The day I stopped my friends and family discount……
As I sat down to pen this blog I had to figure out who was my target audience for this post? I decided against this being towards the people or situations that sparked this thought and decided this post is best geared towards the new entrepreneur.
When I first started my business(es) I worked within my network. I told almost everybody I knew I was now in business for myself. I used people closest me as taste testers for my custom cake and cookie business. I would pay people in cake and cookies to keep my kids while I was working or studying. I sent gifts of cake and cookies to teachers on holidays. My beginning started within my community. My prices were inexpensive. At that point I didn’t value my time nor was I paying myself. I was making a quick buck and chasing every dollar I could. My focus was feeding my children not growing my business.
Friends vs Family
As time has progressed most of my client base finds me via word of mouth or on google. My major clients are no longer the customers from my original village. Now while I have been aware that my clientele has been changing over the last two or three years, it wasn’t until very recently that I realized the success of my business has disqualified me from being a part of celebrations in my first village.
Imagine running into an old friend. You exchange hellos and hugs and begin to catch up on life. How’s your cake business going? Oh girl it’s going great! God has truly blessed us! That’s so awesome I have an event coming up in a few months and I would love for you to do the cake for it!
When the tables turn…
You find out the details of the event and make a mental note. Now being the successful entrepreneur you are, you don’t add it to your calendar but you surely are aware of the date and make sure you have enough wiggle room in your life to complete this order. After all, these are the people that supported you when you had nothing right?
As the time draws near you notice there has been no contact about the event. You simply assume maybe the date has been moved…. Then it happens. First, you get a text asking why you didn’t attend this grand celebration in your village? You simply respond “I wasn’t invited.” After a long pregnant pause you then you see posts on social media. Then you see it…..the cake…..not done by you.
Let me pause right here and say this. Over the course of 24 hours this happened with three different events. Imagine getting over not contributing to an event for someone you’ve known for many years. Imagine NOT getting over the hurt of not even being invited to celebrate people that have always celebrated you. Imagine the agony when you realize that when you weren’t asked to be a vendor at the event it also automatically meant you were not even invited. Or on the flip side of this equation……are you only invited to the party simply because you are making something for it?
As I tried to rationalize it in my head I was lead to this question. Why do business owners feel inclined to discount their craft, their time and their energy for “friends and family” when in reality these are not the people that are actually supporting your business? At what point do small business owners act like Large business owners and treat everyone the same?
No one ever told me that the people who supported me first would stop supporting me. I was told people close to me may not ever support me but no one said that they would not only stop supporting me but would disqualify my entire family from being a part in their celebrations. No one warned me that at some point discounting my product wouldn’t keep clients. No one told me that being successful would cost me invitations to parties because they hired someone else to do my “job.”
To the new entrepreneur that discounts their business for friends and family I hope this blog post finds you during your journey. I hope you understand that at some point your business may cost you relationships. At some point, you will begin to notice that people were in your corner until you became more successful than they thought you would. Large companies have flash sales and holiday sales to get make room for new products. They have “friends and family” days for the repeat, loyal clients that pay regular price for their items all the time. It’s a reward, not a requirement. We may have a small business but we must run our companies with the business model of larger corporations.
(extracted from a previous blog on May 30, 2016)