How to avoid unpaid invoices and the best ways to deal with clients who pay you late


In today’s blog post, I’ll explain how to avoid unpaid invoices and the best ways to deal with clients who pay you late, or even worse, don’t pay you at all.

Unpaid invoices and late payments regularly plague freelancers, consultants, and small business owners. If this problem is hurting your business’s bottom line, you’ll be glad to know that there are some ways to deal with habitual late payers that really work. I’m going to cover five ways to handle those pesky unpaid invoices and late payments, proven to work by real small business owners like you.

1: Send your invoice to your client right away. One of the best ways to get paid right away by a client is to send your invoice immediately after providing the good or service that you’re charging for. Ryan Holden is the director of Progressive Heating and Air, an HVAC company based in San Diego, California. He says that he has seen a 70% reduction in overdue invoices by sending his invoices early. By sending your invoices right after you finish a job, you’re top of mind for the client and they don’t have a reason to forget you. Invoicing software also makes it easy to get your invoices to your clients ASAP and reduce the friction around payments. For example, CloudBooks lets you schedule and send recurring invoices to clients that you regularly work with. You can even send invoices on the go from their mobile app.

2: Let your clients pay you online. The easier you make it for your clients to pay you, the sooner you’ll see their payment hit your bank account. Matt Woodley, a freelance digital marketer based in San Francisco and founder of MoverFocus.com, has seen a 10% increase in on-time payments since he’s expanded payment options for clients. Now Matt’s clients can pay by credit card, bank transfer, or PayPal. Payment processors like CloudBooks will integrate with your invoicing and accounting software and let customers pay an invoice online.

3: Ask your clients for an upfront deposit. Even asking for a small deposit upfront gets your client psychologically and financially invested in the work that you’ve done for them. For example, if you’re doing a thousand dollar job for a client, consider asking for a 25% payment up front and the rest after you complete the job. Dylan Sprouse, the co-founder of eco-friendly transportation site, SprouseBros.com, says that asking for upfront payment along with some other strategies has resulted in 80% of their clients paying them on time. Sprouse says requesting a deposit is a good way to gauge the professionalism of a client before you even start working with them, and you’re already setting the tone that being paid for your goods or services is an important part of the professional relationship.

4: Offer early payment discounts and charge late fees as needed. Many small business owners have luck with offering early payment discounts to their clients. As the name suggests, this simply means offering a 3% or 4% discount on pricing when clients pay within a certain timeframe, such as within 10 days of receiving an invoice. Many budget-conscious clients will bite and pay you on time to earn the discounts and this is great for your cash flow. Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of The Slumber Yard, a mattress review site, says that about 40% of their customers take advantage of the early payment discounts, which gets them the cash sooner that they can then use for operating and other business expenses. On the flip side to early payment discounts, it can be a good idea to set and enforce late payment penalties. If the client’s known advance that you’ll charge, for example, 10% for an invoice that’s one week late and successively higher penalties for even later invoices, they’re more likely to get things in gear sooner.

5: Create a drip campaign for reminders. This is actually a tip from Brian Cairnes, CEO of ProStrategix Consulting. Drip campaigns are email marketing campaigns which automatically go out to customers on a set schedule. Normally, drip campaigns are used to nurture clients through a sales funnel, but Cairnes adopted the strategy for invoice payments. He ensures that email reminders to make a payment go out two days before the payment is due, the day that payment is due, and then plus two days, plus five days, plus seven days, plus 10 days, plus 14 days, and plus 21 days. After the invoice ages 28 days, it goes to collections with a penalty. Once payment is made, the client exits the drip campaign, and payment options are embedded in every email. According to Cairnes, this system decreases its late payments by 45% and collections by 72%. You can use email marketing software such as MailChimp to set up a branded drip campaign to your clients. Invoicing software also lets you send recurring email reminders.

6: To do homework on your clients. Doing a bit of research on a prospective client can go a long way towards reducing unpaid invoices in the future. Here are some tips for researching clients. First, look up their business credit report. Any business can look up the business credit report for another company and see how many accounts that the company currently has that are past due. Several overdue accounts should immediately send up a red flag. You should also ask other vendors. If you know that the business works with other vendors or fellow business owners, ask them if the client paid on time. And ask about their payment process. Before working with the client, ask about their payment process. If they have accounts payable department or dedicated staff for paying vendors, that’s a good sign.

7: Escalate the issue if needed. As a last resort, you can always escalate a late or unpaid invoice. This is most helpful when an invoice is overdue 90 days or more. You can retain a lawyer to write a demand letter on your behalf, which states that payment is due and that you’ll take legal action within a certain timeframe. Now, actually suing the client in court could be a waste of your time and resources, particularly for smaller invoices, but just sending a letter can incentivize many clients to pay. You can also hire a debt collector to chase down unpaid invoices. Just make sure that if things reach this point, don’t work with that client again.

Those are seven proven ways to deal with unpaid invoices and late payments. Following these strategies should help you improve your business’s cash flow.

An Introduction to Brand Building Through Social Media


Social media runs the world. And as a business owner, you can’t ignore this fact. If you want to build a strong brand, you should do it using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to hold a degree in digital marketing to develop a strategy that will work for your business. In this article, we will explain what steps you should take to build your brand and to retain high profits in the long run.

Step #1 – Analyze your current situation
If you want to develop an effective brand strategy, you should analyze different aspects of your business first. You should conduct research to find out whether your brand and your products are a good fit for social media. To do that, answer the following questions:
Are the products related to your niche represented on social media?
Do your closest competitors market their products on social media? Which platforms do they use the most?
After that, you should research your target audience and find the answers to a few more questions:
Do your customers use social media? Which platforms are their favorites?
How much time do your customers spend on each platform every day?
At what specific time of the day do your buyers use social media more actively?
What types of content related to your products (e.g., how-to videos, behind-the-scenes photos) engage the audience the most?
Once you collected all data necessary, you can decide what social media platforms to use, what type of content to create, and at what time of the day to publish new posts.

Step #2 – Create business profiles
The next step you should take is to create catchy business profiles. Here is a short guide for you.
Use your brand logo as a profile picture across all social media platforms. It will help you to create a consistent visual brand identity and make your brand logo recognizable.
Write an intriguing bio. Your bio may contain the motto of your brand, as well as the mission and vision of your company. Besides, bio may include a description of your products and shipment information. If you find it challenging to describe your brand, use may use writing services like Studious and GrabMyEssay or hire freelance writers via Upwork.
Come up with a unique branded hashtag and put it in the bio. Encourage your customers to use your hashtag and spread the word about your brand on social media.
Add essential contact information. Make it clear for social media users where and how they can buy your products.

Step #3 – Consider social media segmentation
In some cases, it’s not enough to have one business profile on a chosen social media. If you target a few specific groups of buyers, you have to walk the extra mile – segment your target audience and create two or more accounts.
Let’s say you sell two different groups of goods: men’s clothing and home decor items. To appeal to each specific group of buyers, you should create two separate Instagram profiles. In the first account, you will share men’s fashion tips. In the second account, you will publish interior design ideas.

Do you want to build an international brand? Then you should understand that your social media posts must be accessible not for native English speakers only.
For example, if most of your customers come from Japan and China, you should create two additional social media profiles specifically for these regions. Your content must be written in local languages, and it must resonate with the local audience.

Step #4 – Create content that adds value to your target audience
Now let’s talk about the quality of social media content.
If you want to build a strong brand, you should publish engaging, relevant, and useful posts on a regular basis. You should tell your followers more about your company, your key employees and founders. And also, you should discuss the values and principles your brand promotes.
“Brand building is not about using intrusive marketing to get short-term success. It’s about gaining trust and making lasting customer relationships in order to achieve long-term success,” explains Hilary Burns, a social media writer at SupremeDissertations.
It means you shouldn’t publish too many posts that market your products. Instead, you should share posts that provide valuable information to your customers.

Step #5 – Maintain brand consistency across all channels
To achieve the best results in brand building, you should keep the language and tone of voice consistent across all social media platforms. So before you start working on content production, you should decide what style and tone of voice you will use to engage your audience and present your brand in the most favorable light
Your tone of voice can be professional, educational, serious, friendly, conversational, entertaining, flirty, or even sassy. Your language can be simple and informal or industry-specific and formal. Besides, you should decide whether you will or will not use slang, internet acronyms, professional and scientific terms, and shortenings.
If it sounds like a tricky task for you, feel free to get professional assistance. You may hire freelance branding specialists at platforms like Fiverr and PeoplePerHour. Or, you may use brand writing services like WritingJudge and BestEssayEducation.

Step #6 – Interact with your customers on social media
The great news is that modern customers do like to interact with brands on social media. So once you create business accounts on social media apps, be ready to monitor the comments and direct messages.

For building a successful brand, you should answer all the messages, whether they are positive or negative ones. You should say “thank you” to your happy customers for choosing your products. And you should say “sorry” to your unsatisfied customers and try to fix the situation.

Wrapping up
Today, you have all the tools necessary to build a strong brand through social media. So nothing can hold you back from developing an effective branding strategy and bring it to life. Use this article as a guide, and you will avoid the mistakes that your competitors tend to make.

Dance with the Dunes in Dubai


If there is one thing that locals, residents, and tourists swear by in Dubai, then it is the desert safari. The desert is an important part of the city’s history; it is here where the Arabs first lived before they moved to the city. While you would hardly find any tribes living in the desert, the Arabs have not forgotten the dessert entirely. You can still experience the vast and mysterious desert with the desert safari. Apart from enjoying the beauty of the desert, the desert safari gives you the chance to have some adrenaline-rushing moments and a whole lot of fun too.

Desert Safari: Types
The first thing you need to consider the type of desert safari you want to go for. Dubai offers morning desert safari, evening desert safari and overnight desert safari. The morning desert safari involves only adventure activities, while the evening desert safari gives you the opportunity to indulge in both adventure and entertainment. Moreover, the overnight desert safari is an extension of the evening desert safari and gives you the chance to spend a night in the desert. Check out all the options and choose one that matches your requirements and interests.
What Happens at the Desert Safari?
As the evening desert safari is the most popular, we would talk about it in detail here.

Reaching the Desert
Most tour companies include transportation in the Dubai desert safari tours. A 4×4 vehicle would arrive at your residence or hotel to pick you up. After a 45 minutes drive, you would reach the outskirts of the city, where you would be able to treat your eyes to the endless desert areas.
Dune Bashing
Once you reach the desert, your driver would take a break to release some pressure from the tires of the vehicle. Then begins the most adventurous activity of the desert safari: dune bashing. Buckle up your seatbelts and hold onto your seats for a ride that is nothing less than a rollercoaster. While the desert safari is everyone, little children, pregnant women and people with heart ailments should avoid dune bashing.

At the Desert Camp
After your dune bashing session, you would be driven to the desert camp, where more fun activities await you. You would be welcomed with some drinks and refreshments. Stroll around the camp to check out some interesting activities like henna painting, holding a falcon on your arm and even dressing up in Arabic traditional dress.
Adventure Activities
Dune bashing is not the only adventurous thing that happens during the desert safari. On the other hand, there are several more exciting activities happening at the desert camp. Here, you get to ride a camel, try your balance with sandboarding and enjoy a fun ride on the quad bike. Some desert camps also offer a buggy ride on the dunes.

Gorgeous Sunset
While the activities at the desert are fun, do not miss one of the best things of the desert, i.e. the sunset. The setting sun disperses a golden hue on the sand dunes, giving it a gorgeous look. This is the perfect time to get some amazing photos clicked.

Dancing and Fun
As the sun sets and it gets dark, the desert camp comes alive with some wonderful performances. You would get to watch professional dancers dancing to the tunes of some striking Arabic music. You would get to see Tanoura dancing and belly dancing performances at the desert camp. Do not forget to try smoking a shisha or hookah while enjoying the dance performances.

BBQ Dinner
One of the highlights of a desert safari is undoubtedly the BBQ dinner. The buffet dinner includes the choicest dishes of both local and international cuisines. It has equal amounts of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes so that people with both food preferences can enjoy dinner at the desert.
After the desert, you would be taken back to your hotel or residence in the same SUV that you came in. There is no dune bashing at the end of the tour.

Tips for Desert Safari in Dubai
Wear comfortable cotton clothes for your desert safari.
Do not forget to wear your sunglasses and apply sunscreen to protect your skin.
Carry a jacket or stole, as it tends to get chillier in the desert after sunset.
It is best to wear open shoes or flipflops, as it is easier to clean if sand goes in.
Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.

Conclusion
Dubai desert safari is available at various budgets, starting from the most basic ones to the most lavish ones. You can choose ones as per your budget and other requirements.