One of the things many people need to decide is how to take their idea to the next level. Do they really want a true business or a hobby? This is a tough decision and not as easy as it may seem.
I have asked this question of many small business owner who come to me for advice over the last 5 years. Many have the answers but many say one thing and their actions show a completely different answer. Last week I ran into a scenario that showed exactly that.
I am going to outline the situation so people can understand what not to do. I am not going to mention their name, website or location.
Back in November A came to me to ask me to move their website from one domain to another. Normally this is a simple process that can take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours using the correct tools. I also said that was based on experience but I have concerns about your web host. If I run into hosting issues it could take longer.
The job was postponed and post postponed I reached out in May knowing that if it was postponed one more time I would drop the project all together. They committed to date in June.
Sure enough I ran into major hosting problems. I informed the client and they asked me to finish the job. It ran 7 hours longer the expected. There was nothing that could be done since hosting issues caused the overrun. The client was very aware of the issues because they were getting regular email updates and we had spoken several times on the phone. Not only that i provided a discount of 5 hours to help bridge the gap. So the cost overrun was really 2 hours.
Once the job was completed I sent an invoice. All terms of my invoices are due on receipt of invoice. This was discussed up front before I started the work. Over a week had gone by and I asked when I would receive payment. The client said they had to wait for another payment from one of their clients to pay my bill. They would contact me on Friday. At this point red flags start coming up in a big way.
Friday’s day of business came and went. I sent an email around 6pm and the email I got back said they were at a volunteer event all day. Really you made a business commitment and you could not keep it. Not good at all. Then they said they would e transfer me the money. It turns out they send it to the wrong email address event though my email sent with the invoice spelled out the right address.
To add to it they basically refused to resend the transfer till they got the first one back. I had to tell the client to log into there online banking or call the telephone banking and have the first transfer cancelled. Then I finally received payment.
This all happened while I was out having fun with my partner and friends on Friday night. I was not happy.
A couple of lessons here:
- If you wanted to make payment arrangements you should have before the excuses started.
- Do not discount your hours.
- If you have issues paying for work, do not hire someone.
- If you are so tight that you can not pay a $150.00 bill then you should not be in business.
- It is not my issue that you have to pay other bills I am one of those bills.
- It is not my issue your client did not pay you, your bill is still due.
- Decide if you have a real business.
If you want to have business then treat it as one, not as a hobby.