DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been having the worst time working with one of my clients. It never was a particularly comfortable relationship, but recently it has gone downhill, and fast. Communication has been horrible; deadlines have been missed. Every time I ask what's going on, I get the runaround. So I did some research and what I have learned has got me worried. I believe they are going out of business. All signs point to that, now that I am taking an objective view. And I am really concerned about how to protect myself. I have several projects that are incomplete, but in process. I'm afraid that if they go out of business before we are finished, I may never get paid. How can I avoid that? -- Near the End, Boston
DEAR NEAR THE END: Hopefully, you have a contract with this company that outlines your deliverables and payment schedule. Next, you need an attorney who can review your situation and help you prepare for the worst. If the company goes bankrupt, it could be very difficult for you to get paid.
Watch to see what happens in the coming days. Meanwhile, do your project to the best of your ability -- with a smile. Be kind and compassionate to your client. Work hard to complete your tasks quickly and efficiently so that you get your invoices in and reconciled before things get worse. If your refreshed approach yields nothing, go back to your attorney and determine if you can be proactive in pressing for your compensation.