Did you know that vampires come in many shapes and sizes?
Some draw you in with their sparkle and pretty praise, before they sink in those sharp teeth and bleed you dry.
While some can walk amongst us during daylight hours, most vampires prefer to torment us after hours, when night has fallen, when the weekend should be ours for our own chosen pursuits and leisure.
Though they’re known by other names and might at first appear benevolent and and even generous – they’re known to offer to pay for your coffee, vampires are monsters, intent only upon taking all they can while giving little to nothing in return.
Vampires, in a word … SUCK!
And they’re all too prevalent in our daily business dealings.
They suck the joy out of running your own business, they suck the fun out of your weekends, they suck at and expect your every expertise to be delivered for little to no cost.
Sharpen your stakes and bottle up your holy water. It’s time to do battle against the vampires and other monsters.
The Brain Picking Zombie
It will seem benign and harmless. A simple coffee date. And that’s why it can be so deceptive and destructive.
It’s sad really, that you have to go into what should be a simple building of connections thinking about exactly where you’re doing to draw your line in the sand. How much are you willing to give away?
Those truly interested in connecting and possibly collaborating will ensure the meeting of the minds is mutual, balanced so both sides benefit. This is not the case with the brain picker. He or she is in it to win advice, ideas, and your best practices. They intend to be delivered, for free, the very thing for which you should be charing top dollar.
How do you know if your brain is being seen as a bevy of free and fabulous information? It’s not always easy. You don’t want to be cynical Celeste and abstain from all connection building activities, as that’s just you losing out in a different way.
Your best bet is to be up front and ask exactly what the new, or old – even long-term connections can resort to this monstrous behavior – connection has in mind. If they’re not forthcoming, if it doesn’t appear that the intent is a mutual exchange, equally valuable to both parties, you’ll want to guard against giving it all away if you decide to go ahead and get that coffee.
The Archfiend of After Hours
But it’s really important. I know it’s after hours, but I have to have it. It will only take a minute …
Ever heard that before? If you run your own business and deal with clients, I’m betting you have.
We’ve all dealt with the “needy” client. The one that requires so much handholding you just about seek medical aid for carpal tunnel. But the archfiend of after hours takes the needy client nemesis to another level.
He or she infringes on the time you’ve set aside for your own business, your family, the time you’ve deemed your own.
Cave in once more and the demands begin to take up more and more of YOUR time.
All time is valuable, and productivity is something many a business owner would love to boost. But we all need time away from our business. These monsters pretend they don’t understand that.
The best way to fend off these fiends is to stand strong and tell them you’ll tackle the task in the morning. But, if you’ve fallen prey in the past and want to put that fiend off your scent, I say you flip the table onto them.
When they request your off-hours help, give them an off-hours task that will help get the “job” done. You’ll be surprised how quickly that urgent task becomes something you can handle tomorrow!
The Scope Creep Succubus
She’s a sneaky one.
You’re working together on a project. You’re getting paid. You want a happy client. Nothing wrong with that.
You want to deliver the very best product or service AND the best customer experience. Again, nothing wrong with that.
Until … you take delivering a great customer experience too far and get suckered by scope creep.
There’s going above and beyond in a good way, yes, but it’s very easy to step over the line start sinking in scope creep waters. You set a price on the project for very specific reasons. Simple requests can soon turn to significant work if you’re not careful.
There’s a balance between happy client and overworked service provider. When you over-balance to over-deliver too often, you’ll actually find your productivity diminish, as you keep taking on more “little things” with no little increase in the dollar amount you’re owed.
Stand your ground don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the downward spiral of scope creep. Absolutely deliver on all that the project entails, but be strong when additions are expected that were not in the initial brief.
The Conference Charybdis
This is one of the most abhorrent monsters.
Many a conference has a “help area,” where professionals can answer questions and even help with small fixes. They’re especially popular at design and development events, where newer site owners are looking for a helping hand.
Sadly, though, this allows for those channeling the Charybdis to settle in and suck the experts dry.
In case you’ve never heard of her, Charybdis is a monster from Greek mythology. She was basically a whirlpool who sucked men and ships into her depths.
The conference version is intent upon sucking as much free work as he/she can get out of those willing helpers.
No, asking a question doesn’t make you a monster. Sitting down for 30 minutes is not a problem either.
I’m talking about those individuals who camp out in the help area, for hours, never actually getting up and attending any conference sessions. They move from willing expert to willing expert, gaining hours of free work and giving nothing back.
They aren’t going to refer those experts to anyone and they certainly aren’t going to seek out any work that would require them to pay. Not when they can simply attend another conference and suck up some more smarts.
Once again I’ll offer the stand strong argument. Be helpful, but draw the line. Answer questions but don’t sit and actually fix said problem if it’s something for which time and expertise should require payment. It’s not easy to draw said line, but it’s important if you don’t want to give it away for free.
What kinds of monsters do you deal with while running your business?
How do you battle the beasts and keep your business running with a strong bottom line?