Recently, I came across a few articles about growth hacking and how you could improve business relationships with your clients. Running a business is always a matter of relationships. You give X and expect Y in return, paid in full without arguments. Keep doing X for others and then they owe you Y in return.
In its simplest form, it’s the basics of doing business with an entity: a company, an individual and so on.
The problem arises when people go into business relationships by providing “favours” and expect that a payment will be made afterwards in return.
It happens a lot, probably more often than you could imagine. For instance, imagine advertising your skills online, Dribbble for example, and a person unknown to me would go out of his way to post tweets or blog posts about my work in exchange for a tweet or another Dribbble post because in his mind he/she believes that by publishing my work in the first place they have provided me with a lot of exposure and that meant I would in return have to pay him back. Equally, someone would tweet about an article that I wrote for a publication, and then they would ask to be thanked publicly on my social channel as an exchange of “skills”, without being asked for it in the first place.
In another scenario, someone mentions my name in a blog post or in a podcast and then I will receive an email with an invoice attached asking for payments, or to give them even more exposure on Twitter, on my podcasts and so on.
However, these kind of unusual requests don’t just happen with random online people alone, they can also happen with people you actually know in real life and this is the main reason why I shy away from working for friends. Not even when we work out a mutual agreement or contract. It has never worked for me, yet. Refusing any of the above makes you sound like an ungrateful and horrible person. This is not how business should work. These are not the kind of relationship, professional or otherwise, that I need in my life.
I’ll assume that if I meet a new person online or in real life, it’s naturally for friendship reasons, to exchange nice words. Personally, if I want to do something good it’s because of good intentions and not because I am expecting something in return.
I don’t like owing people favours. Naturally, I’m very careful in my life with these kinds of situations and would rarely allow myself to be in a position where I would owe someone something.
I hate obligations as well because they add a lot of pressure and it’s something that may not result in an enjoyable work process. Instead, I like to give to others something that I truly enjoy doing. If I can do something I will do it for a particular person only because I want to do it and not because I am forced to do it by said person.
If I do something for someone else then I am doing it because I feel they’ve earned it, needed it or because I just want to feel nice; its karma and I want to feel good.
At the same time, I will not ask for anything in return. I will not ask for a tweet, I will not ask for money, and I will not ask for mentions on social media channels. I’ll just get my karma payment in return, and I’ll feel good.
I deeply believe that not all businesses need to be a two-sided relationship. I’d rather just help people in any way I feel capable and never expect anything in return. If something comes out of it then it’s great and it’s just a bonus.
The less we expect something from others, because we feel entitled to expect from others, the lighter and better our lives will be. Only then can we be of service to others just because we want to be really nice, good, and helpful people.