11Radical Ways of Getting Paid

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”

—Anais Nin

I had become a modern nomad, moving to each city while the job was under way, which made me the first male in the McCourt family to move out of the Boston area since my grandfather first arrived from Ireland.

Business was brilliant, but it was volatile too, and then Chuck Dolan at Cablevision refused to pay me for the Boston job, claiming they had run out of money for the project. It was not a new story in the construction business. The contractors are always the ones who developers let down first in these situations, because once the thing is built, they don't need us again. That makes life tough for any contractors who do not have capital to fall back on and who are existing on their cash flow, as I was. If you are running a company with high wage bills, one client holding up a payment can make the difference between staying in business and going under.

It doesn't matter how brilliant your business idea is, or how effective you are in executing it, or how much good publicity you get in the media – if you don't get paid at the end of the day, the whole business model turns to dust. This was a big enough debt for it to look as though I would go broke unless I acted fast to cut my costs. So I was forced to lay everyone off, which hurts when you have assembled a really good team, because you know they will go off and work for other people and will then be unavailable once you are ...

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