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Christian Business Owners Still Get Paid
As a Christian business owner, do you have people constantly waiting to give you your services for free? Do people give you a sob story about why they can’t pay and expect you to give them a break? Do they call you a passive aggressive Christian hypocrite if you send a late payment reminder? It can be difficult to balance wanting to help people and not giving your services away for free. Remember, as a business owner you are in business to make a profit. You must protect your personal and business credit score.
Most business owners, service providers, and professionals have business expenses, as well as living expenses to include a mortgage, utilities, and possibly student loans. Creditors want to be paid. Creditors charge a late fee if you don’t pay them on time. They can possibly report it to a credit bureau and this can negatively affect your credit score. So how do you balance helping others and being a Christian business owner? My tips below will help you operate as a business owner while honoring your Christian values.
1. Contracts – Use very detailed contracts. Don’t rely on handshake agreements or word of mouth. Put the agreement or terms of service in writing. Be very specific about due dates, amounts due, late fees, etc. This includes barter contracts. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by not holding the other party responsible for honoring their part of the contract.
2. Billing Procedures – Establish procedures and follow them. If you do not want to deal with this task then outsource it to a Virtual Assistant or bookkeeper. This includes sending late payment reminders. We recommend that you work with a collection agent so that when necessary the agency can go after the late payer. Using a collection agent will save you headaches and heartaches. Plus, you know they’re following the law and you won’t get in trouble for accidentally breaking a debt collection law or rule.
3. Choose your words carefully – I have learned when someone asks me if I can help or they say “so and so say you can help me” and I answer “yes, I can help” that they expect the service for free. I had to learn to respond with something stating that this is a commercial service that I provide. Also, I find when someone asks if they can skip a payment on vacation, I have a script ready to address that late fees will be assessed. Again, this task of communicating with individuals can be better left to your guardian or a Customer Care Manager. Listen very carefully to what is being said by the person requesting your services. We also do not recommend giving free strategy sessions. When you charge a small fee for an introductory session and charge for missed appointments, you eliminate the tire kickers and snatchers and grabbers. Beware of people who contact you on social media via Messenger pretending to be your friend and then immediately want free advice or services.
4. Know how much you can give away or discount – Set clear boundaries. I don’t mind helping people. But it gets old helping the same people over and over again. You have to know your distance point. Look at the person on social media. If they’re having fun while you’re at home eating ramen noodles, don’t get mad. Use it as a lesson. Just let that person skip a payment so you can have fun. The person has no respect or value for you and your services. We recommend that you know how many scholarships you can give each year and when you have exhausted that amount you know that you cannot help anyone else for free. Also, know what discount you will give to friends and family.
5. Know your worth – Don’t forget that you provide a valuable service. Just because someone else doesn’t see the value doesn’t mean you don’t have any. Don’t let the snatchers and grabbers get you down. Learn to identify who is not your ideal customer and learn to identify where they stand and go to find a new fishing pond.
Those trying to steal your products, intellectual property and services always have something negative to say when you ask for payment. In our digital age, they will be just as bold to post nasty comments on social media platforms that discredit you and your Christian values. They probably “unfriend” you too. Remember, do not open a door that God has closed. Count your blessings that you weren’t friends and saw the person show their true colors.
Don’t feel guilty or ashamed about giving away your products or services for free. The funny thing is that these people don’t work for free or give their products or services for free, so you shouldn’t expect them to either. Everyone will not love you. Rejection is God’s protection.
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