When I was younger, I developed the terrible of habit of asking professional friends and friends who own businesses to provide their products and/or services to me at the lowest possible rates.
Poisonous Way to do Business
I would sometimes go out of my way and ask around friends who know anyone who owns a company or service provider for what I am looking for because my intention was to get the lowest possible price.
I went out of my way and tried to make friends with capable people in the hope to one day get their services for free or at an extreme discount.
In some cases, I broke down full projects into tiny tasks, and asked my friends to do the tiny tasks one at a time and eventually put together the output and benefited from the completed project without any cost.
I thought I got away with getting items and services done for free.
This mindset had hurt me both in my business and personal life.
Basic Business Sense
At the time of this writing, I am now 33 and have transitioned from a commission-based income to earning a monthly salary to freelancing and earning my money from selling my services and product.
I now know first hand the costs and risk of owning and running your own business.
If a business does not earn enough money within a certain month, they are at risk of closing down, losing their investments and depending on the company’s size, the people who work there also lose income.
This problem is also experienced by professionals.
Painful Medium Term Damaging Long Term Loss
By making it a goal to pay the lowest possible price, I ended up hurting the business and livelihood of my friends.
I lost serveral friends in the process and over time, this hurt my reputation, cutting off many business opportunities.
Even worse, I unknowingly insulted and alienated the business owners and other professionals that I have in my circle so when the time comes for me to branch out on my own and leave the corporate world, I received little to no support.
What I didn’t realize until later on is that this way of life also poisoned my mind in a very sinister way.
Karma is a Bitch
Because I expected people to give things to me at a the lowest possible price, I also saw giving services at the lowest possible price as an option and almost everyone who did business with me saw that opportunity and exacxtly the same to me.
My aunt found out that I earned 30% from a sale and asked me to give her a 30% discount. I did two days work, spent two days worth of transportation, food and supplies on what we did and I got nothing from that task.
In 2010, my then girlfriend (7 years) broke up with me possibly because of lack of financial progress that resulted from my poor business decisions. This had resulted in erasing all my progress in my job and finances and I also developed symptoms of PTSD, depresssion and anxiety that I still struggle with to this day.
I became a very poor negotiator, closing deals at the lowest possible price and got fired by employers. Multiple times.
I later became unable to collect payments from people who owe me money.
When I became freelancer, I ended up giving my service at the lowest possible price and had ended up agreeing to some of the worst terms.
I have been unable to ask clients for an advance payment or a raise.
Until realized this error, several clients had gotten me to do work for them and did not get paid.
One client abandoned me with a $800 debt and given that the client is out of the country, I had no way to collect.
Recently, an old business acquaintance had attempted to get away with paying me $24 for a job that took an over 24 hours. He skilfully tried to corner me into a position where I’m forced to agree to $24 and had only agreed to adjust the payment after realizing that an intervention from our common friend will be bad for his business.
Business Owners Are People With Bills to Pay
First of, the most valuable resources that we have in life are money, time and attention.
Just like how you or a loved one go to work on a job, the people are in business do so with the intention to make money.
Even if the intention of some is to help people, they still have bills to pay and are using up their resources in order to do the work.
Trying to get people to lower their prices is like asking people to spend their time and attention on my needs and not give them the money they deserve.
The computer they use, the phone they use to communicate, the rent, the electricity, internet, the salary of employees, permits and documents, the capital to start a business, and a shitload of unforeseen expenses are covered by business owners.
Change That Toxic Thinking
When I realized the error of my ways, I started to pay people the full price for everything.
If a product or service has value for you, pay for it.
If your product or service has value, expect to pay full price.
Get the benefit and pay the cost.
If you can’t afford the price, don’t try to get things cheaper.
Some friends are “Agreeable” and may, as the word “agreeable” means, agree with you. Even reluctantly they are shouldering the expense for you.
And if you’re okay with that, shame on you.
The people who serve you pay with their lives to provide you with their product or service.
If a product or service delivers value on a consistent basis, you want the business to thrive and continue providing the product/service.
If the company goes out of business, you lose out.
No more negotiation?
I believe business should be done in a mutually beneficial agreement.
The person who is paying should be willing to pay the price and the person who is providing the service should be happy with the price.
If one of the parties is unhappy with the price then there should be no deal.
If you want to receive the best, you need to give the best price.
Think of the “Golden Rule.”
How do you want to be treated?
If you suddenly found out that your salary had a 50% deduction, how long do you imagine you can you stay motivated?
How Should I Do Business With My Friends?
One thing to consider is when you buy something, whatever it is you are buying, you are paying money to receive a benefit.
In exchange for your money, you will be depending on the other person to deliver and the other person is expecting you to pay.
What do you think happens when you attempt to short-change the person working for you?
Consider Market Price
If you are in a difficult financial spot, consider just paying market price or take your business elsewhere. If you are doing business to help your friend, you should do business with your friend in a way that your requests are reasonable and the price is fair for the both of you. Both of you should benefit from the transation. Pay the full price whenever possible.
Ask for 10% off.
I have a policy of asking for 10% off on everything I buy. Whenever I buy something, I buy it based on value and not because I can get it cheaper than market price. Any discount that I can get is a bonus and a discount should not be the primary motivator for the sale. So when I ask for a 10% discount, a person is not really required to give it to me and I’ll still buy what I want to buy.
Do You Sincerely Want To Support Your Friend?
If a person is really your friend, pay the full asking price and add 30-50% to the price. Pay them in advance. TIP actually means “to insure performance”. If a person is happy with the price they are motivated with the work.
If you are happy with the results, promote your friend in social media. Refer clients to them. Make it easier for your friend to conduct their business.
Do you have problems with your business or career?
Consider paying for services full price.
It can change your life.
I have a policy. When a friend asks for presyong kaibigan, I consider adding 30-50% to the initial quote price.
If my friend wants to support my work, they’ll pay it.
Thank you for reading.