This is Business, not Personal

From the Godfather-
Tom Hagen: Your father wouldn't want to hear this, Sonny. This is business not personal. 
Sonny: They shoot my father and it's business, my ass! 
Tom Hagen: Even shooting your father was business not personal, Sonny! 

Confession: Where I first heard this quote-You Got Mail

Joe Fox: It wasn't... personal. 
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's *personal* to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? 

There is an immense sense of autonomy when you have your own business, you literally get to make any rule you want. Even almost two years later, I can't believe that I really have that power. Except that whole paying taxes thing, I can make and break any rule for my business that I choose. It could be get so arrogant and narcissistic in a blink of an eye, I could wake up today and decide that I don't want to work on Wednesday and wave the magic self-employed wand and my clients will know I shall not be bothered on any day that begins with W. 

But in all seriousness, when you begin your self employment, you do have to figure and lay out how your business is managed. One of the main things is how you wish to bill and how you wish to be paid...As someone who got paid on what she collected and not what she billed for fifteen years, I prefer to get cash up front or payment due upon receipt. I also have to keep in mind that the work that I do is creative and if I am not paid I worked for free that month. 

So, I bill on the first and my clients thankfully send out their payment within the first ten days of the month. I do have some clients that have me paid timely and methodically towards the end of the month and I don't really mind that because it comes without incident every single time and gives me a little spending padding towards mid to end month. In other words, I don't have to chase it. My other policy is that I send a friendly reminder to the non payers at the 15th of the month. I usually go to Quickbooks and resend their invoice but I change the email message to say This is an automated mid month reminder to notify you that as of today, this invoice has not been paid. 

I struggle with the guilt associated with this reminder with some of my clients. I have no idea why this is a sensitive spot for me...I worked hard and I deserved to be paid. I guess I feel a little stupid taking the time to remind someone that this bill must be paid. It is also a little annoying to constantly remind the same people. Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off asking for a credit card and auto billing each month, but would I include a 3% fee to not lose any money?? 

What are some of the no fail collecting tips that work for you??

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  1. Perfect timing with this post for me, just in the throes of setting up my own business. I am already finding it hard to chase invoices, I think it is an in-built thing. I shall look back to see if anyone leaves any useful tips here!

  2. I make cards and am usually paid upon receipt of the card. I have had a few people order and receive the cards and ask to "pay on payday". I have always allowed it UNTIL the time comes that I have to "ask" for payment a few days after payday. I have had only 2 people make it hard to get the money (not talking big money either!). After that, i refuse service. I tell them I am too busy to handle their request. No confrontation etc. I also had one woman decide that she wanted to pay me $3, not the $5 agreed upon. I took it, and then have never made another card for her again, even after repeated requests. I tell her I can afford to not make a profit. It is different for me, as I don't work for myself, but do this on the side.