Honesty in business yes, candor no.
Mona is an architect friend who had a problem client. The client, Betty and her husband, had a small job remodelling their garage. After the garage was finished Betty and her husband planned to make it into an illegal apartment. Mona did some drawings, got little feedback and no response to an invoice for the next four months ago.
Betty phoned recently to ask about the garage job. Mona, the architect, asked my advice.
My view is that honesty is important to business but candor isn’t. Candor would mean saying: ‘your invoice is overdue, you are wasting my time and I don’t want to work with you, fuck off.’
Since many people have no understanding of business, especially sole proprietor businesses, we can’t expect them to understand that sole proprietors only have their time to support themselves with. I’ve never found explaining that issue of any value. Education is not something businesses can afford to do; big or small businesses.
To me the solution is to phone the client back, I always recommend phone calls because writing emails can be misunderstood too easily. Mona can explain that she never got paid for the last invoice. Then explain that she is too busy now to do anything on the job for the next few months (that is true). Mona would appreciate getting paid and be happy to discuss working on the project in a few months.
The best outcome is to get a check in the mail and never hear from Betty again.
The best outcome happened. The invoice was immediately paid; the client never called back.