I work in an industry in which it’s very easy to get burned. I write this matter-of-factly, with as little emotion as possible. Like death and taxes, the following is a certainty: If you work in cannabis, at one point or another, you will get burned.
Some of us will get burned once. This is because some of us have the sense to sit down after the fact and soberly reflect on why we were burned in the first place.
Not your gal Amie.
In my case, it’s taken several second and third degree scorchings to come to the following conclusion; every time I get burned, it’s completely my fault.
Unduly harsh? Hell no.
Like many sales people, marketers and brokers, I was taught to be a people person- friendly and outgoing, flexible and available. I was taught not to talk about money or the cost of my time, to focus instead on proving myself, building relationships and cultivating trust. Above all, I was taught to make people believe in me.
And there lay the root of my problem. In trying to get others to believe in me, I wasn’t believing in myself.
For the longest time I worried about not being likable. That if I demanded contracts and non-disclosure agreements, I’d be considered aggressive, greedy or a downright bitch.
But if you want to get ahead in this business, the business part of yourself is what you should present first.
Don’t get me wrong. You can be friendly and you should always be fair, but above all PROTECT YOURSELF.
It’s too easy to say “yes I can do that” or “don’t worry, we’ll talk about the details afterward.”
Real respect comes from phrases like “let me think about it”, “I’ll get back to you” and “I need some time”.
I can’t stress this last phrase enough. Give yourself time. I’m talking about time to assess the opportunity. Time to analyze what you will be committing to and how much that commitment is worth. Time to craft the appropriate non-disclosure agreement followed by a term sheet and a contract so iron clad that not even the most ruthless CEO can default or circumvent you.
This leads me to my next point: do your homework.
Know who you are dealing with. Do more than a bit of research and find out their business history. Do they have a pattern of cheating, lying or stealing? Ask yourself why they need you and when you figure that out, don’t ever say it to them out loud.
In Robert Greene’s excellent book, “The 48 Laws of Power” there is sage advice on how to take power in a situation. For me, one law stands above all else.
Always say less than necessary.
Keep your cards close and never wear your heart on your sleeve. The slightest show of vulnerability or weakness and you are fair game. I’ve especially found this true as a woman in the industry.
I can go on, but then I won’t have material left for my other blog posts.
For the time being I suggest you reread the above and learn from my mistakes. And when you are done, go buy “The 48 Laws of Power.” Trust me, it’s the kind of book you want in hard cover. Take the time to read it and memorize all 48 laws like your professional life depends on it.
And if you still get burned, remember one thing- burns happens to everyone.
It’s what you choose to do with the pain that will determine whether or not you get burned again.