So… how do I trust, again?

Coming from a journalism background, I’ve been trained to never trust anyone. The old saying goes, "if your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Now I’m working as a freelancer in the digital marketing sphere, I’m learning this is not the attitude that wins people over.

I just lost a client because I didn’t show trust, and I didn’t earn trust. I’m learning that businesses, especially small businesses, operate off trust as if it was cold hard cash. It’s an interesting and difficult transition from journalism.

My dad bought his first business on a handshake. He sometimes bragged about that fact. But I’m not sure how that works anymore. Don’t you need something like a business prenup? Shouldn’t you contract out every agreement? Shouldn’t you lawyer up to protect your assets? Shouldn’t you demand everything upfront and in writing?

Small businesses don’t work like that. At least not in practice. Many people in small businesses start them because they want to move away from all that.

So how do I learn to trust when, with one hand, I leave my services flexible and accommodating for clients and, on the other hand, I’m writing an 8-page contract covering my ass?

I realize I’m expecting trust to be granted to me, but I’m also not giving it back out. In journalism that’s an asset, but in business, and in relationships, that’s a problem. A real problem.

I’m also dealing with trust issues in a new way: I’m working with a virtual assistant for the first time. And to outsource tasks that normally my brain controls is a huge exercise in trust. But I can’t expand my business without assistance. I’ve been out with a bad back for the last 2 months. I can’t work on the computer as much as I could previously. I have to trust. It’s my survival.

This is all counter to the prevailing narrative that entrepreneurs are lone guns, that they can do it all themselves, that they should take over the world and trust no one. There’s also similar to narrative for the strong independent woman, that she doesn’t need anybody in order to be successful.

These are all lies. Trust builds relationships. Relationships fuel life. Anyone that tells you otherwise is misleading you.

It’s going to take a little work and a bit of exercise for me to build those trust muscles again. I don’t know where they went, or if I had them in the first place, but I know they’re there. And I know my survival depends on it.

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