How to Get Paid on Time

Almost every entrepreneur may have a share of their horror stories about not getting paid on time, or worst - not getting paid at all! Don’t let yourself get into this kind of stress! Watch this video and pick up some tips on how to get paid on time!

What You Will Learn In this Show:

  • The impact of not getting paid on time
  • 3 steps to make sure that you not only get paid, but you get paid on time

Key Takeaways &/or Action Points

  • Not getting paid on time can actually cause you to be less profitable
  • Setting boundaries reflects how much you value yourself
  • Have your structures in place from the moments right through to when the sale happens
  • Set your boundaries and stick to them
  • Attract people to work with who are in line with you and your values and the way that you want to work

We're talking about how to get paid, and I have a very important resource for you as well today. The link is in the description and I'll talk to you more about that in a little bit. All right then. So where are we here? Here we are, let me just share this out, and then we can get going on this, because I'm quite excited about this. There we are, post. Excellent, all right.

I want to share with a couple of quotes, all right? The first one is "Nothing good in this world comes free. "For everything there's a payment "of time, money, or soul." And I'm sure you probably feel like this when you've kind of done work and maybe the client is slow to pay or maybe they even haven't paid or they're not even paying you enough in the first place, it probably really feels like you're spending all of those things. But what are you getting in return, all right?

And there's another one, as it's quite appropriate, seeing as it's in the cinema, "I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure," the queen said. "Two pence a week and jam every other day." Alice couldn't help laughing and she said, "I don't want you to hire me, "and I don't care for jam." "It's very good jam," said the queen. "Well, I don't want it today, at any rate." "You couldn't have it if you did want it," the queen said. "The rule is jam today and jam yesterday, "but never today." "It must come sometime to jam today," Alice said. "No, it can't," said the queen. "It's jam every other day, "and today isn't an other day." So obviously that's Lewis Carroll from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Now the thing is is that you might be feeling this, that you're working really hard, maybe you're even, maybe you've got plenty of clients, but you're kind of on this hamster wheel, and what do you do to make sure that the money is coming in so that you're not having this feast and famine thing going on, right?

And I just think it's so important the way that you approach getting paid. Now there was a client I was working with, video production company, and the owner was in a situation where they were kind of a bit distracted in the session, and I was like, um, what is going on? And they said, "Well, I'm just a bit stressed "because we're supposed to be doing this this shoot "next week, and I'm supposed to be getting "all these freelancers lined up for us, "and I've already got some of them kind of semi-booked in, "but if I'm not careful, I'm gonna lose them." And I said, well, what's the problem? And she said, "Well, the client hasn't paid a deposit yet, "and so I'm a bit worried about "going ahead with the shoot when they haven't done that."

And this, I think it was on, like, the Wednesday and they were supposed to shoot on the Monday, and, you know, there was lots of people involved. It wasn't even just them. And so I was like, okay look, this is what I want to... I want you to call the client to say this or email them and say this, and then come back and you know that things are kind of, are happening one way or another.

And they got an instant response, because they did the three things I talked about. They were able to do two of those in that moment. And so I'll tell you what they are. And the other thing that happens a lot with clients and people who talk to me about becoming clients and they interact with you a lot, so you'll meet with lots of creators here and there. It's scope creep. It's where people start off saying, "Okay, we want to have this."

And then by the time you finish, they've added this and this and this and this and this. And so all of the sudden, you're doing double the work, but you're still getting the same amount of pay, okay? So what I'm going to talk about is to tell you how to avoid that because I know from many of us creators, our work is so personal.

And also this is the kind of thing that isn't usually taught in design school or film school or whatever kind of creative you are. And there's some reasons why this is so important, okay? I want to talk to you about the impact of not getting paid on time, okay?

Now, obviously the first one is that it's a problem from a profit point of view. It's a problem from a cash flow point of view, but it also is something that costs you time, and time is money, okay? So, the time that you spend chasing after clients or the time you spend worrying about not getting paid by that client, or the time you spend being reluctant to go out and get more clients because you might do the whole thing again and not get paid on time and that messes up your mortgage payment and your holiday and the things you were trying to plan. It does actually cause you to be less profitable, okay?

And one of the reasons is that quite often, the clients that tend not to pay or not to pay on time are often the ones that are the most hassle to deal with anyway. These are the clients from hell that cause you nightmares, okay, that cause this scope creep. They often are very unappreciative of the work that you do anyway. So the thing is is that if you have this issue, the chances are you don't have the quality of client that you would actually like to be working with.

And this a knock-on effect on how confident you are. And of course, the less confident you are, the less kind of positive vibes you're gonna give off to respective new clients, and the less likely you are to attract new work and to attract better clients. And there's very practical reasons why this impacts on your business as well, is because particularity if you do have some team members or maybe you have a kind of outsource team that you bring in for projects. That has a really significant knock-on effect on how you can resource and how you can do your planning, okay?

So some really important things there, but I think one of the most significant ones is stress, okay? If you are worried about when money's coming in or even if money is coming in, then that is gonna cause you perhaps to have sleepless nights or certainly just be wasting energy and things are niggling in the back of your head.

And then you can't focus, and then you're not going to be able to be as creative as you would be otherwise, okay? So if you think this is not something to be concerned about, it is. And if you're lucky enough not to have been in this position, then fantastic, but make sure stay tuned because I want to make sure that you don't encounter this. I've had it where clients have gone along merrily for even sometimes for a few years, and all of the sudden, boom. They get hit with this. I do not want that to happen to you.

Okay, so here we are. Here's the three steps to make sure that you not only get paid, but you get paid on time. And in fact, implementing these often means that you actually get paid more as well, so who doesn't want that?

So the first one is boundaries, okay? Now this comes up again and again and again, and quite often when I'm working with clients, and they might not be saying to me they're not getting paid, but they often are saying, "I don't have enough time." And that's usually because of scope creep or the delaying things and procrastinating and all of this because they're not getting paid properly for what they're doing.

So how do you actually implement boundaries? What do I mean by that? Well, first of all, you got to actually make up your mind as to what is it that your boundaries are. You got to set your standards, okay? And they have to be specific, all right? So you need to actually lay out all right, so this is the way that I operate, okay? And it doesn't matter what the industry does. Maybe you can tweak what the industry does, maybe you go completely against what the industry does. I know of coaches that send out invoices and then they wait to get paid. I don't work unless I get paid first, and maybe you can be in that position, too. Maybe you need to do something else. I'll talk about ways that you can structure things in a bit, but you've gotta get specific about okay, this is the way I operate and this is the only way that I operate.

So, I want you to get really clear on those boundaries first. And the thing is that if you find it hard to stick to those boundaries, this is all about how you value yourself. It's all about how much self-belief you have because if you find that you don't stick to those boundaries, then that's probably why.

And the interesting thing is is that the more focused you get on your ideal clients and what kind of market it is that you are serving and that you are really able to position yourself as the go-to person for that ideal client, then it's so much easier to set these boundaries. And that is going to help you to be more confident as well, okay? So boundaries, really important.

The next strategy is all around structures. It's about putting the best structures for you in place in order for you to get paid. Now these actually have a positive knock-on effect in other places as well.

Now, the first structure is to have a great sales process in place. So, think about even right from where you are going out to generate leads, are you fishing in the right pond? Are you fishing in a stinky pond full of fish that are probably not going to be great for you to be working with? Leave them alone. Go and fish somewhere where there's nice clean water and healthy fish with healthy attitudes, all right? Apologies for stretching out this message, but you know what I mean.

So right from the get go, be looking to attract people to work with who are in line with you and your values and the way that you want to work because you've already got specific about that in the boundary section. And make sure that comes through in the sales process, okay? So that at every step along the way, that it's really clear who they are, who you are, and the value that you're each bringing to the party.

And of course part of that, there's usually some kind, for creative work there's often some kind of brief or proposal, or even if you have creative products, like say you were selling art or photographs or something, then making sure you have really good descriptions so that people know what they're buying and that you have a contract in place. You have great terms and conditions. Please see a solicitor if you need to put these things in place and to cover you in case of eventualities. Even just things like who owns the copyright, get really clear on that.

Now, I would imagine most of you as creators would be thinking about that, but just in case, please be really clear and make sure that it is in writing. No matter how well you know somebody, and even if you've worked with them before, there is nothing wrong with you implementing a contract that they haven't signed before and getting them to sign it now. All it's going to do is make you look more professional.

And if they have a problem with that, then it's probably time for them to hit the road And then the other thing I want you to structure is the way that you're actually paid, okay? So for me, I'm pretty much getting paid up front even when I'm just in the process of where I'm doing team workshops and leadership work with directors and managers in a business, so it's a larger creative business.

And so they are able to pay in instalments, but they're paying in instalments here, and I'm doing the work across here, so the money kind of all comes in and I'm still doing the work. There's no way that I'm gonna be doing work and not get paid for it.

Now, if you're in an industry, say design, like typically in design a lot of people, maybe they get a deposit and I think most would get a deposit and then they look to get paid at the end. So what I'm suggesting to you is instead look to have staged payments and build that into your contract.

So you have once the brief is agreed and you know exactly what you're doing, the quote is accepted, they pay a deposit. Get as big of a deposit as you can. Minimum of 25%, aim for 50 if you can get it. And then look to break down the work. Particularly at the points where the work goes back to the client, okay? Because that's the point where often it gets delayed. They could be rushing you and rushing you and rushing you to get something done, it comes back to them and it's like it disappears into a black hole. So I don't want you to be having that. So it's really important that once it goes back to them, boom, they're due another payment. Or maybe you've all worked it out by dates. So whether it's by date or whether it's by stage of the project, make sure that you're getting paid at each stage.

And then even if you have to agree to terms of credit, then at least you know that that is coming and you can plan for that. And the other thing that you can do as well is that there is nothing wrong if people want to pay in instalments that maybe they pay extra, okay? And quite often that encourages people to pay up front. So quite often people would like the opportunity.

Now of course they have to trust you to do that, okay? So you have to be making sure that's part of your sales process, that you are demonstrating your value. And really you want it to be the situation where you're the only one that they want to work with. Okay, so we talked about sales process, brief and contract to staged payments, brilliant.

Okay, so the next thing I want to talk about, and by the way, please pop any questions you've got in the comments and I will come to those after this next section and I have a few questions, I just realised it on the other side of my phone, but I'll get them in a moment.

So let me get onto the third stage, the third strategy here which is screening. And so all through the sales process and through all your communications, even when you meet people at networking, I mean I've had it a few times where I've maybe met someone at networking and they're kind of expressing interest in what I do, but I'm just getting a vibe that's going, "Yeah, I don't think I'm a good fit with this person. "I don't think I'd enjoy working with them." I would have to convince them every step of the way, and it's just like that's not my idea of an ideal client.

So first of all, trust your gut instinct. If your gut instinct is going, "No, don't touch this person with a barge pole." Listen to it, okay? So be looking at that communication. How they communicate in person, or on the phone and Skype, in their emails. So are they really abrupt? Are they actually open and honest? Are they answering your questions? Are they forthcoming with information, or is it a bit like trying to get blood out of stone getting it from them? And do they appreciate what you're doing? Did they say thank you? Did they say please? It's just like do they have manners basically?

And even though there are some personality profiles that will be less... I wouldn't say less friendly but less into the banter and the chat, and how was your weekend and things like that, and they just get straight down the to business. But there's still no excuse for anybody being rude, okay? That has nothing to do with the profile. That's just bad manners.

So really look at that and be screening it and be looking at what they say and what they do, and do those things match? And if those things don't match, that is a clear sign that if they say they're going to pay you, maybe they're not going to. Because if they don't keep their word about the little things, then they sure as heck aren't going to keep their word about the big things, okay?

So I'll just check for questions now in a moment. Let me have a look and see. Just bear with me, I just have to reach over here to get these questions. That was just my water bottle, don't worry about that. It's steel, it won't have broken.

Okay, so yes, I was just popping down some questions that I commonly get around this as well. So let me just check what we have here. Okay, so, yes. "Listening to your gut is incredibly valuable. "I've always regretted it when I haven't." Oh my God, you and me both and I think most people have probably had a situation when that has happened.

And the thing is, please learn from that. If that has happened to you, then don't kind of go and repeat the same mistake again, I mean that's just silly. Oh, I love this, yes. "Boundaries are so important in life as well as business. "Good fences make for good neighbours." Yeah, interesting, see?

That's obviously bringing to mind a physical boundary. But you just want to get clear on those boundaries, and it's really interesting because when you make a decision about boundaries, then it's amazing how often the people who wouldn't kind of respect those boundaries, they just don't seem to maybe come around as much. Or maybe you kind of get like one testing you to see do you really mean it? And if you stick to your boundaries, then quite often you just don't even have to mention them. So, yeah, that's really important.

Okay, so just a couple of quick questions before we wrap up. Okay so, oh well yeah this one. "I tried setting boundaries, "but it's hard with existing clients." Okay, so I've had this a few times with clients who've, they've got existing clients and then they're looking to implement these new ways to implement working. So what I would say is to number one, negotiate a path to bring them up to your current standards, okay?

So that might be about pricing, it might be about the way that they pay, it might be about the contract. So if you talk to them and say, "Okay, look. "With all my new clients, this is what's happening "and this is where you are now, and this is the gap. "So let's look at a way to move you there, okay?" And so maybe you do this over one or two jobs.

Maybe you do it over a time period. Maybe they're happy to just go with that now. Who knows? They might have been sat there thinking, "Oh man, "I really feel guilty. "This person's undercharging me and kind of "letting me get away with blue murder." And maybe they're just going to respect you. And the thing is that, I would also really ask given their past behaviour and past payment patterns or lack of payment patterns, do you still want them as a client? Now, I have come across it twice.

Once as an actor, and once with a creative business where people have gone back to work for people who haven't paid them because they're promised, "Okay, look, well come "and do this, and then I'll get the money "for doing that and pay you with it." And I was like, "Are you mad?" Now, one of them I do know what happened and they did get the money, but they ended up doing something that they weren't particularly keen on and working with people they weren't particularity keen on working with in order to make that happen, and I was like, "What would have filled that vacuum?"

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you let some clients go because they don't meet your current standards, then you have the space. You have the time to go out and market to the people who you do want to be working with. And you have that space, you'll be amazed how things might just kind of coming to you.

Okay, so another one here is, "What if the client won't accept my terms?" So, if they won't accept your terms, just leave. Okay, just run. It's a bad sign, okay? Just do not go there. There's one exception to that, okay? And that's if they're a big corporate client where they have got very, very set procedures, okay? Because you notice in a big company, they have all these different departments, and all these departments have to talk to each other, and they have all these systems, and they're set in stone.

Except what you may well find, and I had this when I used to work in PR and communications and I went in house, I had worked agency and I went in house. I worked for Network Rail, and I worked for some local authorities, okay? And in both of those places, they have those real systems, yes. Because I was doing PR and communications, I often employed photographers. I would always negotiate with them and they would be like, "Look, I can't "afford to wait this amount of time to get paid." And so I personally would go to accounts and phone them and go and visit them, whatever the situation was, and make sure that that person got paid much, much faster than they would have done otherwise. And the reason I did that was because I had a relationship with them. I valued what they did. They were the only one that I wanted doing that job, okay?

So be the one and only. Okay, I feel like breaking out into song now Okay, so it's all about boundaries. You got to set them, they've got to be specific, and you've got to stick to them. And if you're really struggling to meet those boundaries, then there's got to be some inner-work that needs to be done and go and check out last week's live show, which is all about Inner Game of Focus and I'll talk about some of that stuff there actually.

So the second strategy is structures, okay? You got to have them in place from the moments right through to when the sale happens and you have a contract and all the communication after that and making sure that you're staging your payments or getting paid up front if you can.

And the final thing is about screening. And the most important part of that is your gut instinct, but be aware because so often, people will say hindsight is 20/20 vision and actually, it's kind of like relationships You don't think to yourself if I had to explain the way this client communicates with me or the way this client behaves with me to somebody else, would I be embarrassed? Well if that's the case, that is a sign that you ought to be listening to your gut instinct and either looking to repair that relationship and bring it up to standard, or to be able to kind of let that go in a professional way, of course. And, yeah, so you've got to be screening, you've got to be valuing yourself as well.

Okay, look if you've got other questions, I'm going to have to run in a moment, so please pop them in the comments. I will come back. I'll get a little notification and when you do that and I will come back and answer any questions you have. Or maybe you just want to share your experiences. I know this can be a very emotive issue because we're talking about money and we're talking about clients and we're talking about how people value you in your creative work and how you value yourself in your own creative work as well.

So now, have you found today's show valuable? If so, please share this out to your contacts, all right? Because I'm on this mission to help as many creative business owners as I can, so please like, comment, and share, and get this out there.

Oh, and I just wanted to tell you briefly about the resource as well that I was telling you about. So, this is, it's here, okay? So, it's the 21 tools to increase sales in your creative business. Now these tools actually include some ways that you can actually get paid and get paid faster as well.

So different ways that you can actually increase your business. So there's a whole host of things that this is gonna help you with. It's gonna help you to kind of save time. It's gonna help you to work better with your clients and know what they really wanna buy from you. And just put all the things in place that are gonna really help you. It's not just a list of tools, okay? It's actually a guide that is explaining how and when to use those tools as well. So Nice and simple for you to remember. 21 tools to increase your sales.

So do go, it's free, there's no charge, okay? It's not gonna cost you a penny, so do go and download that and I'd love your feedback, so please do message me and let me know what you think of it as well. Okay, so I'm Una Doyle, founder of, business coach for creatives, and remember the fortune is in the flow. Have a great week, everybody. I look forward to seeing you same time, same place next week. Bye.

"Nothing good in this world comes free. For everything there's a payment of time, money, or soul."

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Una Doyle

About the Author

Una Doyle

Una is a Business Development Coach for Creatives & their Teams. Using Wealth & Talent Dynamics she helps them to grow their business by accelerating Trust and Flow. She loves cooking, salsa dancing and walking and also works as an actor under her stage name Una Love.

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