There’s nothing worse than pursuing your dream business and having the reality of “How am I going to pay the bills?” totally deflate your buzz. The truth is, it’s a little freaky to see your expenses grow along with your business. If you’re living in fear of what Suze Orman would say about your business model, I’ve come up with 11 things to do when you’re having trouble digesting that unreasonably high invoice that just landed on your desk.
1. Offer advertising to the collector.
Send over your media kit and show them that you have the power to influence customers by advertising their product — if only they’ll offer you an extension or discount for the payment. I’ve had some really great offers to stay at hotels when they see how many engaged followers I have. I’ve also had free photo shoot offers for my business campaign since I’m also a model. Leverage your brand and your talents.
2. Find parts of your business that you can succeed without.
Can you cut back on something? Can you find a better price? Are you doing something that doesn’t get a lot of response? Cut it out.
3. Get big by staying small. Try your best to do the work you’re good at, by yourself.
I hate accounting, but Quickbooks is something I can manage for now.
4. Negotiate a payment plan.
Here's a line you can try:
"I can pay 50% now — would you mind giving me an extension period for the other 50%?"
While that can be an uncomfortable question, it's not as annoying to a collector as you might guess, because you’re (1) being transparent about your business and (2) you're trying to work out a way to get them all of the money.
5. Say to yourself, “I can do it!”
So often do we want to run from a problem; empower yourselves to face the bill, dig deep, and find a way to pay it—it’s a rewarding feeling when you actually do it! And you can.
6. Raise your prices.
When I started adding professional video segments to my blog, my bills went up—I raised my sponsor’s prices and though it was more than they expected, they were very excited about the new marketing opportunities.
7. Bless yourself.
It sounds silly, but I wave my hands over my face several times and say to myself, “Bless you,” in times of self-doubt or fear. That act is a self-fulfilling prophecy and gives me the strength to endure the rough waters.
8. Do something totally different for 25 minutes.
I had a big bill appear early one morning in my inbox and I choked on my coffee. I immediately turned on a 25 minute workout video, kicking and punching my way through how the hell I was going to pay that bill. By taking a step back to do something different — yoga, a walk, reading a chapter in a book — I give my mind the freedom to relax, which allows me to be creative. In 25 minutes, I thought of three creative ways to restructure my business and the payment.
9. Offer your repeat clients a special deal if they purchase early — or more product.
I use this method especially when I’m launching a new project and need quick start-up money to fund the work.
10. Ask your business-savvy friends for their advice, especially if they have a reputation as a financially savvy entrepreneur.
I have a girlfriend who is a serial entrepreneur. She has so much experience under her belt and she always picks up the phone when I call with a question.
11. Invest in someone else — and they’ll invest in you.
Volunteer with an organization and share your business with them. If you help them with their work, they’re going to turn around and ask how they can help you.
Next time a big bill lands on your desk and you get that sinking feeling, get creative and find a way to get the payment out the door. If the service is that important to your business, you'll find a way with sheer grit — you can do it!