Over the years I allowed contracted clients not to pay me.
I'm embarrassed to say it, but I've allowed it to happen.
Clients who'd signed an agreement to pay me a fee for my coaching.
And only paid a portion of what they were contracted to pay.
Clients who kept receiving their coaching sessions and other services, but still didn't pay.
Clients who promised to pay and never did.
It didn't happen just once – it's happened several times.
And I allowed myself to work, not get paid and not be able to recoup over $12,000.
The first time it happened – I let it go.
They'll pay. They say they will.
But they didn't.
It happened again.
And the same thing happened.
At first I was angry at them.
Why are they taking advantage of me?
Why aren't they paying me for my coaching, strategies, ideas and brilliance?
I'm helping them – they should pay. They agreed to it.
The longer it went on the more and more angry I got.
I continued to try to recoup the money – but their promises turned into silence.
I involved my team in helping me collect their payments.
I started paying someone else to help me get paid.
I continued my efforts to get paid…
But they never did.
After it happened the fourth time I realized that it wasn't them…
…it was ME.
I allowed these situations to occur.
I allowed myself not to be paid.
And the longer it went on, the more angry I got.
How could they possibly receive my services, take my time, use my brain power – and NOT pay me?
I was so angry it almost made me want to stop coaching entirely.
For a long time I held onto that anger.
And then one day I decided to stop being angry at them.
Instead I turned the anger on myself.
YES – they should have paid me.
But they never would.
And the truth is, I allowed it to happen.
Then came the choice…
I could choose to continue being angry at them, keep chasing them, be angry at myself or find a way to better protect myself and business for the future.
When I shifted the anger to myself, I soon discovered why it happened to begin with.
There were so many lessons. So many things I needed to see.
So many things at play that caused me to allow this to happen to begin with:
- My willingness to coach, serve and help others
- My belief in others
- My values (because I'd never do it to someone else – I couldn't believe others wouldn't pay me for services I'd provided).
- My easy going nature
I've done a lot of work around all of this the last few years and taken some steps to better protect myself and my business.
Here are a few things I've learned and done along the way:
- Better vet my clients: I no longer work with EVERYONE. Instead I have a very comprehensive application and interview process that allows me to better choose who I'm going to work with. Many of my clients enroll in my programs and mastermind at my live event. Getting a chance to meet in person, have them complete an application really helps to know if we're a great fit to work together.
- I increased my fees to charge what I'm worth: There's no doubt there was a time I wasn't charging enough. And in doing so I took on clients who weren't as serious as they should be about growing their business. I have countless clients who've used my knowledge and strategies to fast track their success and achieve consistent 5 figure months, 6 and multiple 6 figure years because of what I know. I've invested to learn this and applied that information to grow my own business. I know that what I know can help others achieve multiple 6 (and even 7) figures faster than attempting to do it on their own. I deserve to be well paid for the knowledge and support I provide to help others get there. It's the same for you. All that you know and offer is what you need to take into account when you're charging what you're worth.
- I deal with things immediately: No more waiting to have conversations. Now we handle things immediately so if there's a problem, there's no letting things fester and build up. I work with my team to get in touch with clients immediately the moment there's a payment issue.
- I enforce contracts and terminate access to my programs upon non-payment: During that time I wasn't great about adhering to the contracts and the kind hearted soul I am allowed clients to continue in my programs even when they didn't pay. I stopped being so flexible about payments and changed my policy around that. What people don't realize is that ONE non-payment trickles down throughout an entire business. One client not paying impacts how they pay their staff, their expenses, their personal expenses. It also means that if one client is taking time on your calendar and not paying – that means you can't work with another person who can. Now we have a policy around how we handle this. No coaching services are provided when payments aren't made.
- I created an attractive Pay In Full payment option: Allowing clients to receive a preferred rate for paying in full can mean that you're not chasing payments month after month. Often times it's when clients pay monthly that you'll have a non-payment situation. Many people think they don't need to charge more for a monthly option – but to administer a monthly option requires more resources. So adding at least a 10% (or even 20%) additional fee isn't uncommon.
- I forgave myself: Although I wish I'd had that $12,000 – I've since given up on it ever being paid. It's a loss I allowed to happen and I've done significant work on my mindset and policies to help protect myself from it happening again. I forgive myself for my kindness and generosity – and have developed a stronger backbone that now protects me.
Looking back, I'm glad that I've learned these valuable lessons. I needed them to test some boundaries, know my worth and take my business more seriously.
There's a fine line between being kind and being taken advantage of. If you start to see that you're being taken advantage of – take a good hard look at what you need to change in your business, your policies and your mindset.
You can't run a business on kindness alone.
Now I'd love to hear from you. What's something you're not going to continue putting up with in your business? How are you making some changes to better protect yourself? Let me know in the comments below.
And when you’re ready for some help with your business, here are a few ways I can be of help:
- Schedule a COMPLIMENTARY Business Breakthrough Session: where we’ll meet virtually to discuss how you can reach your next revenue goals.
- Join my Scale to Six Mastermind: I currently have two spots open for coaches and service based business owners who want to scale their business to 6 figures and beyond. Want to learn more? Schedule a time to speak with me. Simply apply for a FREE conversation here.