The Hardest Part of Freelancing and How to Deal With It.

Sometimes People Just Don't Pay You.

The hardest part of my job isn't finding work or even finding clients, it's the occasional client that suddenly stops paying you. Thankfully, these are blessedly rare but they do happen from time to time. No business is immune to a client or customer than decides to simply not pay for what they bought.

If we were, collection agencies wouldn't exist.

The problem is that, especially in my case, it's not like I have a multi-million dollar business. I am relatively small compared to a larger company that can more or less write off the occasional non-paying customer which means when someone doesn't pay me that's a bill I can't pay or a grocery trip I don't get to make.

So, how do I deal with this?

I mean, I guess I could find a corner in my office and cry about it but that won't get me anywhere. And, unfortunately, neither does employing a collection agency because the bills I'm owed just aren't worth it. This means, like larger companies, I have to write them off and politely state that due to non-payment that I can't continue serving them. Maybe, especially with the pandemic, they ran into hard times. It happens. So, I gracefully and politely let them know I have to move on as well and, once things improve (and their bill is paid up), we can continue doing business.

The way I mitigate this problem is by pitching new ideas and to new clients all the time. I slow down by quite a bit when I find myself having as many clients as I can reasonably handle without running into overtime, but I keep my eye out for future opportunities and paying clients. Even if just one-off and very temporary, each client is as important as the next.

It's the same with any business. You have no choice but to move on once a customer or client moves on their own, whether that is through just not paying the bill or by deciding the project is finished.

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