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How to bring up payment with a client

So every self employed person has had to deal with this. The awkwardness of asking for the money that you rightly deserve is like nothing else. The more confrontational of us may have no issue with this, however us introverted folk may dance around the subject for as long as possible until it absolutely needs addressing.

For some, the talk of finances can be a touchy subject. However I believe that if you’re providing someone with your time/a service/a product then you deserve to be paid for that, especially if you’re trying to run a small business.

In every industry there’s going to be some people who will try and blag things for free, people are greedy and want to get as much as they can without having to pay for it. People shouldn’t expect you to work for free though, and unless it’s for a charity or a cause you believe in, or if you know it’s going to help you and your business in some way, then don’t bother. Don’t settle for less than you deserve and do not sell yourself short just to please others.

So how do you approach the subject? In the instance that you have completed the work and sent off an invoice and the client still hasn’t paid….

My advice would be to simply send a polite reminder email.

“Dear …, just wanted to confirm that you received the invoice I sent earlier. Let me know. Thanks, …”

If still no payment…

“Dear …, just a little reminder about the invoice I sent on …date… If you could pay me within the next few days that would be amazing. Thank you, ….”

At this point, unless your customer is a complete douche they should pay you. The longer time goes on, the more blunt you can be, but always keep it professional, no matter how pissed off you get.

In the instance that someone has approached you about a project and hasn’t mentioned payment…

You could simply state from the get go “yes this sounds an amazing idea, this is how much I would normally charge for this kind of work. Let me know”

Or, if the conversation has progressed a little too far in and it gets to the point where it’s awkward to bring up, you just have to bite the bullet and approach the subject head on “I would definitely be interested in this, in regards to budget, what did you have in mind?”

At this point you can gage what your client/customer was thinking. I'd also recommend doing some competitor research if you are unsure about how much you should be charging.

In the instance that you are offering to do work for a company/are proposing a project…

• be confident and know your worth

• be polite and friendly

• be reasonable with what you offer

• understand that different people have different budgets and try to adhere to that respectfully

• if someone has agreed to an amount prior, you are perfectly within your rights to ask for it, unless another agreement has been made


Be aware about offering special deals to people, when they go on to recommend you to others, they will also expect the same treatment and you could end up selling yourself short on multiple occasions.


Stay true to yourself and don't let people take advantage of you. Remember you're worth more than that.


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