There are no two ways about it- being owed money sux. It is hard enough to run a business let alone be paid for what you have done, and the fact is that most businesses fail due to poor cash-flow. Often overlooked however is the effect it has on ones mental well-being, and when we are chasing payment we experience a myriad of emotions. Having spent 18 years in debt collection and a further 5 as a small business owner not immune from a late paying client myself, I think the following order of emotions is pretty accurate, along with the thoughts that come with them:
1. Indifference. “2 days late, meh, he’s ok, he will come good”.
2. Surprise. “Geez that is not like them at all, normally they are so reliable”.
3. Annoyance. “Grrrr, that’s two reminders now and a phone call, what the hell is wrong with these people”.
4. Frustration. “I know you saw my message and I know you know it’s me calling, SO ANSWER YOUR PHONE!!”
5. Desperation. “What if they never pay. Oh god, I really need that money”
6. Acceptance. “I might just let this one go, I can’t be bothered”
7. Spite. “Right that’s it, off to the debt collectors for you, I don’t care how much it costs me”
Who can relate? Probably all of us. There are many more I could have added, but if you have experienced this roller coaster then just know that you most definitely are not alone. Cheers