14 Dec Win some, lose some
December 14, 2016
by Casie Yoder
The biggest business learning curve for me this year (ok, one of the biggest, trying to call just one THE biggest is impossible) has been figuring out the exact moment when I can mark a new client fully in the “new business WON” column. What that means is knowing that I have 100% absolutely, positively, indubitably secured new work with mutually agreed upon payment terms.
It’s more slippery than it sounds. Many people are naturally people pleasers and will smile and nod and say, “Oh yes!” to your face and then disappear, never to be heard from again. Others will go so far as to send an email saying, “I want to bring you on board this week!” only to turn around a few days later and backtrack, eventually culminating in a “thanks for your help, but I’ve hired someone else” email a few weeks later.
It pains me to say this, but the worst offenders overall have been women. Stereotypes aside, generally with a male decision maker I know exactly where I stand. Even better, from my perspective, is that I know pretty quickly if I want to work with him or not. Women will tell me to my face that they really, really want to hire another woman (seems like I’d have an advantage here, right?), then ultimately hire a man.
Only women ever send a “thanks for your help” email to let me know that I am not being hired. I got one just today, in fact, and at first I got irritated. After cycling through all the shades of irritation, from “ugggggh” to “you have got to be kidding me” I finally decided that I just had to laugh, because clearly this person didn’t have the killer instinct needed to successfully run for office, and so really I’d dodged a heartburn bullet. But it got me to thinking about the weird female impulse to thank me for “helping.” I wasn’t helping you; I was pitching you, I was courting your business. I was trying to close a deal. That’s not help, that’s being an entrepreneur. Help is charity, help is volunteer work, help is generally free. I don’t work for free, and I don’t take on political work unless I feel inspired enough to go for the jugular and win, because politics is bloodsport. Anyone who says differently is trying to get you to give them money for yard signs, billboards, and other useless crap. Running for office is hard, it is exhausting, and it might ruin your marriage. Don’t do it unless you’re running to win.
And for goodness sake don’t hire someone to be your campaign manager because you think they’re “helping” you. Hire them because they’re the toughest, most creative ball buster you ever met, someone who isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe even with you. You’ll have plenty of gushing sycophants around you as a candidate for office, you don’t need your right-hand person to be one too. What you need is a merciless mercenary.
Climbing down from my soapbox until next Tuesday,