As a business owner there are challenges in both getting paid what you’re worth, and in some cases actually getting paid. The latter is truly unfortunate. I couldn’t have said it any better than the paperboy Johnny in the movie Better off Dead:
For the first challenge I’ll go ahead and repeat myself. Whether I‘ve had a conversation with you, I’ve posted an article about it, or if you’re hearing it for the first time. Value yourself and set a rate that is worth your time. Sure it’s okay to barter your services as long as it is initially agreed upon by both parties, but do remember you still need to get paid for most of your work. Otherwise you’ll find yourself out of business pretty shortly after you’ve just started.
So I find myself mentoring professionals with various backgrounds and specialties, but I do find the biggest challenges are with the Nurses that I work with. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with you, but you’re going to have to take the emotion out of money. For those of you who are not healthcare professionals this may not be as big a concern, but it does always come up in our conversations.
For healthcare providers it’s a bigger challenge to remove the emotional tie to the dollar when we are typically providing products or services to a target market that may at the time be in crisis. We hope to be helping people. There’s a problem, and we’re providing the solution, but often times it can be during a time when an individual is at their most vulnerable. It doesn’t seem fair, but ask yourself, does your healthcare provider have any hesitation sending you a bill?
To my fellow nurses (and other healthcare professionals), you’re going to have to do your research on what’s fair market value for both the client and for you as an entrepreneur, but it simply just comes down to business. I do recommend however that you try and compare your services to other professionals out there because I feel that some of you are still “volunteering” your time.
Let me preface the next challenge.
I’ve been a member of Freelancers Union for years. I think I was the first nurse to join, and I may still be the only one. Initially I felt a little out of place considering that most of the professionals in the union are more of the “creative” type. What I quickly discovered however is that they too were having some of the same issues I was and still do today. The organization continues to have more relevance for me as I’ve branched out into other areas of consulting, but I bet that regardless of your background or service you provide that you’ll find this group a very helpful resource.
So, because of my membership with Freelancers I became aware of a recent movement if you will about the world’s longest invoice. Again, this seems to mostly consist of freelancers out there that are non-healthcare professionals, but hey, this could happen to you and I know it does.
Going back to that part about feeling valued and getting reimbursed at a rate that is actually fair and being able to send out that invoice for payment on a job well done is amazing. What happens however when all of that hard work you just put in has no return on your investment? Your client that you were so excited to work with just became a deadbeat client. Let me just say that if you start to notice signs while working with them such as emails going unanswered, phone calls not returned, or just something about the energy that’s changed, STOP THE WORK IMMEDIATELY, and attempt to reconvene about the scope of work and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
I’m not recommending you go out to a client’s home dressed in black, foot in the door, switchblade comb running through your hair asking for your two dollars like Johnny (if you don’t know the reference you have to watch the movie), but if persistence isn’t paying off then the next step may be to seek the advice of an attorney. They’ll of course ask if you have a signed contract with the client, and I always tell people that this is a must before any work is started. Get it inked.
To our clients, we do appreciate your timely payment and enjoy working with you very much, but if you start falling behind we may have to call Johnny to collect.
All jokes aside though, one of the services that we use is Freshbooks and we are getting paid faster on our deliverables. It does help and you’ll see what I mean if you give it a spin.
So, what challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur either getting what’s fair in your industry, or actually getting your two dollars?