Most of the people I work with are self employed, and many
of them have made a choice to leave a more traditional environment and strike
out on their own. There is a joy in that
independence isn’t there? We feel the
relief of leaving the constraints, politics, rules, and all sorts of things.
Sometimes, however, we bring some extra baggage with us as we
step through the door into the new life.
Where are you trying to bring the old practices with you
into the new business? Specifically, ones
that don’t fit?
I’ve had several people complain to me that they shouldn’t
have to give away time to get business. Free samples to anyone who wants one? No, they should give time only to people who are actual potential
buyers. It’s a mind set issue. You really aren’t giving away your time, you are
investing it in promoting your business.
Even if the person doesn’t become a client, can you make sure that they
become a fan? Can you treat them well,
so they believe in you and what you do, even if they don’t need or want your
service right now?
Another resentment I hear is one about people pressing for
fee negotiations. Somehow, the
independent business owner can feel disrespected if the potential client angles for a
deal or a sliding scale. I hear the
argument that, hey, you don’t get to negotiate a price at the grocery store or the gas station. Why me? The tangle here is the interpretation. I don’t discount my fees or give deals, nor
am I offended when someone asks. They
are just asking. It’s not personal to
So maybe that’s actually the crux of it? Maybe the baggage that we bring through the
door is thinking that it’s personal?
That people are treating us in certain ways on purpose. We forget that we are in a new place, where the rules and mores are different. Maybe you used to
work in a big corporation with lots of politics? Maybe you worked in retail with fixed
prices? Maybe you never had to talk
about money before? Maybe you weren’t
selling a service that you personally deliver, and is therefore associated with
What if it isn’t about you?
What if it’s just curiosity? Or
even part of the new adventure? How can
you let go of the baggage and think about it differently? How can you embrace the changes that seem
awkward along with the ones you were longing for?