Catch our entire conversation:
I remember the summer that I came up with the name GoKnowWear like it was yesterday. I yearned for a name that cautioned you of the mixed bag of ideas I was about to express:
The ‘Go,’ my travels and places on my wishlist, the ‘Wear,’ the garments that find their way on my skin, but the ‘Know’ was always the challenge. I often questioned:
“How do I talk about things I’m interested in, in ways that would interest others too?”
Think-pieces offered a clear and appropriate answer, but even those felt somewhat surface level. I felt I could do more, but what exactly? As you would imagine, my answer came with trial and error.
What began as a quest to teach myself video creation and editing, has now turned into sharing the stories of Creatives and Entrepreneurs. All too familiar with the uncertainty and the long-game, the ascension and the failures along the path of creating a great business, I felt a sense of duty to give others a space to share more than the polished, success story–the grueling parts of building a business.
Thanks to this beautiful thing called Al Gore’s Internet, Oz Rios was the first owner of a creative business I met with. Here is his story:
You don’t have to look hard for a photo op in Los Angeles, but Yayoi Kusama’s With All the Tulips, I Pray Forever, showing at the Marciano Foundation, is one of my new favorites.
Ugo Rondinone, Glenn Ligon and Catherine Opine are mainstays you can’t miss either. But if leaving the house is something you avoid like the plague, as I do, watch Jackie and I explore this magical space.
….Brace yourself for a VERY happy ending.