“Money is looking for you.” This was one of the odd phrases an associate of mine used whenever a client wanted to pay me money owed or needed services. At the time I owned a business on the corner of a main street in town but a lot of my clients came to me by way of an ever-positive interpreter named Jose who was always out for the win-win. Because he was an interpreter I never knew if his funny phrasing was because of an odd language manipulation or if he meant to say it that way because of his positive mindset. Recently I re-learned that when money comes looking for you it’s best not to heed the call. Before I explain let me give you a quick backstory. I have been absent from this blog and pretty much from all online outposts for a few months. I made some difficult financial choices. Business was exceptionally well, but I wanted to grow and I missed some of the face-to-face time that I had with clients in my previous businesses. Because of this I thought offline was the best way to grow. Overall things have grown exponentially. In addition, I began freelancing for newspapers and magazines again, because journalism has always been my first love. So with online clients, offline work and freelancing, not to mention a major remodel of my primary house and two rentals, I’ve overloaded myself once again. (I have a tendency to do this). Not meant to be a humblebrag, I know that I have been blessed lately and I totally acknowledge that, however, there is a dark side to these blessings.
I’ll stick to the one that matters most: why would anyone say no to money?
I’ve had to turn away several thousands of dollars and it hurts. I actually at one point told my husband that I felt that I needed to ask someone for permission to turn away these clients because I was adding up the “lost revenue” and was feeling like I was making the wrong decision over and over. He assured me I wasn’t. Here are some reasons why I did it and you might consider it too:
1.) Slow pay clients I have some clients that just take forever to pay. I’m talking weeks and months. I have to invoice many times, send emails, make calls and it’s just not the best use of my time. I know they’ll pay me but they take a lot of prodding.
2.) Clients that won’t pay unless you hound them While some clients will just put it off until weeks later they sit down and pay their bills, I’ve had some clients that I know will just let it go and if you don’t bother them they won’t pay.
3.) They don’t know what they want Some clients approach me and give me an idea of what they want and we agree on what the project will be but they change it along the way. They may be fine paying the extra to change it but then they change it again. After a while this gets frustrating and inhibits the creative process.
4.) They think they hired a slave not a creative consultant There are some clients who have the money but they are demanding and demeaning and just overall hard to work with from beginning to end. This is a major emotional zapper and usually it ends up being time consuming too. People who think they paid for you to be at their beck and call will expect you to be at their beck and call. Money is value but so is my time and emotional well-being. In my real life outside of the business I surround myself with positive people and steer clear of the negatives ones who drain my happiness. Why would I change that just because someone waives some money at me? I know there are people who will argue this, “who will say customer service is everything,” or “if you have a contract that won’t happen.” But I don’t buy it. Lately I’ve been wallowing in too much work, not helping people enough, and taking on too much stress from following the money. So I decided to limit the work I’m accepting and get back to the things that matter the most to me. I’m still enjoying growing the offline business but also looking forward to reconnecting with my online friends. Money may be looking for you and you may want it just as much, but know when it’s time to say ‘no’.