Business. Basically its juggling with three balls . So forget the MBA's, the seminars and the shelves of advice sitting in bookshops. And focus your mind on just the three balls- get work, do work, get paid for work. Keep them all moving through the air and whether you are Apple in all its splendour or a mere pip like me - all is quite hunky dory
Everything else is just refinement and elaboration - particularly of the first two. Because - and just excuse me a moment while I clamber to the top of the towering molehill that my two years of experience in the freelance fray has afforded me while I broadcast this- its all about getting paid for it, isn't it.
( Fingers hesitate over the key board just for a moment there as I dimly recall the words of the great Dr Johnson - 'Only a blockhead ever wrote but for money'. In the unlikely event that there is any doubt about it - the ravishing prose splashed hereabout doesn't actually earn me anything. But this is brand development, I insist. Or its 'art'. Or it's the inevitable fall back of teachers and business gurus everywhere - don't do what I do - do what I say !)
So the sense of triumph over the commission excavated from the permafrost of the current market place and the warm glow of satisfaction for a job delivered to one's own and the customers satisfaction are all very well. But in the words of the song ( almost) 'It don't mean a thing if it aint got that 'ting'. The 'ting in question being from the imaginary cash register in my head.
When, some twenty five years ago, I was first confronted with the commercial realities of life and privileged to work for one of our finest financial services businesses, it was with not a little initial disquiet and dismay that I found I was not only expected to chase the work but also to chase the debts. I had imagined in my innocence that in some sort of Downton Abbey way there would be coarse horny handed folk below stairs tasked with dealing with such coarse matters. I quickly realised though that It was an invaluable lesson and insight into the realities of customer service.
However in those days the link between the client paying and my income was not quite so raw and immediate. Once a month the bank account bloomed gloriously with salary.
Nowadays the blossoms are more sporadic - and a bit less fulsome. And I have to prise everyone from the permafrost ( see above) myself.
However , the basic trilogy - get work, do work, get paid has generally worked out - and when there has been a hesitation in that vital last leg, a slight nudge has done the trick. In all cases but one.
In that case the sequence had been - win work, do work, invoice, wait, ' we are sorting it', polite reminder, polite reminder, strained polite reminder, its being sorted, its being sorted again. And - 21 weeks pass . we are not talking about a sum of money that will either make me or break then and there's no dispute, no problem just..... no cash.
I was in the office building the miscreants occupy just the other day. As I am sufficiently old school still to wear a tie I did contemplate for a moment nailing it to the reception desk and refusing to move till someone came across with the readies. An alternative brainwave was to copy the fundraising thermometers that you used to see outside churches and stand one outside the office extending the 'mercury' as each week passes
Now I know that delayed payments are nothing new and much experienced and more embittered voices will clamor to tell me unless the FD doesn't need a telescope to make you out at the end of the winding queue of creditors you will wait and wait your turn.
However in the new dispensation where there is a very strong suspicion that its only the masses tumbling into self-employment that are masking in some part the real scale of the current crisis ( speaking of which there is a story to be relayed in due course on ' Self Unemployment - the ultimate privatisation') it all becomes just a little more acute. This being seduced into the world of start ups and a land flowing with milk and honey need also to be cash flowing and maybe there is an increased responsibility for the corporate sector to respond to this ( though it won't)
Back to my own circumstances. I could say that its not the money but the principle. But actually its not -from first to last and most points in-between - it's the money. To pretend otherwise would be - to return to where we started this - spherical objects.