When you embark on the journey of entrepreneurship or any career-related journey for that matter, it’s always smart to have a mentor or two to help you along the way.
I met the woman who would become my mentor for several years at the perfect time. I was a college junior, eager to blaze a path that would become a legacy, create jobs and afford myself the opportunity to live the life of my dreams while also helping others do the same.
You can say that my eagerness kept me naive in some ways about what it really takes to build a successful business and develop the habits of a successful business owner.
My mentor taught me the importance of making sure everything lined up legally, setting the correct prices for my products and services, paying myself what I deserved and even how to negotiate contracts and pitch my business to those who could use what I had to offer.
I pretty much followed all of her advice and I even developed some of the toughness she had about herself in her own business life. However, I always lacked one thing.
I was never as confident in myself as others were in me.
I knew how great I was at my craft and I knew how my unique approach was unlike anyone else’s in the world, yet somehow my confidence never aligned with my abilities.
This caused me to abandon one piece of advice that she always would give me.
Never sell yourself short for people who cannot afford you, no matter who it is.
They will always be the ones to give you problems and it will not be worth it in the end. Those who respect your work and time will pay you the price that you’ve set. If they don’t have the money, they’ll find it – but never lower your prices.
See, I’m a nice person. Sometimes I’m a little too nice and I allowed my “niceness” to teach me a lesson that my mentor tried to teach me years ago.
I went against my own policy to perform a service for someone who really couldn’t afford it but needed it. I held up my end of the bargain and each month, her story would get sadder and sadder and her payments were late or never came. This caused me to get behind on things I’d planned to pay for around her keeping her end of the deal.
For what should have taken one month to pay for and complete, we’re going on five months and she still has yet to pay the entire cost.
No amount of money is worth the headache that comes with having to constantly ask someone for money that is owed to you when they’ve already gotten the product or service. It causes a rift in the relationship between you and that person and let me be honest, it makes you mad as hell at yourself.
Learn from my mistake and never, ever do this. Don’t feel bad about it either. Name one successful corporation, brand or organization that lowers their prices because people can’t afford them?
Your electricity company? No.
So why would you do it to your own brand?
As we move forward through this year, we’re claiming it to be our best yet. We can’t be our best when we allow others to take advantage of our kindness, sympathy or even our business.