As a freelancer have you ever wanted to just climb up on something tall-ish and shout to your clients how you really feel? Every now and then I do, but I can't. You see, I'm a nice person. I don't like to ruffle feathers, cause a scene, or risk burning a bridge.
But sometimes I just can't take it anymore, especially when it comes to a very specific topic: payment.
Whenever I have reached the boiling point with some clients, I find myself reciting the essay below. I refer to it whenever I need to vent. Its a very pleasant, non-stressful way to translate how I really feel inside, which often stops just short of burning in hell, voodoo dolls, wrist-slitting, Zoloft or alcoholism.
Without further adieu...
I know you're good for it
My dear, dear clients,
I know you're good for it. I know you'll put that invoice through to accounting. I know it needs to be signed off on, approved, migrated from one inbox to another. Just like I know you need service today, maybe even this minute. I know its not your fault I haven't received payment for an invoice I sent you upon completion of a project 3 months ago. I know, I know.
I also know I'm not going to make rent on time (again) because someone forgot to submit my invoice through the proper channels. I know I'm going to have to cancel my health insurance because, as it turns out, you really weren't budgeted for the agreed upon cost of the project, and can't possibly push the balance due past the board to get it paid now that its complete.
I know my invoice might be less than $100 so what's the rush? After all, I must have other forms of income; other clients with $100 invoices also sitting in their inboxes or spam filters, gathering cobwebs. I know all those $100 invoices add up to form what I call "income" and earmark it for various costs of doing business. And groceries.
I know we've worked together for some time, for some of you its been years and years. I know we're very connected to others in our various fields and since much of my work is by referral, I know the power of word-of-mouth. I know I'm going to have to close up shop and go back to a cube somewhere, buttering someone else's bread, accruing time off, wearing nylons, if I can't be more assertive about getting my invoices paid and books closed. I also know darn well I chose this freelancing career, and the thrills and chills that come with it.
I know my emailed invoices aren't the norm, meaning they don't come the traditional, USPS/kill-a-tree/burn-some-oil method of delivery. I know we're bucking the system by doing business this way. I know such stellar turn-around time on my end can't possibly be reciprocated in the accounting office, and I don't expect it to. I know what it feels like to go out to the mailbox everyday and find nothing from you, 6 weeks, 2 mos, and occassionally - almost a year after I created something for you at your request.
I know what it feels like to have to make excuses and concessions to my vendors and utility providers - repeatedly.
But I'm sure in the end it'll all work out. I know you're good for it.