Have you heard the expression: “scared money, don’t make money”? Aside from the broken English…this is true.
Even in the poker dictionary (referenced because of the “strategy” involved with success in both poker and business), the term “scared money” has to do with a player whose lack of confidence allows him/her to be bullied out of their winnings.
In today’s economy, we have an upsurge of professionals who are moving out of corporate America and into their own home offices for various reasons. Ideally, this new framework will allow a peaceful existence where every honest and skilled business person will flourish. However, as with any grouping of people, we must contend with the “wolves” and “sheep” among the bunch. Figuratively speaking, wolves will prey, sheep will be preyed upon, and those in the middle will be shadowed by the dust cloud of poor business management and the resulting “scared money” practices that will lurch forward by those who’ve been prey upon.
This means that in order to be successful, you have to understand your strength and exhibit your confidence in both your services and your business management savvy….or else fall victim to those who(maliciously or not) place your payment very low on their priority list.
Unfortunately, this happens most often when a project was informally launched (no contract), has already been completed, and the “promise” of more work (for you, from the client) has been conversationally introduced to the realm of your decision making.
Here’s the bottom line as I see it: Work without pay is called volunteering.
Volunteering is a GREAT thing and sincere pro-bono work within your field of expertise can materialize into significant and well-suited paid opportunities. I advocate and encourage such community-focused and strategic steps when it comes to growing your business and increasing your professional skill/experience-based value.
The key is make you volunteer work, clear…and your paid work, even more so.
At all costs, formalize your contractual work with written agreements that highlight payment and deliverable requirements; and be sure to manage your invoicing with a process that is transparent and unbiased. Good clients will see this as a “plus”, appreciate your professionalism, and recognize that the documentation protects them, too. (Clients reluctant to do so, warrant a “side-eye” … see my previous post on recognizing good client potential)
Resist the inclination to be fearful or lackadaisical in collecting payments for the sake of hoping to “earn” more business. Remember that successful business operations are facilitated with shared respect by all parties. You may have to “work it out” by being communicative and open to slightly adjusted payment arrangements, but by all means… have the conversation, provide the documentation, and insist upon due payment.
Here is an article from USA Today on cutting costs resulting from deadbeat clients you might enjoy.
Feedback, testimonies, and tips are always welcome.
Until next time…..