I’m going to cut right to the chase today, dear Reader.
I want to tell you the story of a client, Lena.
She’s a life coach for mompreneurs.
She loves her work.
She loves her clients.
She doesn’t love asking people for money.
More accurately, Lena hates invoicing clients.
Like with the same “let’s do this and change your life” positive passion that she brings to her work, but it’s a “nope, this is not my thing” level of dislike for invoicing.
On our call, I asked her about a client who started working with her a few weeks back and she hadn’t received payment yet.
Her response, “Aghhh, I hate invoicing people.”
The thing is, she needs to get paid if she wants her business to be just that, a business, and not a hobby.
We dug into this a bit more.
And found that she was invoicing clients at different rates. Each package was slightly customized, by a session or two, which meant each client was paying a different price, which meant custom invoices each time.
Also, she was agreeing to let clients start work BEFORE getting paid a dollar.
Oh, and she usually forgot to pass the invoicing off to her assistant.
This was a classic 1, 2, 3 business owner issue…
- Not wanting to have standard packages for your services.
- Not holding boundaries with clients.
- Not delegating to an assistant who you’re paying to perform the very task you aren’t delegating.
Right about now, you might be thinking, “But Lindsay, couldn’t it be a money block or maybe a mindset thing or lack of confidence or something else standing in the way?”
Yep, it might be. Or it might be a practical problem disguised as a mindset issue.
Either way, why not put the systems in place that have you getting paid for you what you do while you sort your mental s#!t out?
Back to Lena, where we decided to get her payment process organized and streamlined and, most importantly, allow her to make consistent money.
1. We set up standard packages.
Once we dove into her client history and looked at how she’s really working with them, we found there was a clear pattern – 8 sessions over 4 months, plus a copy of her book and private email communications between sessions.
A few times, clients felt good and done after 7 sessions and some clients needed to stretch their sessions over 6 months, but the overwhelming middle ground was clear.
One package = one price.
2. We created standard business policies.
The invoicing problem also highlighted the fact that Lena had wonky boundaries with clients, allowing them to cancel last-minute with no penalty, expecting her to respond to emails within a few minutes, and start working with her before they formally paid her.
We put together a short but clear business policies document. It clearly spelled out what is okay and what is not okay.
And we put it on her website for all to see.
It was also something clients needed to acknowledge reading before getting started.
Having the policies document out there gave Lena the courage and clarity she needed to hold herself accountable to clients paying first.
3. We systematized the whole damn payment process.
Now that we knew the clear majority of how clients were working with Lena and she felt confident holding them and herself to the professional standard she’d envisioned but wasn’t executing on, we were set for the final systems step.
We created email templates for Lena and her assistant to use to sell and onboard the clients.
Instead of customized invoices for each client, we created a payment button through PayPal.
When a client was interested to work with Lena and gave her the “yes”, she sent an email (based off the template and personalized for that client) with the link to complete their payment. And because the package and price was the same, the link remained the same.
Then, once they formally paid, both she and her assistant were alerted to the payment, which triggered an onboarding process that her assistant handled:
- A welcome email was sent, which invited the new client to schedule their first session and complete their pre-work
- A copy of Lena’s book was mailed with a personalized note
- A follow up email was sent before the first session to check-in on the pre-work (if it wasn’t received beforehand)
The business policies became something clients read and acknowledged when scheduling their first session.
What used to be a process where half the clients paid upfront and half she had to chase down for payment while transforming their lives at the same time was now changed.
The clarity was felt on all sides – for Lena, who now was getting paid each and every time for her work.
For Lena and her assistant, who now had clear roles established for who was handling what when new clients started.
For her clients, who now knew what was expected from them.
The energy behind how Lena showed up for her business changed. She didn’t feel like she was fumbling through the process of being a business owner. She felt confident and proud of the business she had built.
And it showed.
What is one business task that you plain ol’ just hate doing, like Lena felt about invoicing? Tell me what that is below – can’t wait to hear from you!
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash