Kindred Parents – A Website, Brand, & Business Launch!

We’re thrilled to tell you about a new website we recently launched for Kindred Parents!  Our relationship with Nikki started back in the day…  Ok, not too long ago!  I’d been chatting with Nikki off and on for a while before she decided to take the branding plunge.  I’m so glad she did, because I had a blast working on this brand with Nikki!  It’s quite modern, youthful, and edgy without being totally over the top.  Take a look:

The color palette is one of my favorites I’ve ever worked with, and Nikki was a dream to work with — during the concept presentation, I warned her that one of the concepts may look a bit “plain” compared to the rest, but that I had intentions, if it was chosen, to do all sorts of pattern work and make it fun & whimsical.  I was so thrilled to find out that it was the concept that Nikki preferred!  I find that it’s quite versatile.  Not pictured?  The circular watercolor logo comes in *all* of the palette colors!  I love that!

Shortly after the brand was complete, Nikki got in touch with us about a website.  She was such a pleasure to work with, and she offers a really neat & unique experience at Kindred Parents.  We’d definitely recommend any of our Canadian followers near Port Hope in Ontario stop on by.  We wanted Nikki to tell us a bit about KP, what motivates her, and what this process was like for her.  Take a look below!

 

Tell us a little about yourself & what motivates you, personally.

Originally from rural Northumberland County in Ontario Canada, I spent the last 10 years in Toronto enjoying city life, studying Child and Youth Care and working in Student Affairs at Humber College. Throughout my academic and professional career I have developed a passion for education and working with families, which has been the motivating force behind starting my own family-oriented business.

2015 was busy year, full of change for my family. I was planning a wedding, working, and completing my undergrad degree, when we found out that we were expecting our first baby! Everything changed for me then, though I was graduating I knew I wouldn’t be jumping right in to the workforce right away like my classmates, rather, I would be embarking on this whole new adventure of parenthood-and what an adventure it has been!

After my daughter was born I started seeking out various groups, classes, and anything else I could find in my area to get out of the house, connect with other new moms, and have some fun with my new baby. Luckily for me, there was a lot available to me in the city. It wasn’t long before my husband and I started thinking of moving out of the hustle and bustle of the city to be closer to our families, and I started to think about what would be next for me professionally. With my passion for working with families, together with my background in program development and adult education the idea for Kindred Parents began to emerge.

 

How long have you been thinking about taking this step & do you wish you’d done it sooner?

The idea for Kindred Parents had been floating around in my head for about a year, but with having just had a baby I wasn’t sure if this was something that was feasible for me and my family at this time. I started doing some research and developing my business in my ‘free’ time, which any full-time mom will tell you is very limited, but the more work I did, the more momentum I gained, and things really started to come together.

When I found out this past summer that I was expecting again, I had a few moments of serious self-doubt wondering how I was going to pull this off, and I even considered putting the whole thing on the back burner for a while. Ultimately, I made the decision to push ahead because something was telling me that now was just the time, and I didn’t want to hold back out of fear.

 

Can you tell us how you arrived at the point that you are now in your business & where you’d like to be in 5 years with it?

The journey to where I am now has consisted of many months of planning and evolving my vision for the type of business I would like to run. Countless hours of research and development have gone into the creation of my business plan. I am proud to announce that all of our financing has just come through, and we are set to open the Kindred Parents Studio and Boutique in Port Hope, Ontario, next month!

While I am very much focused on all of the exciting work I am doing right now to get my business up and running, it is so important to always be looking to the future. In 5 years I would like to see Kindred Parents established as a beneficial family resource, where new and expecting parents and young families can find a sense of community and support. While we plan to launch with a modest selection of Parent-Child classes created around themes of music, art, fitness, physical development and more, we hope to continue to grow and expand our services to meet the diverse needs of families in our area.

 

What do you find particularly motivating with respect to Kindred Parents?

The reality is early parenthood can be really a challenging and sometimes an isolating time, especially for new moms. I really want to provide parents with a place that they can learn and chat about parenting topics, connect with other families, and have fun with their little ones. As a new mom myself, I personally attest to the benefits of these type of programs offer. I very much look forward to using my background and skills to bringing this type of service to my community.

 

Do you have any words of advice for people thinking about taking the same step as you & launching their own business?

I think one of the most important things to remember in launching your own business is that you really need to be willing to put in the work, it really isn’t going to happen overnight. You also don’t want to just jump in blind, so it is important to do your homework and get feedback. What helped me the most was connecting with programs that offer mentorship to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, as this will help you to start considering things you may not have thought of. With my background not being in business, becoming this has been a huge learning curve for me so having professional support has been invaluable. What has kept me going through everything is that I really believe in what I am doing, and I like a challenge!

 

 

You can check Nikki out at KindredParents.com.  And, if you’re local to her, here’s some additional contact info!

100 Peter Street, Lower Unit
Port Hope, Ontario L1A 1C3
Phone: (905) 800-1414
General Inquiries: info@kindredparents.com

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Branding: Three Mistakes to Avoid

Branding is complex.  Let’s get that out of the way.  There are so many things to consider.  We ensure that every custom design we turn over meets design principles, works psychologically for your business + intended audience, and we also do our best to include most of your preferences.  Undoubtedly, the branding process can be stressful for our clients because we bring to your attention all of the things you must consider and all of the information we need you to provide.  Here are three mistakes to avoid in your branding journey with your designer!

 

Not being specific enough.

We know you’ve hired us because we’re the professionals, but we still need a lot of input from you.  Telling us that we’re the experts and you’d be happy with anything we provide is basically a recipe for disaster.  It doesn’t give us a frame of reference for your logo ideas or brand aesthetic.  It usually leads to dissatisfaction when you give us design freedom.  Giving us specific information doesn’t necessarily box us in and hinder creativity.  It’s actually quite helpful to know that you’d prefer pink florals to orange florals, or that you don’t want to have a serif font in your logo.  Specific details enable us to craft your brand in such a way that it meets more of your expectations.

 

Rushing the process.

We do not rush branding.  Let me repeat!  WE DO NOT RUSH BRANDING.  We know you’re eager to have a brand in place, but rushing the creation process will always lead to some form of unhappiness…either on our part, yours, or both.  Ideas & concepts take time to develop, logos take time to design.  Personally, I like to design logos, and then let them simmer for a bit.  This is built in to our time frame that we provide people, so that I can make adjustments and really stew on what works & what doesn’t.  The attention to detail & care your brand receives if we’re not rushed will make for a much better, solid brand.  Your deadline is not our emergency.  If you’re in dire need of a logo, we have a ton of premade ones available!

 

Branding for yourself & not your prospective client.

This is a mistake that many people often make in the branding process.  We have many a client come to us and let us know that they love arrows, feathers, and flowers, and that their favorite color is blue.  It usually doesn’t fit with their business venture or the type of client they’re trying to reach.  When you think about what your brand ought to be, you should consider what would be appealing to the person that you want to reach.  Consider location, gender, income level, and more when you think about what might be appealing to your target audience.  When all else fails, ask someone that matches your target audience.  While we definitely want for you to love your logo and feel connected to it, it’s far more important for your target audience to connect with your logo, since they’re the ones buying your products!

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Noruz Mobarak! Happy Persian New Year!

Noruz Mobarak! Happy Persian New Year!Noruz Mobarak!  Happy Persian New Year, y’all! It coincides with the beginning of spring, and I’ve taken quite a liking to celebrating!  I had no idea that such a thing even existed until I went to language school and we were basically immersed in all things language and culture, and what a freaking treat it was to celebrate the Persian New Year with our instructors!  You have no idea how much amazing food was there.

Confession

I barely ever maintain my language skills these days.  Ok, never.  I never maintain my language skills.  Sigh.  My hubs does more than I do — still understand 75% of it, hate speaking it (public speaking/anxiety thing), but can write it without a problem.  See?  It says Noruz Mobarak, and if you’re not familiar…it’s written & read right to left, not left to write like so many other languages.  It was such an odd thing to learn…because when you’re learning your own native tongue as a child, you don’t consider that there might be other possibilities out there.  Anyway, I don’t use the language anymore, despite the fact that my daughter has Iranian heritage.  I’ve tried to get her interested in learning it, and she swears she will — but later.  Of course.  Like her mother.

Celebrate

I always thought that Noruz was the perfect combo of a New Year’s celebration, paired with some of the same things that happen in our regular springtime schedule…you know, like spring cleaning (Khaneh Tekani).  There are fireworks on Chaharshanbe Suri on the last Wednesday before Noruz…  There’s even a Halloween-esque part called Qashoq Zani (literally: banging spoons) in which people in disguises go door to door making a racket and get snacks.  Pretty cool, right?  There’s also a Haft Seen table and a gift exchange.

Chow Down

I love a good kebab, but hands down, my favorite Persian dish ever is javaher polow, or jeweled rice.  I use the recipe I linked you up with, but I often make my own changes.  Barberries aren’t super easy to come by, so I substitute with any number of dried fruits.  I’ve done cherries and blueberries, and it’s equally as amazing.  I also substitute different nuts — the last time I made it, I used cashews instead of almonds, and it was equally as good!  My favorite part is the tahdig…that’s the rice at the very bottom of the pot that gets crusty and crunchy.  It’s the best part of a rice dish, the part people fight over.  The best thing I can compare it to is the corner piece for everything.  Brownies, baked mac & cheese…you get it.  It’s the goodness in the dish.

Do you celebrate Noruz?  What’s your favorite Persian dish?

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Brand Brag: Aussie Star Resources

Meet Amy, y’all!

Amy is one of our Australian clients that we had the pleasure of working with around the Christmas + New Years time of year.  Amy’s business, Aussie Star Resources, is designed to help other teachers with some amazing educational resources.

Check out her brand!

 

 

Tell us a bit about how you got started with your business / blog / venture that we branded.

From the moment I started teaching the Australian National Curriculum I knew there was a need for fun and engaging teaching resources for upper primary students. Some of the topics can be a bit dull (ok, VERY dull) and the demands on teacher’s time are constantly increasing – they just don’t have the time to make awesome resources and maintain some semblance of a life! My goal was to make life easier for Australian Upper Primary teachers and every resource I make must meet that requirement. I want Aussie Star Resources to make teacher’s lives easier so they can spend time doing the things they love rather than worrying about creating or finding teaching resources. I know what it’s like to spend evenings creating activities and printables, or brainstorming ways to teach a concept when all you really want is to spend time with your family and looking after yourself. I know what it’s like to worry about not getting it all done and trying to find something that will help to ease the load. I’ve been there! Teaching is an incredibly demanding profession and the demands seem to be growing, so if Aussie Star Resources can ease the load on Aussie teachers then I’ve achieved my major goal as a resource developer.

 

Aussie Star Resources Brandboard

What products or services do you offer?

Aussie Star Resources offer digital products that align with the Australian National Curriculum and make teachers lives easier. It’s so simple! Once a product has been purchased it can be downloaded immediately, printed and it’s ready to go. Our blog strives to provide teachers with advice, information and links to help them teach the curriculum content. As we grow our content we are endeavoring to be a one-stop-shop for Australian Upper Primary teachers. We’re currently building a resource library of free resources especially for Upper Primary teachers.

 

What’s the best advice you have for someone that is interested in doing something similar to you?

When i was setting goals for 2107 creating a cohesive brand was at the top of the list. I had spent a great deal of time defining my ideal customer, refining what Aussie Star was all about and how this might translate visually. From this I created a moodboard and went in search of a designer who could help me. I found Beck and Autumn Lane Paperie on Etsy and fell in love with some of their pre-made logos. As I wanted something unique to my business I bought the Business Branding Package. I have to admit I was worried that Beck might not get the “Australian” aspect of my brand but the initial questionnaire was very thorough and gave me an opportunity to tell Beck about my business in great detail. It clearly made sense because I had such a hard time choosing from the designs beck created! Every time she sent me design options I wanted them all! Despite the time difference Beck and I were able to communicate all revisions and requests quickly and efficiently and within a few weeks I had a new look for my business that I love and that is totally inline with the visual vibe of Aussie Star Resources.

What does the future hold for you?

I am loving working for myself and it is my intention that Aussie Star Resources will grow to offer resources and assistance for Aussie teaches across all upper primary subject areas. I am also working on a strategy for a membership website which I hope to launch by the end of this year. This will mean I need to tap in to the creative genius of Autumn Lane Paperie’s team again to help me out and I am looking forward to that!

 

 

Contact Amy!

www.aussiestarresources.com.au

aussiestarresources@gmail.com

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Badass Boss Babe Inspo

Another round of badass boss babe inspo for you!

It’s short, sweet, and to the point.  And it’s something you need to know, too.

You’ve got this.

This lovely affirmation is clickable — download it and post to your social media, and encourage everyone else — they’ve got this, too!  You can also click here to download!

 

Want font info?

This is one of three fonts in the Fabs and Stylish family.  I fell in love with this family the second I saw it — it’s so funky & trendy.  Fily, the designer, is an absolute doll, too, so it’s even better that I get to support a super sweet business owner with amazing talent!

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More Brush Script Goodness

More brush script goodness for y’all today.  I’ve been crushing on these brush script fonts for a while, so I thought I’d share some more favorites with you!  I swear I can’t get enough, but then again…  I am a total font junkie!

 

  1. Alegance
  2. Evenfall (comes with an italic option, too!)
  3. Lovetime
  4. Selima — this one is FREE, y’all!
  5. Sensation

And of course, the Frontage family is the number + title combo on this graphic.

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Real Talk: My Biggest Struggle as a Business Owner

Real talk: My biggest struggle as a business owner is standing up for myself and not allowing someone to take advantage of me.

Starting out, I felt frantic and desperate to close a sale.  I didn’t have a ton of proof of my work, my reputation, or anything like that.  Sometimes, I felt frustrated and exhausted by the end of the day because I couldn’t just say no. Inevitably, that the thing I decided to do at no charge wound up taking me three times longer than normal, because the client asked for revisions on what they didn’t pay for.

It wasn’t only that.  It was also working excruciatingly long hours because I was sure that my clients would be pissed if I didn’t deliver nearly immediately. I didn’t stand up for myself and my mental well-being, which I struggle with still.  I am torn between running a successful business and providing for my family, without letting the business run my life. It’s about balance, but I’m still finding it.

Why It’s Hard For Me

One of the reasons why I find that it’s so difficult to stop someone from taking advantage of me is because I don’t want them to think that it’s all about the money and nickel + diming them.

Isn’t that the most ridiculous thing that you’ve ever heard? It IS about the money, though. That’s ok.

Autumn Lane Paperie is a business. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a part time job or side gig. This business is THE way we put food on the table for our family. It has to be about the money because we have to make ends meet and live.

More Real Talk

Confession: I still feel hugely guilty when I tell someone no.  Also, I despise having to point back to policies to remind people that I’m telling them no for a reason.

Reality: If I didn’t say no, I’d never stop working. If I didn’t say no, I would over-promise and under-deliver, and I would feel even worse when my client didn’t love it. Additionally, if I didn’t set limits on what I do and don’t do based on any given order, I’d never reach the conclusion of some branding packages.

It’s tough, isn’t it? I can’t be the only one that feels like this or that deals with this.

What has been your biggest struggle as a business owner?

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My Work Day Must-Haves

These are a few of my favorite things… (In my head, I sang that. Did you?)

I’m a creative. I’m also a creature of habit. I also know that I’m a pretty anxious person. When things aren’t in their place, or things aren’t just right, I’m probably going to lose it or be totally unable to work. My work space is totally important, and I definitely have my favorite things to keep around to get me through my work day. How many of these are important to you?

My coffee.

This starts the moment I wake up and carries on through about lunch time.  Sometimes, an afternoon coffee really hits the spot.  I take my coffee with a bit of creamer, no sweetener.

I’m pretty particular about my coffee’s temperature, too.  It has to be just right — if it’s even borderline lukewarm, I can’t even!  I used to make trips to the microwave a few times during my day to nuke my half-finished cups of coffee. We ordered USB coffee warmers at one point.  They were super cute, and looked like donuts.  Unfortunately, they failed to heat up adequately, let alone keep our coffee warm.  Then, my mom got me a Yeti for Christmas.  How did I not know how amazing these things were before?!  All of the hype is true.  I can pour a giant cup of coffee in the morning and nurse it for HOURS without leaving my seat…and it stays the perfect temp!

Admission: on some days that I work a bit later, my coffee cup gets replaced by a wine glass when I’m winding down my day.  Not even going to lie about that!  😉  I’m a white wine gal, for the most part…  I do love a good sweet wine, but dry is where it’s at.

My planner.

I am a faithful Limelife Planner girl. I’ve ordered my last four planners from Limelife, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a lifesaver their products are. My planner love affair started in junior high. It never failed, though, that I would use the planner for a few months and then just stop because I hated the design. (I always picked one from Target or Wal-Mart that was a generic planner.) There was either not enough room, too much room, or it had spaces for appointments that I never had.

Limelife Planners are customizable with a variety of layouts, sizes, cover options, and accessories to boot, if you’re a decorative planner kind of girl. I’m not — I’m a functional planner kind of girl, and I would legitimately be lost without it. I keep track of client deadlines, due dates, and things that need my attention.  I’m pals with Leslie, Limelife’s owner.  I recently joined up with their referral program, so if you use my referral link, you can save $10 on your planner!

Spotify.

I use Spotify either on my phone, or on my iMac. My loved ones know I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  I don’t even know how to read music because I never learned, but I could not get things done without music. The majority of the time, I have earbuds in, or we’re blasting music on a portable speaker in our bedroom/office. My hubby is a Pandora guy, I’m a Spotify girl. I’m a rocker girl, more specifically.  I won’t even lie and say that I enjoy some of the slower froo-froo music or even some of the current hits on your regular ol’ radio station. Because, mostly, I don’t.  Everything rock is where it’s at. Classic rock, hair band rock, Southern rock, new rock, alternative, metal, you name it.

These days, I’ve been digging Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, and In This Moment. I love a good “get shit done” kinda tune. It’s really important for me to be able to tune out what’s around me to work on something creative.

My iPad Pro.

I’m a recent Apple convert (within the last year) and I’m still discovering the wonders of my iPad for the creative process. I don’t use it as often as I’d like, but it has been a total time saver and creative helping hand. It’s so convenient to pull up a client’s inspiration board while designing on my desktop computer, and it’s also AMAZING to cut some steps out of the design process by lettering & designing on an iPad app. I was slightly skeptical and not super sure about it at first, but the quality has been amazing. Equally amazing has been the response from clients about this new addition to our workflow and the awesome work we’ve been able to put out.

Aesthetic + set-up.

deskOk, it’s not really a tangible thing. My desk area HAS to be organized, so in a sense, it’s a must-have for my work day. I work on a corner Ikea desk that’s all white, so 1-2 times a week, the stuff on my desk gets moved and it gets a total wipe down so that the dog hair and dusty bits are gone. I have a picture of my family on my desk, a Young Living diffuser and some oils (Thieves & Christmas Spirit are my favorite), my iMac, iPad, Macbook Pro, and a super sweet little call bell that Autumn gave me for Mother’s Day in 2016. (When I ring it, she still comes running!)

Overall, my desk has to be organized and clean in order for me to think clearly. I love how my desk looks, and I think that happy spaces make for better work quality. I also love that my desk is set up with our picture wall right next to it. None of our frames match, and the pictures aren’t evenly spaced. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle, but it works and it’s very McWillough. We’ve got family pics, diplomas, awards, and a few shadow boxes.

The shadow boxes are my favorite because they’re filled with little bits & pieces of momentous occasions that mean a lot to me…whether it’s the receipt from the courthouse where Jeff and I got married, or the receipt from the pizza place in Barcelona we fell in love with (Il Commendatore — the Pizza Catalogna is the best), or a little trinket that one of the kids made for us, it really puts me in a happy mood.

Tell me – what are your must-haves? What do you like to be surrounded by in your work spaces?

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My Five Favorite Brush Fonts (for this five minutes)

Brush style scripts are totally hot right now – these are my five favorite brush fonts currently!  These have been used a lot for clients these days, requesting something that is easy to read, but still funky & has attitude.  I love that these are casual in nature, but that they’re strong enough to stand along as a wordmark.  I also love that they pair easily with a graphic to balance the brush aspect a bit in a logo.  Links to these fonts are posted below!

  1. Just Lovely — amazing with some fab alternates!
  2. Better Step — another great one with alternates.
  3. Brushfire
  4. Echo Soul
  5. Madina — now boasting a clean, less textured version of the font!

 

And honorable non-brushy mention?  The title & numbering here is from the super versatile Frontage family.

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How to Handle Friends + Family That Don’t Want to Pay

I make mention here & there about friends & families expecting handouts when you start a new business that might be beneficial to them.  I also make mention of the creative professional job field and how it’s often not taken seriously. Some of the posts are a little snarky and angsty, let’s be real.  I’ll admit it.  This time, though, I really want to explain why friends and family can have a very negative, detrimental effect on your business when they expect freebies.  I’ve had real-life experience with how to handle friends + family that don’t want to pay.

How to Handle Friends + Family That Don't Want to PayLet’s start with this: the expectation placed upon you as a new or growing business to provide goods and services for your family and friends is frustrating, is it not?  You have this awesome new product that you can’t wait to show people.  You know it’s going to be a total hit, and you’re filled with excitement over releasing this new thing.  And then, your pal says, “Man, that’s awesome!  Say, if you send one of those my way, I’ll be sure to mention where I got it from.”  There’s the ever popular, “But I can give you exposure!”  And the excitement vanishes, because you have a pit in your stomach over the uncomfortable position you’ve suddenly been thrust into.

Do you attempt to put on a smile, be positive, and thank your friend, sending the stuff their way, knowing that it’s not how you intended for it to be received?  Or do you politely decline, and feel really weird about telling your pal that they have to pay for it?

Let’s say that you send it even though you didn’t intend for it be this way.  What’s the positive here?  Sure, your pal could promote the hell out of this awesome new thing for you and bring some business your way.  That’s great, right?  (And totally uncommon.)  But what about the underlying, unsaid thing?  You know… where your friend [may have inadvertently] devalued your hard work by asking for this thing for free.  *gasp!*  I said it.  You didn’t really want to send it, you didn’t really want to give it away for free, and now you have this really weird feeling and you can’t put your finger on it.  Pretty sure that’s the feeling of hard work not being appreciated.

As a business owner and instant customer service rep, you’re going to feel the pull of obligation to do what you’re asked.  Declining or refusing would be rude, right?  They might say bad things about you, right?  And they said they’d put in a good word for you, right?

WRONG.  The fact that your pal even asked you is the rude part.

Here’s why.

 

Confidence.

Your friend may very well have good intentions in asking for this thing from you with the intent of helping you out.  Let’s get that straight.  MOST of the time, there are good intentions.  However, asking for this thing for free, and then qualifying it with any number of statements about referrals, recommendations, free exposure will really shake a person’s confidence.  You probably don’t even realize that you’re subconsciously starting to question yourself.  Is what I’m doing not worth payment?  Is it a good idea, but not good enough for people to pay me for it?  Does my friend think it’s not worth the price I’m asking?

 

Cost.

Running a business ain’t cheap.  You know it, I know it.  In order to make money, you often have to spend money.  And a whole lot of time.  Unless you have a solid plan to release a number of your items for free, and it’s in your budget, it’s expensive.  I’ve felt obligated, more than once, to provide a service to a friend with the hope of referrals.  I’ll admit it, and that’s why I can sit here and tell y’all that it’s a bad idea.

What happened next was shocking.  (That sounds like clickbait, doesn’t it?)

The referrals I received expected the same freebie treatment.  They legitimately said, “You gave it to so-and-so like this, I was hoping you’d be able to do the same.”

We settled on a discounted rate in the end.  I sank a lot of time into something that was worth a lot more than what I received.  See?  Costly.

 

Expectation.

Providing a freebie when you would normally be paid for it creates an expectation that you will always provide a freebie.  They will expect the same to always occur, more often than not.  Then, you’re stuck in a hard position.  Do you feed the expectation in order to keep the peace, or do you push back and feel that you’re risking a relationship?  Let’s face it.  If you feel that you’re risking a relationship by saying no, it’s probably not a relationship you want to carry on with a person.  Friends & family, please don’t put your favorite business owner in this position!

 


 

There’s really no winner in a situation like this, where someone expects or requests free products or services.

If you’re a friend or a family of a business owner, the best way that you can support them is to support their business by feeding it.  If they have something that is useful to you, whether it’s a product or service, stand behind them by being a patron and full supporter.  It means a lot to a business owner to know that someone they’re close to is willing to support them.  One good way to support them is by paying for the product or service, rather than expecting a handout.  In fact, it means a lot more than any client they didn’t have a previous relationship with.  It shows that you value their work and the time they’ve spent.  It also keeps both of you out of an awkward position.

You are not alone, business owner, if this is happening to you.  My best recommendation is to stick to your guns.  If you feel weird, awkward, or like you’re being used, you should politely pass on the opportunity.  You spend countless hours working toward what you have going on, so you should be treated like it!

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