If you want to know who your friends are, start a business. You will learn the difference between a (vampire) acquaintance and a friend quickly. This business 101 axiom may even apply to family members. If you have owned a small business for a few years or even worked in hospitality, you already know the direction of this article. For new business owners, this is one of those unspoken realities that comes with business ownership. You have no friends. I do not mean this in a literal sense.
I also would like to mention I have performed quite a few generous acts for friends and strangers. I am not saying you should not discount or provide free services ever. But I believe in providing services on my own terms.
I want to introduce a sobering reminder that not everyone that says they support you really supports you. Not everyone that claims to care about you will be supportive. With respect to friends and family, starting a business is going to make you a target for people who only value you as an opportunity to get discounted or free services. It exposes relationships as associations of convenience.
I will provide you with some examples. You barely hear from this person for years. Suddenly someone you know wants a detail. He or she talks about all the things they will (magically) do for you that do not include (actually) paying you. “Hey buddy, hope all is well.” I have this (car).” I politely but professionally respond, like I would treat anyone else. I send a link to my website where I also have my starting prices that he or she is often aware of. Magically I do not hear from this person again. For context, this dialogue was from about 3 years ago. If you are an approval seeker, this game makes you even more vulnerable to this behavior. There is a mentality that you must have to have a chance of success as a business owner. Until it is proven otherwise with respect to truly supporting your business, you have no friends!
If you think what I am communicating is harsh remember the saying, ‘it is lonely at the top’. I can give you an example of someone respectful in my life who really is on the very lower end of the income bracket. “How much do you charge? Okay that will give me time to save up and tip you.” There are people that wear shoes they do not need that are more expensive than the discounted price they are demanding from you. Meanwhile there are people that will gladly pay your rates. Think about this when someone tries to manipulate you with guilt.
I want you to think about all of the hours you spent working on (not just in) the business. Calculate all of the hidden hours learning and creatively thinking about how you would improve your detailing operation. I am going to take an educated guess here and say you never asked a friend or relative to hook you up with more than your standard rate simply because you are trying to get established and running a business is hard! You never said, “I normally charge $150 but can you pay me $300 to hook my business up.” So why would you acquiesce to others? Not everyone cheering for you when that ribbon is cut is really there to support you.
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