When One Door Closes

Does another always open?

Is this a sign that I need to move on? That I need to close my business down?

It’s sucking so much energy from my bones, as I sit there and read email after email from people wanting something for free or wanting to book me for consulting work, yet cannot pay for it.

Did I do this to myself? Did I draw in this slew of people who demand and demand and take and take but never, ever want to give what’s deserved?

I did…

It started when I became an entrepreneur.

I grew up poor in a rich neighborhood.

“Boo-hoo for you,” someone mocks. And for the longest time I’d considered those words: A poor girl in a rich neighborhood as a complaint which never had merit.

“Try being a poor person in a poor area, Bitch.”
“Try being black, Asshole.”

But that’s where my story starts: Poor white girl surrounded by nice homes and nice things I’d likely never have if I didn’t escape my “poor mentality”. Because, you know, those things are what matter.

So, I’ve always had a cozy, warm space in my heart for the other people like me. And as I fought and worked and rose beyond what I never thought I could reach, I opened my heart and bled onto my platform.

Life kept kicking me and trying to drag me down, but I fought through it, despite depression and disease and marriage and motherhood, I prevailed, for the most part (for the time being?).

So, I stopped and stepped back and finally started doing something for me: Writing.

Now I can’t stop writing and writing as, for the first time in probably my entire life, I feel genuine happiness rise within me as the constantly streaming words flow from my brain down through my fingertips.

But my business helps people, I tell myself. My writing will get there but, for now, the business is good for everyone else. It’s my only direct income as of late, and I don’t want to let that go either.

But what did I do to get here? Angry and frustrated and ready to close the doors to the biggest professional move I’ve ever made on my own.

Was it that I underpriced? Could be.

I gave too much to people who demand and demand and take and take, but are never willing or able to give what’s owed.

They don’t read the policies and demand refunds on non-refundable, digital items. They tell me they can’t afford a six-dollar electronic book and ask, if I have any goodwill, to [please] give them the book for free.

They test me and try me and poke at my compassion. They drain me of every good, thoughtful reason why I started my business in the first place.

Now, I’m feeling more like it is just about the money, and the money doesn’t feel like it’s enough anymore.

Is this how it starts? How big businesses go from being thoughtful and considerate to ruthless, heartless even?

It’s down to a decision — one I could regret wholly or benefit from entirely.

Do I leave the content up for the people who could benefit? Or end it because the Relentless Narcissists seem to work harder to get something for free than they will to change their circumstances?

I think I know what to do — something temporary, a bandage to seal my hemorrhaging compassion.

I don’t want to give up what I built because the dozens of Takers, but I don’t love it enough to keep dealing with them any longer.

Maybe I need a new approach.

Maybe I will…