Ripped Off! 3 Painful Lessons You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way (Like I Did).

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I guess it is all part of business, certainly one part that I do not enjoy…not being paid by your client.

When you bring on a new client you work hard to learn their personality, likes, and needs. You perform the service that  they have asked you to do. You answer all of their telephone calls and texts, no matter what time received. You cancel and reschedule appointments for them because they have a hard time staying on task. You give them your best and they thank you and tell you that they appreciate the work that you are doing. When the job is done, you send their invoice and…wait for it…”crickets”.  Now this particular person will not answer my calls or e-mails.

I help small business owners. The majority of my clients are local; right here in the Dayton area. Most of us know  each other or at least have knowledge of each other. Can you image the gall of a small business owner in your own town not paying for services received? What does that say about the person?  What does that say about her business?

When I contacted my attorney, she confirmed to me that this one of the painful parts of owning a business. So that you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did, I am sharing 3 Things that I Learned from being RIPPED OFF by my Client.

1. Get Your Money Up Front: The majority of Personal/Virtual Assistants that I come in contact with collect the fee for their services before the work is started. My business is still in the growing stage and I made the decision that I would not pre-collect for local small business. To cover myself, I work from a contract that was drawn up by my attorney. I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful people for the last 2 years that pay their bills. Then I met her! Now I have to collect my fees up front for all new clients for fear of non-payment.

2. You Cannot Always Trust People No Matter How/Where You Meet Them: Wow, this one is hard me. I have been blessed in my life to be surrounded by wonderful people.  Networking in Dayton is huge! I met this client through a large, well-known networking group. If you are reading this from the Dayton area I am sure you know this group and have probably attended many of their events. This is another reason that I felt confident in  taking on the work without collecting up front. We have many of the same people in common! This is certainly not the fault of the networking group. I truly enjoy the people who I have met through the group and a few have become very close friends. Then I met her! Now, I can no longer trust the fellow members of my networking groups.

3. Use Your Resources: Harvey Mackay, author of Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, lists the 16 cornerstones for a solid network. He discusses the industries you need have in your networking circle. Along with an accountant and a banker, an attorney is on that list. Have an attorney on retainer!  As I mentioned before, your attorney can help you with contracts and can move forward if/when you have to use the legal system to collect what is owed to you. Be familiar with the Small Claims Court policies of the cities your client resides in. If the unpaid debt is under $3000.00, you can file the necessary papers, go through the motions, and be awarded judgement for the amount of the unpaid debt plus your court costs.  Don’t forget your local BBB (Better Business Bureau). It is very easy to file a complaint against the business online.

It is really sad that as business owners we may have to go to the extremes that I have listed above. It is because of a few other small business owners that are unprofessional and dishonest and won’t pay their debts.   I, for one, have always paid my bills, both personally and professionally.     I would feel like a big loser if I didn’t.  I certainly would be concerned about my good name and the good name of my business in this small town if I was stiffing other business owners. Obviously, she doesn’t care about her name or her business.  What I (and now you) can do is learn from my past, use our resources, and move forward. As for her, what is it they say about Karma?

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. If you are a small business owner that needs more time during your day (and you pay your bills 🙂 ) contact me!        http://www.anotheryouerrands.com      937-416-2207

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7 Ways to Track Your Time and More

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Every small business owner and freelancer needs to be able to track their time, invoice clients, and manage their customers.   Here are a few of the most popular programs to help you do just that!
  1. Paymo:  Paymo is a great platform for small business owners.  I use it for my business and love it!  Not only does Paymo offer time-tracking and invoicing, it also provides project management. There is a free trial, so you can see if it works for your business  before you pay for it.
  2.  toggl:  Toggl is very simple and offers both  a free option and an upgraded option at just $5 per month per user.  Toggl will help you to keep track of your time and project budgets.
  3. Timecamp: Another awesome time-tracking tool has always free as long as you are a freelancer.  For larger businesses there is a 30-day trial period and then it is $6-$9 per month per user.
  4. Harvest: Harvest is loved by many.  It  allows you to track time and create invoices for  your clients. A one-user account costs $12 per month with unlimited clients, projects, and invoicing.
  5. Fusion Invoice: Fusion Invoice is a self-hosted invoicing system where you can actually own the software.
  6. Hiveage: Hiveage provides strong online billing. You can send invoices and estimates, accept payments online, track time and expenses, manage teams and view reports. Hiveage offers a free trial.
  7. Fresh Books: Fresh Books makes accounting easy.  You will be able to immediately start sending invoices, tracking your time,  and recording expenses right after signing up.  Fresh Books, which some think rivals Quickbooks, offers a free 30 day trial.

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.    If you are a small business owner who needs help contact Sheri.            http://www.anotheryouerrands.com               937-416-2207

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Summertime and the Living is Easy in Your Yard

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What’s going on in your lawn and landscaping in August?  Late summer in Ohio is known for hot, humid days.  As I write this, I am out enjoying a beautiful 80 degree, sunny morning with very low humidity out on my deck.  Rare for late July in my home town.

Blooms:  Many of your perennials like the Black Eyed Susan, Coneflower and Shasta Daisy will self-sow their seed.  If you leave the seed-heads on this will mean more beautiful blooms for next year and will provide food for your birds.  You should draw finches of all sort to Black Eyed Susan and Coneflowers.  A variety of Roses may get a second wind this month.  By late August you can think about planting landscape shrub roses.  Some of your annuals will continue to bloom in August while others will look worn and tired.  Fall will be here before you know it so it is a great time replace the  tired looking ones with annuals that are richer in color.  I tend to pick reds, oranges, and yellows so they will blend in nicely with my Harvest decorations and Mums later in the fall.

Bulbs:  Late August is the perfect time to move or divide bulbs that have become too crowded.  If the center clumps of your Iris look “woody” dig them up, separate the bulbs and replant all around your yard.

Lawns:  August lawns in Ohio are normally water deprived and brown.  As long as your lawn is not diseased, allowing the grass to go dormant will be better for the lawn and save water.  Put your sprinklers away unless we have had no rain for two weeks; then water deeply.  As soon as rainfall returns, the grass will green back up in a couple of days.  No fertilizer this month.

Shrubs and Trees:  There is not much to do except enjoy your shrubs and trees this month.  Nice shade trees are in demand in August in Ohio.  Take some time to retreat to them and relax in the cool shade that they provide.  Watch the birds and butterflies and listen to the buzzing bees and lonely sounding cicadas.

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.              http://www.anotheryouerrands.com                      937-416-2207

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