How NOT To Get Taken Advantage Of When Growing Your Business

I was reading Refinery 29’s How This Simple Email Trick Has Helped Me Get Better At Saying No. Whilst the author has some great tips are responding to emails, I don’t think it goes far enough…

 

I, too, get tons of emails a day. Mainly they are from clients, my team, collaborators and business partnerships. All of whom I try to respond to within 24 hours.

 

I also get the sneaky emails… from people who are lovely. They tell me about how much they love my brand, my honesty and everything I put out…

 

And then they ask me for a favour.

 

‘Could I just ask you about X’

‘Would you mind helping me with {insert something to do with property investment}’

‘I need help with X, please could we have a quick 10 minute phone call’

‘If you help me with X, I will help you do {Insert whatever I seemingly want here}’

 

When I first started out in business, I would get on the phone regardless. I would email back with all sorts of help and advice… and then once I’d given the person everything they needed I would then say ‘oh and you could become my client’.

 

WARNING: This type of help leads to burnout and it hurts.

 

This was no good for me, it took away from what I was actually meant to be doing, and that was ‘growing my business’. It also felt awful, I wasn’t gaining anything from this transaction, but giving myself sleepless nights about not earning anything but giving away freebies.

 

I hate being rude, I hate letting people down and mostly I hate people thinking bad of me, which was the only reason I was giving my valuable resources away for free.

 

However, as my business has grown, I don’t have time to take myself away from my clients… they pay me to get a job done and that’s what I must do. I also value myself, I know what I have got to offer is worth paying for. I also know how good I am.

 

And so, I’ve had to combat the favour requests differently.

 

Here are my rules:

  1. If someone asks me a question that I can respond in a one liner, or it’s just a general comment (not specific to their property portfolio) I always will respond… although after I’ve responded to clients, my team, collaborators and business partnerships.
  2. I always always always say thank you to the person for taking the time to email me, and thanking them for their support.
  3. If someone emails me asking about APC help, or just in general wanting to ask how I got into business, I will respond with my best, honest answer.
  4. If I get asked to be featured on a podcast / blog / article / press / collaboration, as long as it fits my brand, I will make time for it!
  5. If the email is about property investment, personal property investment portfolio problems or queries, or any property strategy I will explain that I can help via the Members Club and refer that person there.

 

This way, I’m never ignoring someone. I’m always genuinely pleased to read emails, and yes I read them all. But, I have boundaries, so that it doesn’t compromise my business, my ethos, or make my feel uncomfortable.

 

If someone can get something for free, then they are going to try… but it also means they don’t value you (regardless of whether they tell you they don’t have money, or are already an expert themselves).

 

So, be polite, but also tell them firmly how they can work with you… all it needs to be are a few lines:

 

Thank you so much for being part of my community, I’m glad you are enjoying the content. I completely understand that you are experiencing X. I can definitely help you with that by doing A, B and C. If you would like to work with me to do that, the best way would be to {describe your service and how they can sign up}.

 

I hope that helps! Just remember, your business, your rules.

 

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Natasha