You looked like a rock star in front of your community/clients/peers and now you can’t wait to hire them to work with you again.
In fact, you’ve already thought of about 500 projects you’d like them to help you with.
And even cooler? They seem to really like working with you too.
You’ve lucked out! It’s amazing. And even paying their invoice was FUN!
Your first real taste of being supported as a business owner! It’s delicious.
And then you start sending over more work & you notice something strange. They’re not responding quite as quickly as they did before. There isn’t the same spark. Something is missing, but you can’t put your finger on it. It’s strange. You’re paying them great money, right? More than you truly afford at this stage of the game. But it was so easy & fun, it was easy to justify.
And you didn’t really mean for this to happen, but one of your big clients paid you late & you had to ask to pay your invoice a little later than you did last time. It’s just a one time thing. No biggie, right? Because this service person is amazing and you value their time & want to keep this relationship solid.
Oh no. This is getting weird. You’ve fired off a couple of rapid emails with “help!” in the subject line & you haven’t heard back. You check out their facebook and twitter profile to see if there is signs of them having taken a last minute trip to Hawaii with the $364 you paid them last month. Or, heaven forbid they’re sick, or worse?
This is getting scary! It’s my first BIG project launch this month. I can’t do this alone!
And then you hear from them again. Phew! Everything seems to be okay. They were just busy, and didn’t get a chance to get in touch.
But something is still weird. Like really off balance. And you can’t put your finger on it. Still, you’re the optimistic type.This is going to work out just fine!
No, it isn’t fine! You wake up in the middle of the night and start panicking. This is BIG! This project is huge. Bigger than you ever thought it would be. And this person you were relying on isn’t there for you. How could they do this to you.
I’m afraid to tell you the relationship is over! It was probably over long before it started. Just like that boyfriend//girlfriend story where there were sparks & big love at the beginning & then one person needed something the other person hadn’t originally agreed to give.
The agreement terms weren’t clear. You wanted a long term relationship, and your service provider was looking for dinner out - once a month. They enjoyed you too, so had trouble saying “no! I don’t really have time in my schedule for an extra 25 hours of work this week!” But if you look back at those first emails you’ll see the signs. They were really busy then too, right? Squeezing in a little time for something fun??
There is something else about this service provider I’d like you to notice, so you don’t go down this path of LTR disappointment.
They’re not into long term commitments. You won’t see, “hire me by the month // 6 month packages // 1 year contracts” on their website.
They’re also very likely interested in many, many things. They might even be ‘scanners’ or ‘renaissance’ entrepreneurs. .The ones who seem to know an awful lot about a lot of things. Whip smart, but sort of jumping all over the place? They love change more than anything. And long term, admin type roles bore them to tears. It sort of feels like a jail sentence.
If you ask them, they’ll tell you about some really big projects they’d love to finish, when they have time. This is also a big clue. Giving up 25 - 40 hours a week to work in service keeps them from stepping closer to their own big dream. Ouch!
If you really love them? Here’s a way to Woo them back into your lfe. Ask them to be there for you for the 1 off things and find a fantastic VA or online business manager who loves to do support you, the business owner.
We are just a different flavour of entrepreneur. Yes, I’m including myself. I’m a self proclaimed “commitment-phobe”. I’ve worked with some amazing clients for over 12 years, but if they had asked me to work with them for even 1 year, I probably would have run for the hills. These clients respect my craving to travel & explore life, and we’ve built beautiful friendships over the years with our mutual respect.
When you’re looking to build your support team, remember to go with your gut instincts. If it’s starting to feel like a desperate dating relationship – you can’t reach them on the phone or by email. Take it as an early warning sign. Lighten their load, go back to the original terms of your agreement with them (the casual dating relationship) and you may just find yourself in a very long term ‘no strings attached’ relationship after all.
Have you been in my shoes? Have any tips or suggestions? Or have you been on the other side & felt hurt by how things played out? Let’s start a conversation. Write a note in the comments below, or send me a note on facebook or twitter!