Business is Business: Regardless of Family, Friend or Foe
One thing you will learn if you live in the “hood” for any extended period of time is the art of discovering the “hook up” or “getting the drop” (i.e. being able to save cash on something because of a connection who gives you some inside information). Someone’s always got a hustle, a scam, or a get-rich-quick outfit, and always looking for new suckers. People who are low on cash or have a poverty mindset are both prone to starting up such scams, as well as falling victim to said scams. It is quite embarrassing to watch people clear into their 30s, 40s and even 50s falling victim to easily-recognizable scams, pyramid schemes, and barely “legal” multi-level marketing outfits (as the only real difference between a multi-level marketing outfit — hereafter referred to as “MLM” and a pyramid scheme, is the crossing of a few T’s and dotting of a few I’s in order to legally word the “program” in a way that prevents the attorney generals of every state from hounding them into civil court.)
With the advent and advance of the internet and other technology, such practices are becoming increasingly common. There are legitimate outfits that exist, but the costs involved are displayed without deception, the representatives of those companies can clearly explain what is being sold (pyramid schemes cannot offer this information, because there IS no product sold), how to sell to others, and how commissions are generated. If those basic tenets cannot be met, you have run into a scam organization. Do not fall for the false enthusiasm, ridiculous stories, inability to explain what is being sold and how it is being done — and the ultimate: knowing full well that some of these people who claim to be so successful couldn’t even sell shaved ice to children in the projects on a 97 degree day — so you KNOW something is amiss. You only need to conduct further information for your own informational purposes, and to share with others later. However, with the same advances in technology, people are armed and more capable to develop their own websites, blogs, businesses, and profit on their own, without flim-flamming blood relatives, friends and alienating both in the process, like scam artists often fall victim to doing.
Just as the music industry has undergone a complete makeover in the past 15 years, developing (legitimate) businesses online has done the same. Musicians are encouraged to go the independent route, develop their own brand, bolster the product to the point where there is a demand from the public at large, and THEN have someone come along, pay for your product and even net funding from private and even public sources. No, business-building is never easy, nor are shortcuts the path to take for long-term, sustained success. You can’t expect to just throw in $50 and sit back and watch some virus program develop flimsy, spam-oriented websites, and producing fraudulent, printed up information like the Fed printing bills with no backing in Washington. There is work involved, and when you are doing something that you love to do, it doesn’t feel like “work”, anyway. Enjoy the ride.
If you are part of a scam organization, or a KNOWN pyramid scheme, not only should you not enjoy the ride, but you should be hit by a bus for trying to sell supposed friends and loved ones up the creek for a buck. I am sick of these people proliferating the internet with this garbage. Find a legitimate hustle or go back to your paper shuffling office job and save money the old-fashioned way. The ultra rich in this world got there by the most unethical, cutthroat, heinous, murderous and shiesty of ways. Unless you look up to such, be content in the state that you are in, and seek to exploit what it is that you are passionate about into a service that CAN yield a profit, rather than seeking a profit from something that MIGHT — but not necessarily — provide a service to others. When the aforementioned statement is inverted, you find out what peoples’ true motivations lie. There is nothing wrong with desiring nice things and extra money, but the means by which you attain this profit truly demonstrate from whence your heart and treasures truly emanate.
We live in a capitalistic (returning to feudal) society. To quote the great John Fox, who made the phrase, “It is what it is” famous nearly 15 years ago… well, “It is what it is.” You and I do not have to like it, but it is how we conduct business. This is where family and friends enter the picture. Family always wants to do things at a “rate” (or even FREE), so do friends. Business is business. If you did work for a relative or supposed friend, and they either stalled in paying you — while taking advantage of the bond that you share — while obviously demonstrating that they have possessed the means to pay you all along, then what does that truly exhibit, with regards to their value (or lack thereof) for your friendship, or supposed love for you as a relative? Worse yet, these same people will look at you with muted pity, accuse you of “not working hard enough” (while still owing you money) and walk right past you, all because you either did things for a discounted rate, or they took advantage of your kindness and friendship while they blew the money that they owed you on trips, fancy dining rendezvouses, buying sneakers, funding trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, and other things. This is an embarrassment, and a constantly growing practice.
There is no shame is demanding pay for services rendered. In fact, my personal mantra has long been that every service that I provide will be done in writing, with the agreement being binding. Even if it is over a nominal fee, the issue becomes that of principle, rather than PRINCIPAL (i.e. the money owed). It may seem petty to take someone to court over $1,500 owed, after compiling and filing four years of back taxes for them (yes, this happened to me), but when the person receives their refund, skips town without paying, and shows up with fancy upgrades on their cars, and new TV sets, sneakers and so forth, then it becomes a matter of principal. A person who would do such a thing is not someone you would erstwhile trust with your back turned. For this reason, going forward into 2014 and beyond, it does not matter who it is (outside of my beloved parents and sister), if I provide a service, there will be no “rate”, and I no longer work for “free” for anyone — unless it is agreed upon to be a volunteer service by both/all parties involved — otherwise, service for pay is my mode of business. Too many people have reneged on payment, stalled, blown the money owed and made up every excuse in the book to avoid payment and yet, short of losing a car, home and showing up homeless, appeared to have the means to repay all along. If you have a problem with this policy, find someone else to do business with.
If you do hair, charge your fee. It does not matter how much even your friends and relatives belly ache about the cost. Charge. If they don’t want to pay, send them someplace else. Besides, if you allow everyone to pay (if at all) a discounted rate, guess who will make fun of you and pass you by as you are scraping together dimes and quarters to buy something to eat, or decide between paying for gas or keeping your lights on? You got it.
If you do auto detailing and car customization, your fee is your fee. You have your discretion about whether you want to offer discounts to certain people, but if they simply believe they are “owed” a rate because of how long you have known each other, they can get lost.
If you provide business development, non-profit organization and construction, legal services, document preparation and other services, if they think that $5 per page is “too much, you’re killing mehhh!!!” then tell them, “FUNK DAT… GET OUTTA MY FACE!” like Sagat back in the 90s did once.
People want something for nothing, but when the tables are turned, they become incredulous that such an assertion is made by others. Business is business, whether it is a family member, friend or someone whose guts cause YOUR guts to churn. Pay up or don’t do business at all.