Recently, I just had a conversation with a friend about times where it seemed like working with people that you have known and trust turn out to be a disaster. When I reflect back to the times where this has personally happened to me, the main theme in every case was that I was naive in believing that there is no way your friends would intentionally want take advantage of you as why in the world would you want to jeopardize your friendship with a person whom you’ve known for quite awhile? One of the biggest examples of this in my life was how I got taken advantage of by a person whom I’ve known for a fair amount of time.
This person was interested in expanding his company’s service line-up by offering site designing services on the side and since he knew nothing about it, obviously he needed outside help. After discussing about it a bit with me, I agreed to help and would do it at a ridiculously low cost to help him get started. For example, imagine a web development cost that should be $1000 whereas I only charged $300. The agreement was that I made the sites for this cheap price and that he would handle the billing to maintain his company image to his clients and would therefore collect the funds from them and then pass it to me. Basically, he wouldn’t be making any money as it was just a way to attract more clients to his main business. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
One day, I discovered that what he was doing was that he was actually reselling my work/services at a much higher price(Closer to the actual market value). He obviously didn’t know that I was onto him and so I kept asking questions such as how much he was charging people and of course he told me just the quotes that I gave him. After confirming and exposing the liar that he is, I immediately discontinued any contact and affiliation with him. I know most people would of held a huge grudge and done things such as go directly up to his existing clients to show them how much they got overcharged, which would of probably made him lose thousands, but I took it all as a learning experience and that I am no longer associated with an unethical person like this.
Each day now whenever I do business with people that I know, I always make sure that I also look out for myself and that if it seems like the business relationship is going sour, I am not afraid to bring up the issue immediately. Before I would be a little hesitant as I would be afraid that it would affect our friendship in a negative way, but if it’s a real friendship to the end, then making sound business decisions shouldn’t be a factor. This can also be true for more everyday events such as lending money to people that you know. If you lent them $2000 to pay off a loan and they said that they would pay you back in a month, you shouldn’t have to nag them for it. You might think that you are being a bad friend for asking them to pay it back, but what kind of friend would take advantage of your generosity like that?
Learning to separate business from personal events can definitely help you in managing your financial portfolio and life in general as you will learn how to help others without placing yourself in a position that affects you in a negative way.