If you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, you’ve probably had a lot of thoughts regarding deposits:
“Should I or should I not ask for deposits?”
“Is it rude to ask for a deposit?”
“Why do contractors ask for deposits?”
To answer these questions about deposits, I turn to Beyonce’s 2008 hit song, “Single Ladies” (see video).
You may be thinking, “how is a song about single ladies and girls dancing in leotards related to deposits and doing business?” Well, it has everything to do with it! Continue reading to see three things that Beyonce can teach us about doing business!
1. A deposit means they’re serious.
“Cause if you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it”
To Beyonce and to all single ladies, a ring is a sign that the other person is serious about the relationship. Prior to getting a ring, two people are simply dating, with no real commitment.
A deposit in doing business acts serves a similar purpose to “putting a ring on it” in dating. You can meet with a prospective client, you can discuss the scope of the project, you can even sign a contract with them, but the best way to ensure that they’re serious is by getting a deposit from them.
“Money talks” and if your prospective client is serious about doing business, they’ll know that they need to put some money down to bring you on board.
2. Time is money.
“Pull me into your arms
Say I’m the one you want
If you don’t, you’ll be alone
And like a ghost I’ll be gone”
When single ladies invest time in relationships, Beyonce believes that they should be goal-oriented and seek “a ring.” When that doesn’t happen or if the other person has no intention of ever giving “a ring”, the single lady needs to cut her losses and look elsewhere. Time is money.
Part of doing business is meeting and talking with prospective clients. Not all prospects will become clients – that’s the truth of doing business. So when you begin to realize that the likelihood of doing business with a particular person or business is slim or that prospect isn’t quite sure about what they want, you need to move on and work on the next prospect. Again, time is money and your time is always best spent where you’ll make money.
3. Don’t put time into things that won’t grow into anything.
The reason why “Single Ladies” is such a powerful song is because it tells single ladies to respect themselves and have goals in mind. Beyonce, despite being married, knows that the worst scenario for a single lady is to date someone for years hoping for marriage, only to get dumped later… and then ending up an old maid who babysits for all her friends that are married and have kids.
In similar fashion, when doing business, don’t do “spec work.” Spec work, in my industry, the website industry, is when prospective clients ask you to design or draft something without paying you for it. The idea is that the prospect will sign a contract only if they like what they see. There may be situations or high-dollar contract bids where spec work is necessary, but for most situations, spec work has a poor return. In many cases with spec work, you basically have a prospect that does not respect your time and has a fair rate of rejection – it’s likely you’ll find yourself having put a lot of time into something and having nothing to show for it, just like an old maid.
Respect your time – don’t endlessly pour time into things that won’t amount to closed business. In doing so, you will inevitably attract and find clients that do respect your time (and vice versa).