Get a PO#, or why acting in good faith isn’t enough.

Today business moves at blinding speed, clients often find my company via Google and engage me through email. Sometimes they kick the tires, want a quote or otherwise engage me. Sometimes they engage my services ask me to assist them and the relationship proceeds towards a contract and deliverable.

Sometimes however, people take advantage, have you do unsolicited consulting, some even have you do their jobs for them because they are too busy thus making you their virtual assistant. When this happens Get a PO#. Don’t be afraid to stop the process and make sure you are getting paid. Never assume it.

I recently had two companies engage me. The first unfortunately did the later. I assumed because they had me representing them and my company to a third party that an assumed contract was formed. When another potential bit of business contacted me about work on the same day I referred them to another video producer I did so because I was already engaged in this previous project.

Courtesy extended to this client was never returned and I was left with no shoot on that day. The initial contact became “very busy” and relegated the project to someone else who then hired someone else. I didn’t think badly of this potential client, I just felt powerless to the situation. An opportunity started then stopped and I was not driving.

When you are engaged for services always ask for a PO#, never assume that you are operating in good faith, stuff happens that is beyond your control sometimes and having a #PO certainly helps secure the process. Don’t be afraid to get paid.


I must report that I did something different about the above situation. I stayed engaged. I was professional but I sent emails to the original client and re-expressed my interest in working with him. I also explained my take on what happened.

We talked yesterday at length and I was re-hired to do this project. We both realized that we had never spoken on the phone and perhaps that is why it was so easy to dismiss the situation previously. Old fashion communication, talking and listening rued the day. I guess what I learned from all this is that once the email communication is achieved, make the phone call no matter how busy the other person is. Engage them, listen and good things may happen.