As much as I need the money and the exposure and pieces for my burgeoning portfolio, I know that the two people who bailed out, one callously and selfishly, the other weakly and sneakily, taught me a valuable lesson. One is the relative of a dear friend and the other I made contact with and we were on the road to being friends, but she needed work for her business and it seemed the perfect fit. I was wrong. Anyway, I've learned two things (and maybe I'll add to this list as time passes and I reflect more on the situation):
1. Don't do business with friends or relatives. Now I can't make that a hard and fast rule, because I'm doing business with a friend but we are working more as partners. Perhaps I should say here, don't provide goods or services to a friend or relative in the context of a business transaction.
2. If people are bad clients, that is to say, pushy, rude, selfish, lacking boundaries, weak, or passive-agressive, you don't want them in your life anyway, in any capacity. I'm going to also go out on a limb and say that they probably exhibit these same characteristics in their personal relationships to a greater or lesser degree.
A few years ago, I might have lamented this whole situation. I would have analyzed it to death and thought of it as a personal reflection on me. I certainly wouldn't have reacted the way I did, which was to immediately get angry in a flash that passed as quickly as it came upon me. I then gave the deadbeats a few choice words and moved on to the next.
So far in this business I've had people from all walks of life flake out on me: a wanna-be celebrity chef in L.A., a couple of well-meaning but slightly provincial "ghetto executives," the editor of a fairly well-known magazine, and now these two. It's always tough too take and I imagine there will be many more and I will spend more time licking my wounds than I did this time around. Overall, however, I'm proud that I've gotten to a place in my life where I see no other option but to put myself out there. Now, I feel like I don't know how to live any other way.
I like that.