What she does say really takes me by surprise. She begins by saying how she has no doubt that my company will be successful and I will be rich and famous. But ………I don’t see you and your husband staying together. Well that’s straight out of left field, I can’t even imagine why she is saying this and I am starting to wonder if she is crazy. I just stared at her in utter disbelief, I dropped her off and she was still clueless as to what I might be thinking.
After I dropped her off I can’t quit thinking about her proposal, should I give her 10% plus $50 an hour this doesn’t feel right at all. What if I say no and she quits then what will I do? I start thinking about all the times where she overcharged me or steam rolled over me and I let her get away with it. I should have put a stop to it sooner, I am disappointed in myself. Every time I turn around she’s finding a new way to take more, more money, charge more time and now this. My first instinct was to say “hell no” and after thinking about it all day I was still struggling with it the next day.
At this point I decide to ask Amy for advice but, she can’t meet with me until lunch on Friday. I should be thinking about the loan but all I can think about is Mary, I am very unsettled all week. I just keep thinking that if I do this she will keep upping the ante but if I don’t then she will quit. I have a feeling she is threatening me, she isn’t saying it but that’s the energy around not only this incident but looking back at other things that’s the general feeling I have.
June 5, 2009
I meet with Amy for lunch and I bring my contract with Mary so Amy can look it over. Amy was very concerned that although we have a consultant agreement, it doesn’t say specifically that she cannot use her knowledge of my company. She checks on the laws regarding this in my state and it is implied that consultants are bound by non-disclosure. I need to have all my ducks in a row before I make a move. Amy and I discuss at great length what I should do.
Amy had some strong opinions after the meeting with the bank. Her take was that Mary was way overstepping her bounds as a consultant. Amy thought that Mary wanted this to be her company and that if you didn’t know better you would think that Mary was the owner and that I worked for her. She made some comments about it being the Mary show and that Mary came off as not credible and very arrogant. Which was also my opinion but it’s nice when someone else feels the same way.
We discussed getting a non-disclosure in place with Mary; my idea was to say the bank wanted to see a contract and non-disclosure to add to my loan documents. After talking to Amy the consensus was that I would just tell Mary very nicely that I cannot afford to pay $150 an hour even though I think you are fantastic and are worth it (not really, but she is ego driven I think this approach best). I was also going to nicely say that I didn’t want to give up any ownership in my company and remind her that was why I was trying to get a loan first. But that worse case I might have to bring in investors and I would need that for potential investors now or in the future. I was going to tell her that we could revisit the $150 an hour when the company became profitable. I still was feeling uneasy and kept contemplating ways to handle this situation so that I would feel better.
June 6, 2009
I get woken up by the sound of my phone at 7:55 am on a Saturday (obviously this person doesn’t know me very well.) Then I see its Mary and all I can think is “I can’t deal with you right now.” I let voicemail pick it up.” As I’m making coffee I decide to see what is so important and when I hear her message my heart starts pounding.
She has just got off the phone with her friend who is a PR person who had recently recommended someone to me and after 2 meetings the lady totally flaked. Anyway, in the message it states that her friend suggested to Mary. “You could do the PR, you are a writer you are a marketing person.” So Mary barrels on about how she can take over marketing and PR and advertising she just needs to set aside time on her schedule.
I panic “thinking oh my God this is how she’s going to take all my money.” She wants 10% she wants $50 an hour and now she will start taking marketing, advertising and PR to the tune of who knows how much. In my panicked state I think I have to stop her and stop her now. Although we have a meeting on Tuesday knowing Mary she will say on Tuesday that she has worked all weekend and here is the new bill.
As it stands I paid her $250 on Tuesday June 2nd and since she spent an hour with me at the bank and an hour telling me how she wants my business and an hour for lunch (I paid of course) she still owes me 2 hours and I think that’s beyond generous on my part.
So I call her back and tell her that I have a friend that is a writer and I would like to have her to do these tasks. To which she replies “well if she doesn’t work out let me know.” Then she goes on to say that she is a writer her husband was just saying that to her. Remember the paper she wrote on her cancer the doctor wants her to write another one for his patients.
Then she says that since she is asking to be a bigger part of the company she wants to start doing more. This would be a good offer if she wasn’t also adding billable hours to me at $50 per hour.
I very nicely say I don’t know how to say this, I’ve been thinking about her proposal and I would love to have the money to pay her $150 an hour because she is worth it. But as she already knows I don’t have that kind of money. I explain that I don’t want to give up any control of my company, I remind her about the loan and then point out that I might have to use shares of the company to get started. The loan isn’t in the bag yet and even though I don’t want to, I might have to sell shares of the company to raise capital.
That’s when she very clearly tells me that she has other designers wanting her time and that she is getting to a point in her life where she needs security. She needs to know that she’s making more than an hourly wage and that she will give me until Tuesday to decide but if I don’t give her the 10% she will have to resign on Tuesday. I say I will think about it and see you on Tuesday. Within the hour I get this email copied exactly as written misspellings and all.
I don’t want to leave the conversation the way we did over the phone,
As per my request for shares of the company, this is what I need to continue. My roll in helping you get to where you are has been enormous, for which I have been compensated at a fraction of my normal fee. I did this to help you get started, but now in order for me to continue with you I will need to know that my time and knowledge is worth more the an hourly wage. If you do not feel you need my consulting to continue and grow your company to its fullest potential then we can part ways. I have no ill feelings about this and I hope you do not either. It is just business.
Please let me know your decision by Tuesday, if you do decide to not continue with my services you will need to revise your plan and remove my name from your business plan.
Well there you have it my friend, the ultimatum. I was so angry when I saw this I thought I would blow.