The prostitute principle

This guy I know…

Seriously, though… I once read about a technique used by veteran prostitutes to ensure they always get paid. (And before you fire off your angry email, I’m not commenting AT ALL on the industry, either way. Frankly, people can do what they want, in my opinion… but whatever.)

It’s quite simple really.

They demand payment upfront.

Sounds simple enough, but apparently, it was a lesson that had to be learned — and patrons were far less likely to pay after the service than before. Makes sense, but I find a lot of freelancers ignore these words of wisdom.

Chalk it up to neediness…

Or wishful thinking.

But, I know this… I learned this early on in my career… trust… but verify!

That said, a lot of freelance services aren’t conducive to getting paid in full upfront. Clients can get a bit squeamish and it WILL hurt your sales.

So, what to do?

Well, through some painful trial and error, I figured out a little system for managing payments that’s led to me not having a single client fail (I mean “forget”) to pay… in the 15 years since I started using it.

In fact, most remark that they appreciate the way I do it.

It keeps them honest, but also comfortable.

So, both sides win.

And, it’s not just “having a contract”. You should, but having to go to court isn’t exactly the ideal solution. This keeps you from having to hassle with all that and instead just get clients to pay like they should.

Anyway, I share this method in Lesson 11 of my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course on Skillshare. And, you can get free access to it with a little finagling. It’s real, but there are a few hoops to jump through.

But, for one of my most popular courses… totally worth it.

Anyway, I created a video explaining how to get free access to the course (and close to 20 of my other courses) here:

Kind of a no-brainer, but up to you.



Idea Engine LLC

P.O. Box 245

Winona, MO 65588

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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Jason Rumley

Jason Rumley

John has a habit of over-delivering on the expectations he sets up. That’s why he’s the best.

Lewis Howes

John is amazing at building membership sites. He converted one of my sites over from it’s existing (hardly working) platform over to the clean and simple to use WishList membership platform. I highly recommend using John and WishList for any of your membership site needs.

Steve Dimmick

Steve Dimmick

John has provided expert knowledge and advice on multiple occasions that have helped me better serve my clients. John is a Rockstar!

Aaron Gott

Aaron Gott

John has a particular knack for the development and training of others.

Bradley Smith

John and I have worked together on numerous projects. John is very quick and efficient and was a pleasure to work with.

Daniel Mohlendick

On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”

Xan Barksdale

Xan Barksdale

Very professional worker who is extremely knowledgable in WordPress and Wishlist Member. I would definitely hire again.

Lori Grant

John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.

Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

Chris Aitken

He significantly improved my site through his expert knowledge of PHP, CSS and Javascript. Would definitely recommend John to others.

Oliver Wainwright

Oliver Wainwright

I’m a fan. I have completed several of John’s courses. I find him very knowledgeable and he has a great delivery.

Thabo Motsoahae

John is one of the best instructors I have come across, I learned a lot from his online tutorials.