It happens all of the time. People are eager to take advance of other people. Especially when you are coaching or consulting them.
Now what I was taught to do was have them sign an agreement upfront. I know everybody does that but here is the meat and potatoes. I explain my rates and I ask for the first three payments upfront and any other payments are due on the 15th or the 31st. So that keeps them current on their payments. If they don’t make a payment I remind them of the agreement and I don’t allow them to schedule another session until the payment is made.
Now what I have found is that many people create issues when they can’t afford to pay you. May it be hate or expectations it doesn’t matter. Services were rendered and if there were any concerns they should have been addressed along the way. It’s like ordering a steak dinner and eating it and telling the waiter it was horrible after the bill arrives. There is nothing he can do for you. In all honesty that client owed you the money.
Now I have done what you did in the past and it made me feel used and belittled and taking advance of. So again I had to learn how to protect myself and that’s what I do.
One other thing is I stopped doing was offering one hour free consultation. I found out I was answering their questions within the free hour so they wouldn’t sign up and that was something I had to learn to deal with.
So yes either way you look at it this was a lesson for you to learn how to change your approach with your clients. It doesn’t matter if a client likes you or not the only real measure here is did they pay you? The rest is just people playing games and never allow yourself to become a pawn in their game.