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Getting Paid

When you own a business or do work for someone else – getting paid is a pretty important part of the deal.

After all, you are in business to make money.

So what do you do when a client just won’t pay their bill?

Before you come down on the client, take a few minutes to look at your payment process.

The most common reason for not getting paid, is not being clear up front about your expectation for payment.

Check in.

  • Do you provide prospective clients with clear, written communication around your payment process BEFORE you start working for them?  Why/Why not?
  • Do you require some type of payment in advance?  Why/Why not?

Be brutally honest – what’s stopping you from spelling it out?

Asking for money is a sure fire way to bring up your fears about being good enough, being successful or just plain getting the business.

And those fears aren’t going to make asking for money easy. Bring them to light now, question them and empower yourself to put the right process in place from the get-go.

Once you’ve done the hard work of looking at how and why you’re current process is working, then it’s time to tackle this specific client.

Decide how much time you’re willing to invest in recouping the money.  Decide how you want to feel about this specific circumstance and decide what action you’re willing to take.

From that place, send the No BS email.

It goes like this:

“I require payment for X service in X amount by X date.  If there’s anything else you need from me to make this happen, I need to know immediately so I can provide that to you.”

If you’ve decided to pursue the payment further, you’ll want to add that to the end.

“If payment is not received by X date, my next step is X.”

Keep it clear, specific and to the point. No explaining.  No emotion.  Just the facts.

In the comments below tell me what systems you have to ensure payment from clients and how you’ve handled non-payment in the past.

Email your money questions to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

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8 Responses to “Getting Paid”

  1. Tina Pruitt | The Green Juice Coach January 10, 2012 12:14 am #

    Thanks Christy!

    It is so great to hear you help us set boundaries! YAY! I haven’t had this situation come up, but it is super great to have the tools you have laid out to use if it were needed. Love having the video too, so we can hear from you personally.

    Thanks for the empowerment!


  2. Christie Halmick January 10, 2012 3:25 am #


    I went through some very tough client money issues early on in my business. Luckily I’ve been able to learn from those experiences and put in place exactly what you suggest: a clear payment plan and deposit structures.

    Even with those in place there are still unscrupulous people out there. I once spent several months trying to collect what I was owed for a magazine project only to find out that the publisher had fled the country. Turns out he had bigger issues than me to deal with. He was still charging the advertisers’ credit cards for a magazine that had never been published or distributed. I decided pursuing him was no longer worth my time since he was now wanted for credit card fraud.

    Great advice!


  3. Lazarus January 10, 2012 6:23 pm #

    This is a particularly sticky area if you’re a painter like me. Thanks for the tools! Sometimes people don’t realize you are running a business.

    ‘Keep it clear, specific and to the point.’- Well said, and something I need to remember. Get over the fear of asking for what you’re worth and lay it on the line specifically and in writing. Darn right!

  4. Fawn January 11, 2012 12:00 am #

    Christy, you’re spot on. I do ask for partial payment to begin work with a client and find that often it seems to produce a better result than with those clients I chickened out from asking for payment up front. When you get some money in the beginning, your client is literally invested in you and the project, therefore giving all they can on their end which enables me to service them with my best.

  5. Pat Novak January 11, 2012 3:48 am #

    Great subject! Especially when you work for yourself. I totally agree. money needs to be dealt
    with up front and done in a matter-of-fact business tone.

    Also, have it written out so everyone is clear about what is expected.
    It took me awhile to get that done, but once I did, it made any questions about service and payments simple to handle nd done in a business manner, so no personal issues get entangled with money issues.

  6. Heather Lentz | We Be Healthy January 11, 2012 4:57 am #

    I am self employed, but this has not come up for me. I do agree that everything should be in writing and set up front. On large projects I require money up front. Other than that it is the industry standard is to get paid 30 days after completion. I do have to admit that I still have a hard time asking for my hourly rate, even after being in business for years.

  7. Maddy Vertenten January 11, 2012 7:37 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this practical advice – especially the aptly named “No BS email”! This work is SO important for woman entrepreneurs. If we treated our relationship with money as well as we treated a relationship with a new lover…. think of all the beautiful abundance that would pour forth into our lives. So glad there are people like you assisting others with the wonderful work of transforming this relationship.

  8. Jennifer Peek January 11, 2012 10:31 pm #

    Coming from a corporate background, I think I have less of a struggle with the whole idea of a payment and collection process. I haven’t had any issues with being paid by clients – and most of my work I get paid for upfront (at least 50%). I think that sets the tone just as you outline in terms of setting expectation upfront. The no BS email is just an extension of that professional approach. Perfect and practical tips!

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