Firstly, huge thanks to everyone who shared last week’s blog promoting awareness of childhood stroke. The response was overwhelming and I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received. This weekend marked the fourth anniversary of my son’s stroke, and my interview on national radio highlighted that’s it’s still difficult to talk about it subjectively – writing is definitely easier for me.
We marked the occasion with a trip to see Star Trek: Into Darkness – which was a bit bizarre, as his first stroke was the day after we’d seen the last Star Trek film. Excellent movie, of course. If you saw the photos of me in my Star Trek uniform last year on Twitter you’ll know I’m a STNG fan – not a freakish one, mind – just the normal level of liking and dressing up…
Something unusual and a little disconcerting happened last week: I was faced with my first non-paying client. I was kind of inclined to write off the debt as a bad day and a lesson learned. A woman who had misrepresented her position at a company (she told me she owned it!) cancelled a training session when I arrived at her office to deliver it! Now, I’m not an unreasonable person by any means. If someone has to cancel a session with me I am happy to reschedule. Never in seventeen years had I even dreamed of resorting to ‘contract discussions.’
But on this one occasion, I was so annoyed. She’d booked bespoke social media training for her team and had already rescheduled once. Had she had the decency to call or email me the evening before and admit that she had lied about her position in the firm, and confessed that she had no authority to book training, I probably would have said ok. I could have spent the day catching up on other work, writing, having lunch with Gill or dancing around my bedroom. (Yes, I’ve started doing that again – let’s hear it for Donna Summer, Sophie Ellis Bexter and Chic!)
Instead, I left home at the crack of dawn, drove through rush hour traffic and lugged my laptop from the parking lot, only to be told “Oh, it’s not actually my business and my boss won’t let me spend money on training, so we’ll have to leave it. I should have called you.”
I can’t abide rudeness, and for someone to simply not bother dropping a quick email was bad behaviour beyond compare. So I explained to her that no business can run that way, and I would be invoicing, as per the cancellation clause in the contract she had received (twice!)
I don’t have time to start chasing money. I’m very fortunate in that most of my clients pay promptly on receipt of the invoice so it’s never been an issue I’ve had to deal with. And I have to tell you, I didn’t feel good about the whole thing. But business is business, and how can any small business survive if clients order services then change their minds and refuse to pay? So, after ten minutes of dilly dallying, I called up a friendly and sociable guy I’d met a couple of times at networking events, and within a week the money was in my bank! Clayton Coke is polite, professional and a super person to deal with. If you find yourself in a quandary with an unpaid bill, for whatever reason, give him a call.
As Donna told us, “She works hard for the money, so hard for it honey. She works hard for the money so you better treat her right.” Well, I don’t do THAT sort of work, but I do work hard to keep my social media clients happy!! Ask me about it here, as usual: @WeekendWitch.