Boundaries in Business
I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't be having this discussion here.
I have been pretty non-confrontational for a decent amount of time. Haven't pissed my husband off. Nor my family and inlaws for something I've written here in a REALLY long time. (And yes, I am aware...that's a good thing. lol)
But I've got a beef right now-not with them. But with people and companies I do or have done business with.
I'm in a weird place right now. Re-evaluating the space I'm in. Not on a friend or blogger capacity but more on a money making capacity.
You see. Anyone who has been following this blog long enough KNOWS I wear my heart on my sleeve. Personally, professionally... you name it. It's always there.
But unfortunately in this space...the past few weeks I'm thoroughly annoyed. And vocal about it.
I'm the type of person who bends over backwards to help someone. That PR person who begs for a mention/interview or plug for their client, that small business owner 'mom' that owes me money who uses excuses to pay that tug at my heartstrings, that charity who I spent hours and hours collecting for them that ignores me now because my donation isn't 'good enough'.
I'm so tired of people pulling on me yet when I turn to them to collect-they are no where to be seen.
My girlfriend and I had an awesome conversation about it this morning. She has the same issue. (Maybe that's why we are always so giving to each other! lol)
It really stinks. Because what these 'bad eggs' are doing is hurting the opportunities in the future for the 'good eggs'. Now when I'm approached by a business or agency I want to scream at them 'NO you can't 'pick my brain for a few minutes', "NO I won't 'do you a favor", "No I can't help your charity" NO NO NO NO NO!!!
I've been so generous that now my business is suffering because I've been wrapped up in working my tail off for 'free' for others who frankly don't care 2 seconds about me. They just have that 'what can you do for me' mentality and I'm so over it.
If you want something from someone-stop and think about it for a second: 'Would YOU work for free?'
So unless they are a 'red velvet rope' person or someone who is a 'kitchen cabinet' member - then I'm done. DONE 'helping'.
It goes back to the lesson I learned in Teo, Mexico a few months ago from Lee McCormick. Lee does amazing things for people in finding their inner selves. I went on a 'Journey'. And it really is what life is all about. He said this:
'Don't be what everyone else wants you to be - Be who you really are'.
Brilliant concept isn't it?
I threw it out there on facebook. Just wondering if anything would stick. And I can PROMISE YOU...those who responded? Are those that are GOOD PEOPLE. Not because they responded or because they are my 'friends' but because I can honestly tell you 'good things' and 'good lessons' that through my relationships with them on facebook I've become a better person. I've learned new things. And I've also seen POSITIVE things from each and every one of them on their own journeys through life from my perspective.
I just googled something-and RANDOMLY an article popped up from the woman who told me about the 'kitchen cabinet' of advisors! lol She actually was on Real Mom Radio on Ben FM and was so insightful. I loved having Melinda Emerson on not only to hear her story as a mom-but her words on business. Here's an article she wrote for AMEX. What's amazing is that she JUST wrote this article this week!!! She's TALKIN' to ME! lol
5 Ways Women Sabotage Themselves in Business
by Melinda Emerson - March 26, 2012
1. Charging too little
Women need to stand up and demand their worth. Too often, a chronic lack of confidence holds us back. Many women fear they’ll lose their values or become someone they don’t care for if they have more money. Ladies, snap out of it! When someone asks your fee; make eye contact, say the price and wait for an answer. If you get a reaction that your fee is too high, you know you're not speaking with your ideal customer. Set your pricing so that you earn a profit, otherwise you could find yourself with an expensive hobby and not a real business.
2. Emotional decision-making
As women, we sometimes take things personally that we shouldn’t. It’s just business. Neither your customers nor your employees should know your personal feelings. Use data to make critical business decisions. Focus on what’s in the best interest of your business. I’m not a big fan of women “acting like men,” but in the case of decision-making, it’s appropriate. Don’t complicate your business with a bunch of personal relationships, either. I believe you should never hire someone you can’t fire, so avoid hiring friends and family.
3. A noncompetitive attitude
Profit is how we keep score in business. However, we are now in a value-added economy, where people often over-deliver on service to attract and keep customers. This is a good strategy, but everything has limits. If you give everything away, there’s nothing left to take home. Go after business competitively. And never hesitate to make collection calls for payment. Do not finance your customers.
4. Not asking for the business
Generally, women excel at communicating and building relationships. But sometimes we spend so much time doing so that we forget to directly ask for the business. We’ll go to a capabilities presentation and not close with follow-up steps. Customers have no problem wasting your time. People will never hesitate to ask to pick your brain. Always be willing to schedule a 30-minute call or coffee appointment, but do not solve the customer’s problem during the meeting. Ask clarifying questions, validate that you’re more than qualified to solve their problem, and let them know how much it costs to work with you. You should close by asking them, “When do you want to get started?”
5. Superwoman syndrome
Superwoman can do anything. She can leap a tall building in a single bound, have dinner on the table by 6 p.m. and be the head PTA mom, too. Let’s get real, ladies: Superwoman does not exist. One of the deadliest things you can do to your small business is to refuse to delegate or ask for help.
Early on, get yourself a cabinet of advisors. These are four or five people already invested in your success. The group should include an existing entrepreneur, a potential customer, a mentor, an accountant and a lawyer. Often these people are already around you, but they’re not aware of each other. They could be more effective if you got them together occasionally, and best of all, they will typically work (or at least advise) for food.
If you’re married—especially if you have kids—you might need a mother’s helper or au pair who can help with household stuff, personal errands and drop-off and pick-up for kids’ activities.
As women, we are more likely to listen to our inner voices; just make sure that you keep your self-talk positive. Do not start your day in a race. Try meditation or prayer. Cut yourself a break. Remember to be patient with yourself and your customers, and you’ll never go wrong.
SEE THE ENTIRE ARTICLE ON AMERICAN EXPRESS HERE.
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8–9 p.m. ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog and is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.