NEW YORK — For freelancers and owners of very small businesses, signing up clients and completing projects is just a part of the work. Trying to get paid can be almost as time-consuming.

Getting paid can be an issue for a business of any size. But freelancers and small business owners suffer because they don't have a steady cash flow. Slow payers make it hard for freelancers to pay their own bills and make them spend time sending repeated invoices and emails.

Sandy Sloane, who's based in Rochester, New York, needed 11 months of persistence before one client paid in full their $4,000 contract for her publicity and event-planning work.

Now she requires half the total up front, 25 percent later on and the rest within 30 days of the project being done.