This may be your business, but you still have a responsibility to your clients or you won’t have any contracts, and thus, your business will fail. They do understand that sometimes things happen – you get sick, family gets sick – but if you start to make it a habit, it is unprofessional. You need to treat this like any other business, and even though you are working at home and can somewhat set your own hours, you also must be cognizant of the needs of your clients and understand they depend upon timely billing in order to expect the patients to pay on time. If you do the billing when it suits you, the patients don’t get bills on time, and thus your clients aren’t paid. Remember, they are probably not going to pay you until they are paid, so the sooner you process the billing, the sooner you will be paid from your clients.
It’s very important that you communicate with your clients. If a project is going to be delayed because of illness or another unforeseen circumstance, let your client know and given him a timeframe for completion. Of course, if you are ill, you may not be able to determine when you will be up to working again, but let him know you will be in touch tomorrow and keep him abreast of the situation. You may even want to involve another family member in your business just in case something prevents you from working for a few days or to allow you some vacation time. By having a backup, you always keep your clients’ work processed in a timely fashion.
When you accept a new client, be certain that you understand their instructions and how they want you to handle their account. The initial phase of account set up is when you want to make certain that you understand, and if you have any questions, that is the time to ask. Even if you have a tendency to work in the evenings, for a new client, you may want to process their work during the day in case any questions develop that you forgot to ask initially. This allows you to call them during regular business hours rather than leaving them waiting another day while you clarify instructions. Never guess what they meant; if you aren’t sure, either send an email or pick up the telephone and call.