Sharon Gutierrez

Inspirational Speaker, Digital Course Creator & Marketing Consultant

With Success Comes The "Life-Sucking-Bottom-Feeder"

With Success Comes The "Life-Sucking-Bottom-Feeder"

Ok, the title is a little over dramatic but I wanted to write an advice piece for new business owners and professionals who are kicking ass in their business and starting to get recognition for the thousands of hours of work. For some people this takes years (I’m under this category) and other people months (my dear friend *Ashley* is my example here). 

In order to say no, you have to know your time is precious and of value.

My friend Ashley started a small membership based business and went from 20 to 60 members in one month.  Then in the second month the business went to 100 members, to over 100 in the second. Ashley’s small business with 100 members was enough to immediately make the move to a bigger space. Her business is now gaining referrals because of their excellent program and service.  Additionally, she has a rapidly growing social media presence. 

 Why is Ashley’s story important right now? Because when you explode with success (especially online presence) it takes about 2 seconds for freeloading friends and acquaintances (or strangers) to come out of the background proposing “partnerships” and “favors.” It can be very difficult to sort out the “well-meaning” from the “self-centered” asses that take advantage of young businesses owners. 

 While I personally didn’t get sucked into too many of these situations, it actually hurt my feelings a little when “friends” would invite me to the “girls night” and then ask me to invite my “contact list” so they could sell their product. 

 Here are my tips for avoiding the headache: 

  1. Is it a mutually beneficial arrangement for you? Arrangement One: Your friend is going to hold an event at your place of business, in front of your clients, and sell their products to make a profit. This does NOT equal a mutually beneficial arrangement because there is no value add for you. Arrangement Two: A win-win might be offering your office space after hours for your friend to hold their event with their attendees. They receive free venue and you receive visibility from new potential customers. 
  2. Is it beneficial to your customers? The most important parts of your business are your customers. They trust you and like you enough to buy from you. Every good business owner knows it’s cheaper to keep customers versus finding new ones. Therefore, business owners must do everything they can to take care of their customers. Make sure they are getting what they need, what they paid for, and the standard of attention that they are used to getting in business. If you aren’t doing that, you are not taking care of your tribe.

    For instance, maybe your friend wants to do a trunk show at your gym with fashionable gym attire and is going to give you a percentage of profits. Or maybe you purchased a certain brand of protein and your friend sells it. You are already recommending it to their clients. Your friend can offer a discount and you can extend it as a “membership perk.” Your clients will appreciate you and your friend makes money. Take the deal! 
  3. Is your friend upfront, honest, and has a clear plan for the partnership? Does it feel deceitful in any way? Are they using their friendship as a bargaining tool to get what they feel might be “owed” to them? If they are shady, shifty, change their plans, or pushy at all…simply decline. They do not respect you or your business.  You need to value your business and yourself more than that!
  4. Say yes to win-win situations! I don’t do partnerships in general. I have a fabulous partnership that has brought me years of benefits which includes improvement in my personal and professional life. At the time I was a brand new business and, as I do today, feel incredibly honored that this person would partner with me in anything! When your heart says yes and you can emphatically say it’s a good idea…then go for it!

Beautiful opportunities will arise from beautiful people…just make sure you aren’t tying up your mind and heart with meaningless bullshit. 



P.S. Free casual script on how to say no (because it’s harder to say no to friends than to strangers, right?)

 Hey ________, 

Thanks so much for offering to partner with us on XYZ Project/Event. Unfortunately at this time, we are focusing on [aspect of business: hiring new employees; growing membership; getting down systems; etc.] and are unable to partner right now.  I/We wish you success in your endeavor and [insert nice thing here: let’s get dinner soon; feel free to add me to your email list; if you would like to post a flier at our business you are welcome to…] hope to keep in touch. We are looking forward to seeing your business grow! 

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