June 19th, 2010
Maybe you went into business for yourself because you had a million-dollar idea. Or you wanted to set your own hours. Or you wanted to exercise your right to turn away clients who wouldn’t recognize integrity if it slapped them upside the head.
Whatever your MO for going solo, you probably hoped to make that proverbial difference in the world, no matter how small. Chances are, though, your desire to pay it forward has led you to bite off more pro bono work than you can chew somewhere along the way.
Get in over your head with non-paying clients and, at best, your schedule and quarterly earnings take a beating. At worst, you realize you’re dealing with an ungrateful, opportunistic customer, at which point resentments flare, fur flies, and bridges burn.
So how much pro bono work should you accept? How should you choose the customers to whom you donate your services? And most important, how do you ensure these friendly freebies don’t land you in the scope creep sinkhole
[Read the rest of this article on American Express OPEN Forum.]