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A cautionary tale I must share with you

Discussion in 'General Business' started by zapcat2018, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. #1
    I want to share an experience I had 15 years ago in the hope of helping stop at least one person making the same mistake as me.

    Back in 2003 I had just started out as a freelancer and got a project from a local business. Being new they struck a very good deal with me, which required a huge amount of work for a very small fee. I worked so hard on it, doing 18 hour days during a long public holiday weekend. The weather was so nice and my friends were out enjoying themselves whilst I was sat in front of my computer slaving away. It was worth it though as the end result was so good I am still proud of it to this day!

    I duly delivered to my client who was also delighted with my work. One of my first projects delivered on time and to a high standard. It was a VERY GOOD day! Glowing with the positive feedback and went off in search of more projects to show off my skills.
    Naturally I handed over my invoice with my finished work with a 30 day payment term on it. The 30 days passed and no payment came. This is when I made my mistake. Being new to this I thought payment would arrive in full and on time with no questions asked as I had delivered on time & budget. Rather than call and ask for a status update on payment I wrote a very strongly worded email ending with the threat of legal action if they didn’t pay immediately. How naive was I?? I am sure you can imagine the unpleasant exchange which then ensued between me & the client.

    After much waiting the payment finally arrived but in that time word spread around town about my conduct when chasing my payment. Since then I get very little local work and that client still won’t talk to me. Seriously! I see him around the city and he ignores me. It’s been 15 years!! I think that shows the damage you can do over the smallest of things. Looking back I wish I had had a mentor or some form of guidance on how to handle that sort of situation. Now I take 50% upfront and work on a 14 day payment term. If they don’t pay I politely ask for a status update on the payment, which usually results in immediate payment.

    What sort of mistakes did you make as a newbie freelancer? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
    zapcat2018, Jun 14, 2018 IP
    jrbiz likes this.
  2. jrbiz

    jrbiz Illustrious Member

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    Great story and it is illustrative of a pitfall of going into business. Just about everyone pays late to some degree and it is part of doing business. Looking forward to more insightful posts from you.
    jrbiz, Jun 14, 2018 IP
  3. Patrick V.Fisher

    Patrick V.Fisher Banned

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    Great Story , thanks for sharing !
    for me, i am a newbie to freelancing , still don't have any story to share :)
    Patrick V.Fisher, Jun 23, 2018 IP