A friend referred a client to me for my freelance writing/editing business. After I took the assignment and then delivered it, it seemed as though this new client was one of those who wanted my services but didn't want to pay.
Weeks went by, and I just wrote it off. But then she called me and wanted me to do some more work for her. I was still resentful about the nonpayment, so our conversation unfortunately devolved into a shouting match.
As we yelled at each other, I finally realized this whole thing wasn't right. So in the middle of flying invective, I tried to collect my thoughts.
Was I in business merely to provide a particular service? Was the only important result the paycheck? In my heart, I didn't think so. I knew good business practices include building good relationships, based on respect and professionalism.
I realized that it was frankly a bad business tactic to indulge in thinking poorly of my clients. I had to see everyone as a child of light, as a creation of Spirit, not just those who behaved as I thought they should.
This stems from the spiritual discipline I try to follow. I study Christian Science, and it teaches that each one of us is the loved creation of the "One 'altogether lovely'" - the divine Father-Mother (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 3). I couldn't get away with thinking of this client in any other way than as my beloved sister; we are daughters of the same Parent.
This slight change in perspective on my part brought the instant insight that she had a point of view, too. Maybe I wasn't handling this situation as well as I could have.
So, in mid-yell, the light dawned. I changed from thinking of her as someone who tried to cheat me to thinking of her as an honest businesswoman just doing her best.
As I opened my thought to seeing her in a new way (all this happened in a flash), I suddenly had the words to say. I apologized and expressed my earnest desire to make her a happy client. I agreed to do the additional work for her.
This just felt better. We got off the phone, and I finished the project. I think I did a pretty good job for her after all. And now there was peace where there had been resentment. (She did indeed send payment for the work completed.)
I learned a lesson that day - love those clients. Actually love them. And don't stop with them. There's a whole world who could use it. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action" ("Science and Health," p. 454).
If I expect to make it as an entrepreneur, I have to love those clients. I have to love their businesses, love the idea of helping them succeed, love making their prosperity an absolute priority. And you know, they'll feel the love. They'll love working with me - and they'll pay me.
So I've made love a part of my business plan. And receipts are up.
A new commandment
I give unto you,
That ye love one another;
as I have loved you,
that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.
John 13:34, 35