My friend and mentor, Lee, just gave me a HUGE giggle!
You see, she's a full time freelance writer with a team of writers working with her. She writes web content for various companies around the world. She ghost-writes ebooks for various Internet marketers who call themselves "gurus" in their industries.
She also writes her own ebooks and novels and has a consistent column in a couple of different print magazines as well.
Yesterday she told me that one of her clients was consistently late with all payments for work completed and has been for more than 2 years. She chases payments every month from this client and has done for two years.
Now, for a professional writer with such an impressive publishing history - this surprised me!
But she said that she kept accepting the work to ensure her little team of writers was always busy. She doesn't touch any of that work herself.
Over a cup of coffee yesterday, she admitted that her constantly late paying client had been contacting her alter-ego for about six months. Yes, that's right. My mentor has a pen name that she operates as a completely separate business entity. That pen name is also responsible for several series of best-selling ebooks on Amazon, along with a variety of globally-based clients.
And now that consistently late paying client is delaying payments to the pen name as well.
Easy. She increased her writing rates in her real business name and emailed him with new payment terms. He still hasn't responded to her.
Instead, he emailed her alter-ego pen name asking for an urgent order to be completed in the next two days. Her alter-ego responded with a polite and professional request to please pay the unpaid outstanding invoice for work already completed last week before any further work will commence.
And so it begins.
The client hasn't paid EITHER of her writing businesses and is still demanding work to be completed.
She increased her rates even further under the name of the alter-ego and amended her payment terms to "payment up front only". She also included mention that any work completed and not paid for would have the copyright ownership reverted to her and would be sold to other clients to recoup costs. If that client was found to be using copyrighted material without paying for it, it's lawsuit time!
This all sounds like a lot of grief for one client who can't be bothered to treat writers like professionals that his business relies on. I know I wouldn't bother!!
But my friend said to stop and think about it for a moment. So I did...
It occurred to me after a while that when he was dissatisfied with her own services, he went searching for the competition instead - and found her alter ego. That means she set up her business so that she's her OWN competition.
That's genius! Seriously! If clients don't like quotes they get from her, they go to the competition and get another quote - which is still her! Fortunately, she's really good with SEO (search engine optimization) so that both of her businesses show up first in any search for that particular industry, so clients always end up contacting her one way or the other.
Personally, I'm impressed. This is why she's my mentor. Just awesome :)