Being an entrepreneur is an experience that you simply don’t understand until you become one. Before I entered the world of entrepreneurship, I was often caught up in the world of my traditional 9 – 5 lifestyle and couldn’t even begin to know what it meant to support someone in my life who was an entrepreneur.
Since becoming an entrepreneur, I have learned to truly value the people in my life who support my endeavors through referrals; sharing my contact information; connecting with me on social media; or even an occasional encouraging comment.
This past weekend, one of my friends reminded me how easy it is to support an entrepreneur. Since I launched my business, she has always done such things as forward my contact info to people who may need my services. Even this weekend, in the midst of us emailing each other, she clicked on my website link that was in my signature and commented on how she liked my new website for my small business.
No matter how big or small, every gesture that people do to show my business some love is greatly appreciated. However, when people say or do wacky things, sometimes it can leave a bad taste in my mouth. Below is a list of 3 things I have experienced since becoming an entrepreneur:
1) Someone you know expects a hook-up… They ask, “Can I get the family and friends discount?”
Although I am my own boss, it does not mean that I am not working a real job. This is my livelihood. If there is something I can do to enhance your experience with me, I will probably do it without you having to ask. Let’s be honest, how would you feel if everyone you knew constantly visited your job saying, “I know you are going to hook me up, right?!”
2) Someone you know or don’t know wants you to help them, but they make no effort to support your dream…They ask, “Can we chat over coffee so I can run my business idea by you?” or “Can you look at my business proposal?” or “Can you speak with my friend who wants to launch a business?”
Every case is different, so I am not saying that you shouldn’t help people—because I do it all the time. However, I can’t even begin to count the number of times people contact me on a regular basis, wanting me to help them or help someone they know. I don’t always have the time. Moreover, oftentimes the information you want to know is googleable (yes, I know that’s not exactly a real word) or if you simply read my small business blog, you could probably get answers more quickly. Finally, how can I take you seriously if you’ve done nothing to support me on my journey as an entrepreneur? …Also, don’t give me the side eye or disappear if I send you my price list. It’s not personal, it’s business.
3) Someone contacts you under false pretenses…“I’m interested but I just have a few questions before we close the deal or let’s meet to discuss my needs.”
This is kind of tricky and every industry is different. While there are things that you should do to close the deal such as meetings and conversations, be mindful of people who want to waste your time. Most entrepreneurs put measures in place to protect themselves from time wasters. On more than one occasion I have met with reputable CEOs of established businesses, who did need my help, but they didn’t have honest intentions. An example…a mentor referred me to a well-known company that said they needed a marketing consultant for a new item they were launching. When I arrived at the company to meet with the CEO, I found out that she was really looking for a full-time marketing employee. Thus, while we spoke about the potential consulting project, it was clear she had ulterior motives. Needless to say, when I submitted a beautiful proposal for the consulting services she said she wanted, her response was that she needed to wait to hire a consultant. In this situation, and so many others, potential customers know if they have the budget or if they truly have the desire to hire someone. I’ve learned to proceed with caution, no matter who the person or company is.
In closing, each day is a new learning experience, however, with every wacky situation, it only makes me more grateful for those who support me; value my expertise; and respect my career choice.
Wishing you all the best, Business Rock Stars!
Are you a new entrepreneur who has heard or experienced something kind of wacky? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below or tweet them to me at @bestrategicPR.