How Is This MY Problem? It's Not. It's Business
One of the unspoken perks about being in business with yourself is you also learn a ton…. about yourself.
After the first few years we learn that the things that used to set us off or rub us the wrong way become par for the course. People are people and we all go through it (we just don’t all talk about it).
I remember when I was in a mastermind for a couple of years and I would be going through something (snarky client, internet troll, weird twitter reply…whatever ) and I was surrounded by people who were making significant monthly incomes and everything just seemed to be working.
Like, ALL THE TIME.
Of course your logical brain will tell you that’s not possible. Life is ebb & flow, we all have our bad days.
It was kind of a revolution for me when my mentors told me the webinar they had run with their mentor didn’t sell one spot (it was to promote an expensive, in-person event). Not even one inquiry.
Same is true for when they shared about the trolls who left comments on their ads on Facebook.
All of the sudden a light bulb went off…”OH… so this happens to everyone!” (don’t pretend you’ve been wise about this all along…c’mon, we’re in this together, remember?)
I had another friend who has built a very successful physical products and recurring revenue business… he has had plenty of people leave negative comments (on his site) or on FB about him.
They just don’t take it personally.
And I don’t anymore either… and neither should you.
When this shifted for me
Hopefully by now you guys know that I am on a never-ending quest to be the best version of myself. Not from what the outside world sees (although I’d like to be that best version too), but from who I am and how I move through my life. The things that used to make me crazy now just bug me a little bit (or if they do make me crazy it’s because I haven’t set clear boundaries or taken care of myself). I used to get so ‘offended’ when people I was working with would ask for more from me. Without offering to pay for my services or act like what they were asking for was included, which it was not (side note: there was a comic who did an entire bit on being offended… it’s hilarious. As though someone offending you is a criminal act. “O.K., you’re offended. Your point?”).
Here’s the funny thing.
I could have said “No”, right?
Or simply, “sure, that’s an extra X amount of money, how do you want to pay for that?”
I got all worked up because I hadn’t set clear boundaries or dealt with my own shit when it comes to saying no.
Then I’d spin into a total ball of resentment, talk to my friends about the situation (why do we do that? Keep talking and talking and talking about the crap that makes us feel bad?) and make a complete mountain out of a molehill?
I’m a firm believer in ‘venting’. Get it out of your body.
Then move on.
This has been shifting for me for the last few years. Personal work with my mentor (i.e, therapist), reading, meditating, making conscious choices about my life (as opposed to auto pilot).
Then there’s the business side of all this.
If you can take all of your experiences in your business, good, bad, indifferent, and step back and get a different perspective you’ll see that you’ve gotten a massive education. I have no problem investing in courses and training, but this past year as I’ve gone back to the fundamentals (so not sexy or exciting… until it is. When you realize it works better than all of the ‘tactics’ that are taught) I’ve started looking at things much differently.
Subscribing to Ben Settle (and then becoming a customer) was life changing for me. I watched how he emailed for at least a year… and it started to make sense (you can REALLY learn a lot by observing…). How Ben responds to trolls and snowflakes (he has some awesome names for these people) cracks me up. He uses their nasty comments or emails for content. And then he goes about his business.
Which is what we should all do (write it in your own voice and after you’ve calmed down, if you’ve had a negative reaction). There isn’t much that happens in your business that you can’t turn around and create content around.
So here’s what happened that inspired this post…
I’ve had a small outsourcing company for the last couple of years.
I kind of ‘fell’ into it (built my own team, then when I started coaching a lot of my coaching clients wanted to use the team, then I started offering it as a service). I never wanted to have an outsourcing company (for someone who got out of management I certainly created a lot in my business that required managing… which is why I’m simplifying).
I had my team on retainers, set up the project management system, billing, etc. Then I offered X amount of hours on retainer (recurring monthly).
There were plenty of ways I could have restructured this, done it differently, etc., but remember, I never wanted to build an outsourcing company. I was encouraged to scale this when I was in my mastermind because on the outside it looked very profitable. On the inside, it was always a weight on my shoulders.
I’ve had people come & go over the years for different reasons. Earlier this year I debated letting this go entirely (and think I might phase this out at some point next year). I’ve gotten rid of my project manager (shifting away from services) and again, am simplifying things in my business (and life).
One person wanted to go to an hourly basis as opposed to the retainer… I said no. I had the team on retainers and it wasn’t cost effective. They were more than welcome to go elsewhere.
Fast forward to a few days ago and this person’s business isn’t bringing in the projects the way it used to and they’ve asked again to move to hourly. I said that was fine (what’s changed is my own business model, less overhead, etc.).
Then I get a request from them to be given a ‘credit’ for the hours NOT used.
My initial response was “I’ll think about it”, to which I then received an email with ‘food for thought’ about what has been paid for and not used.
This is where the “how is this MY problem?” comes into play.
Let’s step back and do one of my favorite things, shall we? Let’s look at how things work in the offline space.
What do you think my gym would say if I said “hey, I haven’t worked out in a couple of months. Can I get a couple of months FREE because I didn’t get myself in here?”
Or, let’s even take an example from online.
I could take a number of tools I subscribe too… CoSchedule, Click Funnels, Ad Espresso, etc… what do you think their response would be if I contacted them and said “I haven’t been using my subscription for the last 3 months… can I get 3 months free?”
Some of these companies will let you place your account on hold… for a fee.
But after a few good chuckles I’m sure I’d get a simple “that’s not how this works. Would you like to see our terms of service?”
Yet somehow this individual feels entitled to free work since they didn’t use what they paid for.
Here’s the funny thing… I’ve known this person for a few years (I wouldn’t say we’re ‘friend’s) and was truly going to ‘think about’ this arrangement. I have had different times in my business (and life) where things were tight, the projects (income) wasn’t coming in. I’ve had my fair share of good deeds done for me and I was seriously considering it.
Until I got the ‘food for thought’ email (i.e, I ‘owed’ them something).
Then I stepped back and realized…”it’s business.”
I owe you nothing.
It’s not personal. Their request was not the agreement that was made and quite frankly, they could have canceled, found their own team, paid for their own project management app and made any arrangement they wanted (and after the first request of not wanting to be on a retainer we told them we understood if it didn’t work for them anymore and wished them the best. Then they decided to stay).
My guess is at one time or another we’ve all been this person. We’ve had those moments when things weren’t working out the way we wanted and instead of taking responsibility, we feel we’ve been ‘wronged’. As soon as we learn to take responsibility for everything in our lives, we can’t play this game anymore.
We all make mistakes. We all ‘offend’ someone else at some point, say the wrong thing, respond in the wrong manner, drop the ball on something, don’t do what we said we were going to do… it happens. It’s LIFE. That’s how we learn.
Hopefully, when we know better we do better.
Here’s my “food for thought” for you:
Treat your business like a business.
Learn to say no, set boundaries and trust your gut.
Wish them well and get back to being your fabulous self.
And, to wrap up with a line I love…”Lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part.”