We all love something free including myself. I attend plenty of free events, look for discounts and purchase items on sale. There is nothing wrong with that but everything can not be free. Everything will not come with a discount and you can not find everything on sale. There are somethings you will need to pay asking price for. When you go in a retail store everything has a price on it. If you are a bargain shopper you head straight for sale racks. If you don’t like the regular price items you go ahead and leave the store or wait for the sale.
As I establish and grow my presence in Atlanta I noticed friends and family expect the “free friends and family” plan all the time. Not only is it expected, in some cases it is required in order for their support. I’m not sure what other people’s idea of support is but let’s be clear, using your family or friend’s time, energy, service, merchandise and unique creation is not support. Draining their creativity and gift is not a form of support. Yes you showed up. You should receive kudos for your appearance and effort. The conflict arises when you come with the intent of using your friendship as a bargaining chip. As a result you take away from the products and services intended for well-meaning customers and clients who come to pay. It’s almost a slap in the face to the business owner that you place no value on what they do for their livelihood. If you want free then buy the free stuff, shop on the free rack or wait for the sale.
I think friends and family have good intention they just need to be coached on what’s at stake. I am even in more awe when these behaviors come from those who say they want or plan to open their own business at a future date. Please understand future business owners what you put out to others now, you may receive in the future. So if your intent is to nickel and dime other entrepreneurs, then why should you receive different at a later date. The great thing about life and energy is that becoming aware of your actions is what creates the shift to make another choice. I honestly didn’t have my current mindset years ago. I wasn’t in the space I am in now. No one was honest enough with me then to place the thought in my sphere of reasoning. My intent is to lovingly place it in your psyche today.
Although I didn’t start off with this understanding, I did learn it by watching my ex ten years ago work tirelessly to establish his own business. I got a first hand look at what it meant to be on the other side of the register. I got a glimpse of what it looked like when family and friends lied to your face about how they would be there the next time. I got a first look at their reaction to pricing and how those same people would then attempt to devalue your service and product (even if they was using it). I got a glimpse of the sticker shock face and the conversation that preceded where you had to explain your reasoning for your price. For some reason friends and family love you but in the back of their mind they all don’t believe you have what it takes to run a business. Half of them haven’t even considered that you did your research. You already did the comparison shopping for them. Half of them don’t know if they went up the block, someone would charge more for the same product or service. Or if they charged less it wouldn’t come with the same level of quality and service. It wouldn’t come with the love, dedication, and energy you put into every box.
Fellow entrepreneurs understand you will have to let go some friends and family in this process. You have to understand that not everyone sees your vision. Not everyone is meant to continue with you. If you are being drained under the disguise of the ‘family and friend plan’ it is your duty to lovingly reeducate your loved ones. It is your duty to create boundaries. It is your duty to create space by relieving these people of their duty, so that what the Creator has intended for you can find you. As a leader and possibly a future employer, part of our job is mentoring and training. See this exercise as your first assignment in mentoring and training. It is your duty to coach them up to the new standard or coach them out-of-the-way. For those not willing to adjust or accept the changes necessary for your business to grow, you must lovingly send them down the street or on their way. We have to stop wasting our time on people, places and things that do not feed or pour into our highest good. Sometimes the only shift needed is to separate business pursuits from the equation. Keep your business sacred not secret. This means you hold it in a different light and only share it with those who will honor and support it. We must create new contracts with our loved ones about what the family and friend plan should look like. We must also give them the option on if they want to stay or leave. Entrepreneurship is a practice in faith, endurance, strength and patience. If you weren’t ready for the challenge, it would not have been placed on your shoulders. Push through the resistance and know that all that was removed will be replaced.
Peace and Blessings