Tracy had worked hard all day. She was days away from the launch of her next book. Plus she was completely revamping her website in preparation for a major shift in her business. The two projects were linked so they both had to be done simultaneously. She probably should have outsourced some of the work (but that's a lesson for another blog post!).
Tracy noticed she'd received a phone call while she had been working. She had muted her cell phone to minimize distractions and hadn't noticed until just then. She checked the number and was pleased to see that it was from a fellow entrepreneur that she had been working with. The young lady was new to the online business world and had been struggling. She and Tracy had met at an event and immediately made a connection. Tracy took her under her wing and began coaching and instructing her on building her business. And even though this began to take more and more of her time, she never charged for her services. After all, she was helping a friend and what were friends for if not to help each other? She quickly returned the call, expecting a thank you for some work she had recently done.
But when her friend answered the phone, it wasn't to say thanks. First, she complained because she wasn't quite satisfied with the way the project had turned out. And when Tracy gently stated that it was exactly what she had asked for, her friend became angrier, shouting that it was Tracy's responsibility to make sure everything was done correctly. That was her JOB! At which point, Tracy lost control of her own temper, and reminded her friend that people get paid for jobs and so far she hadn't received a dime.
Yes, this is a true story. And yes, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I was witness to this exchange and when I slipped out of Tracy's office, both ladies were basically screaming at each other.
Now, I know most of you are thinking that Tracy's friend was dead wrong. She owed Tracy a thank you. But was Tracy wrong for losing her temper? After all, she had willingly done many things for her friend with no compensation and apparently, no gratitude. If it was beginning to become an issue for her, as evidenced by the explosion of anger, shouldn't she have said something? So were they both wrong? If so, who was more wrong?
I have my own opinions on this of course. But I think the two most valuable lessons here are these.
1. Why can't we be more grateful? If someone has done you a favor, it's important to show gratitude. And Tracy had done many favors for her friend in helping her build a viable business. It's just plain rude and selfish to not express your thanks.
2. At some point, when friends begin to take advantage of you, it's okay to say something. And that something is four little words. "I charge for that." I had to learn that lesson myself from my dear friend Wendy Y. Bailey! You can give a discount if you want, or do a bit of extra work. But nothing says you have to work for free if you are working for a friend. I am friends with my doctor and yet I pay him for office visits. I am friends with my hairdresser and I pay her - and tip her probably better than I would a stranger because we are friends! So why would it be acceptable and even expected that coaches and trainers provide their services for free?
Just a little something to think about! What are your thoughts? Do you remember to thank your friends for their help? Do you charge your friends for work done for them? Share your thoughts in the comments!