One of the most common challenges for consultants and solopreneurs is...you guessed it...getting paid. So, what to do?
Ashley Crouch (pictured above) of Appleseed Communications recently published a popular Forbes article perfectly articulating brilliant responses to the most common client/consultant payment struggles. She intelligently highlights the 3 common things people will ask service providers to do for free and surefire solutions to smooth out your schedule again.
In addition to seconding every piece of Ashley's advice, we also suggest:
(1) Ensure you have communicated your rates and payment termsupfront in a mutually-signed contract before completing even one hour of work. Understand that as a solopreneur, you have little recourse if invoices go unpaid. So make that contract simple and tight, and create terms that combat situations of non-payment.
(2) When in doubt of what to do (or worse, backed into a corner), ask yourself, "How would a law firm handle this?" Why a law firm? Because they charge hourly or by monthly retainer (just like consultants) and they are experts at setting boundaries when it comes to free work.
At The Upside, we've had wonderful clients ask for sample work in order to help decide whether or not to hire one of our best-in-class professionals. Our response is always, "Sure! For their hourly rate of $X/hour, we would be happy to provide you with sample work."
Why? Because a consultant's time IS their overhead. And if every consultant provided free work for clients, especially to "prove" their worth, we would become a fully pro-bono operation! And back to the lawyer example...would a law firm provide a free legal analysis or free customized contracts to prove they are worthy of being hired? Mine sure didn't! (Don't worry, I still love you guys)
Whether you're a client or a consultant, take the time to read her article. If you're a client, it will teach you how to respect the boundaries of any consultant you work with. As a consultant, her article will reinforce the importance of setting those boundaries and sticking to them. Read the full article here.