How to collect from a deadbeat

Being a magazine writer for about 15 years, every once in awhile, I've had a publication or two take their time in paying me for an article I've written. Six months is probably the longest I ever had to wait, and that was six months after the article ran; I had turned in in eight months earlier when the check finally arrived after about a half dozen emails and a half dozen phone calls to the accounting department.

That was a few years ago, and of course, I had a happy ending to my frustrations, but today's small business owner, freelancers and contractors do have an interesting option if they're owed money and feel like they've exhausted every other reasonable option available to them.