Why do I feel my consultation is taken/applied/effective, but I feel guilt when it's time to Invoice for Services Rendered? Advice: HELP ME HELP ME?!
How NOT to be my own bill collector? Is 18% to much to charge after an overdue bill? Most effective avenue to collect on past due amounts ASAP? How much are YOUR Consulting rates?
That feeling of "guilt" is a familiar one. You feel like you have done so less to earn so much, and hesitate, and want to do more, or to charge less.... But beware: it can be a harmful way of thinking in a long run. So harmful that, you might start feeling less passionate towards what you are doing.
So, my suggestions on this matter would be as follows:
1. Keep things simple and straight. You have to charge for your consultation, and you have to charge right! Charging too low might cause the other party question your capabilities, charging too high might cause them re-think about their budgets. So, if your services are being required, it means you are charging right (not too low, not too high). It is as simple and straight as it is.
2. Try to avoid discussions on the matter of payment and such. These things should be talked at the beginning, agreed with, signed on a piece of paper (contract, agreement, memorandum, or something like that), and forgotten by your side. From that point on it becomes the other party's legal obligation to come up with the payment (of course, assuming your consultation is taken/applied/effective and they are happy with it).
3. Try to avoid any hand-to-hand payments. Cash is always the king but in these matters it is better to know that the payment will be transferred to your consultation account at a bank (by the way, it is also a good idea to keep a separate banking account for these purposes). Then, at the end of a month you can visit the bank and transfer as much as needed to your personal accounts.
4. Encourage the feeling that you need to do more to earn every penny you get. But do not overdo it! Keep in touch with your client. Ask how they are progressing. Provide them with additional information and support (that was not mentioned at the very beginning that you would do). Arrange meetings (or a lunch) outside the office (of course, if it is convenient for you). These and similar actions will make you feel better and will most positively affect your relations with the client. Most probably they will become your long-time customers after a while (since they will know that you can be more of a help than they thought you would). And don't forget, overdoing these with any one customer can put you away from all your other tasks.
5. And don't forget: it is just a business :).
Good luck with all you are doing. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to share with us. If you have any business in Azerbaijan or Caucasus region, we will be honored to support you with any needs.
Just believe in what you do and that you are giving the value that you are charging every time you help a client. Be confident that your worth that value and you'll have no guilt because your just exchanging one thing for another at the same value. Have confidence in what you give to your clients. I'm sure they think your worth everything you charge them.
I can sympathize. I feel guilty when I tell people my hourly rate or how much it will cost to file a patent application. You want to be able to help people with the services you can provide and, for a part of you, your desire to help them isn't about the money. Then, when it comes time to bill them, it feels contradictory to your other instincts.
We had a snow storm a couple of weeks ago and I had a neighbor who was out of state. After I was done clearing our driveway, I went over and cleared theirs, knowing they'd have trouble getting into the driveway without that assistance. Helping people is doing something for them without expecting anything in return. When you demand payment for your help, it is an admission that the service you were providing was not help, but an exchange of service for money. And that debases any virtue you internally associated with helping them.
All I can say is, you need to bite the bullet and get over it. When you are working, you are providing a service for a fee and if you need to feed your inner virtue, I'd suggest volunteering your services at a local non-profit.
How to collect? Make sure they execute a contract when you agree to provide services. Make sure the contract includes a monthly interest rate for overdue bills that is permissible within the law. And apply it. When the interest reaches about 25% of the services, I send it to collections and they get paid a percentage of the fees collected. You want to spend your time providing your services, not chasing delinquent accounts - delegate that to a collections company.
Your consulting rate is fair. If it wasn't, you'd be looking for advice to bring in business instead of looking for collections advice.
I SOOO know what you mean! I've learned, though, that it's all about PERCEIVED VALUE. You and I know what goes into the work that we do. It's not difficult, mostly because we're skilled at it. If we weren't, we'd be doing another type of work.
But what you need to think about when generating that invoice is *what is it worth to THEM?* Your clients hired you because they can't do it themselves. They value your talents far more than you do. They're also willing to pay someone else to do it much more than you would.
So, try this simple exercise when invoicing. Figure out what you *think* it's worth, then DOUBLE that number. That's about what it would be worth to anyone else.
Besides, when you cheapen your rates, you cheapen the service in their eyes. Think about it. If you took your car to an mechanic with transmission problems and he quoted you $430 to fix it, wouldn't you wonder if he or she really knew what they were doing?
You're good! Your clients can attest to that. So charge them what it's worth, girl!
I can pass on a story that a dear friend of mine told me. She is an amazing graphic artist and designs logos. She has worked with companies both big and small and is passionate about her product. One day a client asked her after receiving her bill, "How long did it take you to design that anyway?!?" Very calmly and confidently she replied, "20 years..."
It is all about the value of the knowledge that you have and how that impacts your clients, NOT how long you know the advice took to write in a document :)
Adrienne, your consultation is valuable to your clients and it is important that you monetize that value in a way that is meaningful to them. Think about retail, if something is free or inexpensive have you ever thought about whether it is too good to be true or the quality is very poor? If you can relate your consulting to a business benefit (i.e. it will help your client grow sales by 10% or save $100K) then your fee is not only covered but it is difficult for the client to say no. Although you should always strive to measure results, even when you can't, establishing perceived monetary value is important.
One the topic of collections, if you have delivered value, unless your client is in money troubles or an overall shady business, you should expect your bills to be paid. Reminders and leniency is unfortunately sometime part of the game but if you have uncollectables, I would turn them over to a service who can follow up on your behalf without you spending your valuable consulting time being a bill collector. Best of Luck!
These avenues are protocol however it's seemed as of late a "Quick" call turns into an epic Consulting Call. I set the parameters in which I work and make them very clear as to what works and doesn't work for me. Experiencing someone determine their own terms, hearing countless excuses, etc... Has most definitely made me lose sight of why I do and why I love my job.
2014 Restructure = *Amendments to ALL paperwork pertaining to protocol, Contracts are signed, Acknowledgements signed, Confidentially Agreements signed, before an order or service is executed. *No terms offered anymore, Credit Card # on file & updated as the job moves forward. No legwork until Acknowledgement of "Job Description" is signed and sent back with total understanding of whats expected by all parties. 1/2 Due up front, Remainder P.O.D. There won't be any more exceptions. All Sub Notes of unforeseen costs included on all paperwork.
It's often easy to skip protocol in this business. Unfortunately, when a job is needed yesterday it's imperative that the proper paperwork is completed immediately. This isn't a difficult job, it's fun. But 1 hiccup can bury all we've worked so hard for. So why not tighten the ship?!
Thank you for your input Shahin, Joseph, Todd & Michelle. Much appreciated
The 7 previous answers are all great - and should provide you with the personal insight of the respondents and how they've each managed to overcome what has been referred to as "imposter syndrome".
Here are two very good articles on the subject:
Bottom line - you're not alone in failing (from time to time) to appreciate your own abilities. And while we all feel 'worth a little less' on occasion, it's important ot address the issue that can affect your very livelihood.
You're not in it alone - and judging by the fact that you're looking for insight and answers in this type of forum - you'll probably overcome the 'imposter syndrome' very soon and be offering your own insights.
As others note, your feelings are common, we all have them.
On the other hand, however, your services are accepted and you were hired to deliver them. You are worth what you are charging, as long as your rates are fair. From what you have written, they do seem accepted and fair.
For overdue payments, your agreement should include appropriate terms. The date payment is due is most important but there should also be a clause for how late payments will be handled. Rather than refer to a third party, which can get expensive, my preference is to work with the client to execute payment. Scheduling a telephone call with the subject in advance usually works.
Best wishes for success,
Directional Healthcare Advisors
Prior to applying your consulting mind to a client's opportunity, the client should have read and signed your agreement, which describes the work you will do, the fee (project or hourly) you will charge, bonus for exceeding expectations, the expected payment date of an invoice, a past due of 10% after 60 days and 15% after 90 days, and collection agency after 120 days.
If you do quality work for an agreed fee, you should not feel guilty.
As an entrepreneur you will be the bill collector until you add a business manager/bookeeper who will make the collecting calls. This person should always get friendly with the client's bookkeeper.
Consulting rates depend on level of experience, difficulty of project and regional prevailing rates.
My first thought to your question is about Who Your Are? Not Who You Want To Be. I'm going to be brave and challenge you as the best way I know How --- To love someone is to challenge them with respect. I respect you and I wish for you to go forward and have an awesome business.
From what I can tell there are some limiting beliefs around money, around your own self worth, around the beliefs you hold about the value of yourself and your skills in the world. Once these are addressed, you will certainly move past the guilt. Its not about comparing yourself to the competitor. Its about being the best you can be.... Thank you for being brave to put these questions out there.
a. How NOT to be my own bill collector?
Look at this wording. Whatever comes out of your mouth is reflection of how your thinking about the topic.
What do Bills mean too You? Does it mean, that you can't handle the cashflow that you so desire? Does it mean that your out of your depths?
Whats the feeling that comes up "When you say BILLS" I sense is a low energy, exhausting energy.
Reframe this too something like " I invoice each day, the amount I give way to others, I trust this is a honourable amount for the services rendered" It is not up too me to save them, to figure out their own financial issues or too feel sorry for them"
If your clientele are having trouble with not paying. Look at respect. Do your current clients respect money, respect themselves.
2. Is 18% too much to charge after an overdue bill?
Why are their overdue bills? Are you missing something in the sales process or not having the conversation about their own budget and financial situation.
Converse with them as a human being from the heart not the head. There may be a simple reason why the bill is overdue. Negiotiate a payment plan and ask them to contact you.
I don't want to make your situation worse by giving you an 18% charge since the bill is overdue, however I also have to feed myself. I would love to continue this business relationship, so I honour you and respect you, I hope you will do the same and talk to me about your situation.
3. Most effective avenue to collect on past dues amounts ASAP?
Give them a call yourself. Your human, they are human. Leave them a message. For them to not be paying --- Are you actually giving them the value that they need. My intuition is saying - You may be giving them the value you need, not the value they need.
4. How much are YOUR Consulting rates? This is a question, not needing to be asked. You are a unique individual, with a unique business. If you are asking this question, look at your own strengths, weakness's and ask WHERE is the WOW factor in my business.
I hope this answer helps you. I am also learning to be the best sales and health coach possible so feedback is well received.
Enjoy your day.
I do 8% each billing cycle.
Here are some other ideas....Collect 1/2 up front. Have them secure it with a credit card - Then you can auto bill and collect fees monthly.
I have an assistant who is great at making the follow up calls to get payments. Do not be afraid to send them to collections. It doesn't feel good but it does help.
My rates depend on what I am doing. I have a daily rate for speaking and training. I have an hourly for coaching and consulting.
Are you asking for at least half up front? I have found I need to do that and outline the work to feel better about asking for the balance of payment.
Having trouble embracing capitalism are we? My recommendation is to invoice half up front and half due at the end of the consultation. I would invoice both prior to starting.
The best way to collect past due accounts is to call your contact and talk about it. Consulting rates? Mine are $1,000 a day but I imagine they vary based on experience, skill and education.
I've been in both situations: having others to collect the payments and manage my finances and doing it myself, and I must confess I prefer the last one. First thing you have to do is getting a good project and financial management software, this will save you a lot of work. Second, you must acknowledge that if are good at your work then you deserve to be rewarded as well.
The third step is getting everything documented, when a client asks for proposal do it formally, send out all the specifications, time table, legal terms, values and payment conditions. And most important: set shares of payment per delivery. The first payment must be done in advance, as soon as your proposal gets approved, the following when your deliver the first part of the job, then another on the approval and the last one when the whole job is finished.
This must make things easier for you.
I don't have the answer to the second part of your question but on the first part I can tell you that you are feeling guilty because your subconscious is thinking that you are not worthy of the money. Even if you would charge them half of what you are charging you would still have the same feeling. You have to come clear with your self image and I said self image not self-estimate. When we have difficulty charging for a job that we do well it is often due to the fact that we are having some difficulty accepting that we offer valor to other and that valor is not for free. You see our education has often told us that we had to work hard to make money and that when we were not working hard we were not worthy of the money some even think that when we offer valor to other it should be for free because only hard working tangible work is worth money. I don't know you and I certainly don't intent to hurt or insult you on the contrary I just want you to take a look at your self and ask your self a few questions .
One very effective exercise I often did and still do when need be is like so .
I first find a very quiet place and I unplug the phone and make sure no one is going to disturber.
Then I sit or lay down in a very comfortable position I pull over my eye a eye cover like we use in a plane to block the light.
I often pull over me a light blanket to stay warm.
I close my eye and I take 3 deep breathe breathing from my belly and filling my lung last breathing from the nose very slowly I hold the breath counting 1 to 5
Then I expire through the mouth very slowly with a very small opening on the mouth and I say in my mind and visualize with my eye close the number 3 until all the air is out and seeing the number 3 getting smaller each time I say it
I repeat and do the same for the second breath but I use the number 2 and with my last breath I use the number 1
During those 3 big breathing you visualize the number from 3 2 1 as well as repeating in your mind relax deeper and deeper
Once you have achieve this, you have successfully brought your mind in the stage of Alpha
in Alpha you can talk with your subconscious and change any false perception you may have about any thing in life.
In that stage of mind you ask the question only one at the time per session questions like
Why do I feel guilty when I charge people after a service render?
Why I have an issue with money?
Why can't I have what it takes to collect my clients?
How can I resolve the issue of money?
How can I stop the bad feeling of guilt?
Just to give you an idea here you can formulate your questions the way you want it it you life not my. I like to tell you that you can't ask questions that commended a yes or a no for answer or questions that where you ask should I do this or should I do that. You will not find answers to those kind of questions.
When you start your session always begin with your question in mind one question per session than do the breathing and do not think about the question just focus on getting more and more relax
The way you receive the answer to your question is via your 5 senses you can hear like a voice in your mind, you can see a picture in your mind, you can have a dream like experience, you can also feel in your heart or you can smell different sent that would remind you of some thing or make you think of some think.
You can also ask to receive your answer on the screen of your TV. I know you probably think she is crazy but it is true.
if you say at the beginning of your session I want to see the answer on my TV screen believe me the next time you watch your TV you will be prone to flick to a channel and what you will watch will have the answer to your question.
You can also read lots of books on the subject or see people that clear the subconscious or hypnosis
But what I give you here is a self hypnosis method use by many to identify and clear blockage in our mind that were create from the pass for what ever reason the reason is not important what is important is that you realize that you have a kind of blockage and that you are able to clear and eliminate that blockage by your self
I also give you the Technic because it is something you will be able to use for any but any other questioning or uncertainty you may have in your life , like we all do.
I use that Technic every day some time 3 to 4 time a day it is quick effective and the best of all it works after a while you get to have answer in a very fast manner to a point where you only need a few minutes to get the answer and than you can begin asking one question after another.
Like I said I don't know you but one think I know we are all of us each one of us are worthy of money and easy happy life as long as we bring valor to other and we can't always to it for free.
Hope it help
trust me it works
Hi Adrienne - as per my comment above, in truth, 'money' itself is never an issue, rather it is a manifestation of the exchange of energy.
And that is why, just as you wrote repeatedly how you 'feel', so many people seem to have a relationship with it.
Some embrace it, feeling in control and creating positive outcomes. Others instead choose to repel it, feeling out of control and attaching negative emotions to their 'story' and claim unconvincing reasons why they lack the outcomes they want. And note that 'want' stems from a lack/scarcity (even more negative emotions hmmmm...)
While so many shelf-help courses address it, few have resolved it.
Why? Because ALL change, ALL learning and ALL behavior is internal, in the UNconscious. And there is no Conscious way for a person to connect directly with their inner truth. I, myself, invest in myself with three coaches, at top rate, to empower me to create the results I desire.
So what to do? How soon will you decide now to get a coach to empower you UNconsciously?
I empower my clients to eliminate ALL their self-limiting beliefs (and they ARE all self created) and to wipe out unwarranted negative emotional attachment to your 'story' (and you write the script).
First determine what it is that you don't know that you don't know about your relationship with the energy that manifests as what we call 'money'. I'm Board certified to apply Time Line Therapy to access directly the root/source of the problem, UNconsciously in minutes. Once there, pick up the missing positive learnings and bring them back to now. Then you are the same Adrienne that you were, now without previous limits. That's right.
And only then, all the abundant resources that have always been available to you, will become visible to you (no longer blocked by your self-limits). Just reach out and embrace them.
And the clients you then attract will be exactly those who need your services and are eager to pay you full value rate, and on time. And refer you to more awesome clients just like them.
Good news: now, going forward, you get to pick the reality you prefer: the one described by you. Or this one, above. I have 100% client success with this for over 35 years and I guarantee my results in writing.
Let me know how I can be of further service.
Well guilt may be a pretty hard word. I too find that I just don't like sending bills. If I could I would work for free. The key is to value yourself. If you are good at what you are doing, you should feel guilty about charging people money for your services. Perhaps as has been pointed out to me, you have a funny relationship with money! Some people love it, worship it, and are willing to do anything to get it including overcharging. Funny thing is these people tend to do well in business.
Is it your values and principles that make you feel this way? Maybe you should look at a different model based on for instance success. In this way, you know that you have added value and for that you take a percentage. Of course you have to be in a stable financial situation to do so but it may help you feel better. It will also be a great unique selling point. Success based selling is a very attractive model as your customers will only pay for the value you create for them.