So recently I got really pissed off about a business transaction and rather than just waste that emotion, I jotted down a few notes to share, because it was just as much a teachable moment for me as it might be for anyone else.
My main day-to-day activity revolves around running MaidThis Franchise, supporting our franchisees and interviewing potential ones. I also have fun sharing Remote Local perspectives on a podcast, Twitter, and in articles like this. In my spare time I also enjoy the occasional real estate deal. That occasional real estate deal was the reason for a lot of annoyance the other week.
I was looking to buy a duplex and had gotten all the way to closing day and suddenly the seller wanted more money for no reason. He had been a bit odd throughout the transaction but you can always chalk that up to the oddities of any given deal.
But my anger was telling me: “This isn’t fair, you need to walk.” But there was still enough Neel above that anger line reasoning, “Well, let’s not just blow everything up because you’re pissed.” A colleague shared a story that gave me a bit more perspective.
Some years ago during the due diligence phase of a business transaction, he discovered that one of his employees had been stealing from the company, to the tune of at least $20,000 (that they knew of). He was eager to calm the buyer and called him right away and let him know not to worry, that it would be entirely tied off and that he, as the seller, would assume any legal bills that would accrue: it would not impact the transaction at all. The buyer had developed a good relationship with my colleague so once that was agreed, the seller went on to extract a bit of “justice” in his eyes: he withheld the final paycheck as a “down payment” towards the stolen funds.
A couple weeks passed and he got a phone call from the ousted employee who had retained a lawyer and was demanding his final paycheck. “He stole from me, this is the least I can do against those funds,” was his position. The lawyer listened, then said, “Look, I don’t represent you, so you can take my words with a grain of salt, but go talk to a lawyer: the law in this state doesn’t allow for you to withhold a paycheck, even with a criminal conviction. If you want to pay to find this out, not only will you have to pay the money anyway, you’ll have to pay the legal bills as tuition for employment law in this state.” The seller was quiet. The lawyer continued, “Sometimes you can’t afford to have principles.”
This bothered my friend, but he understood the point: he wasn’t being asked to say what was unfair was fair: he was simply being asked to confront reality. He paid the final paycheck, reluctantly, and learned a lesson about employment law without having to pay the legal fees to learn more than he needed to.
So, for various reasons I ended up pulling out of the deal entirely, which cost me the $3400 earnest money that is sitting in escrow. If nothing happens between me and the buyer, it will simply go to the hands of the state. I’ve even asked him to split it with me 50/50, but haven’t heard anything.
So, I didn’t tell you all of that just to have a bit of storytime: I wanted you to get context for a framework I now use in emotional situations, which I put together with the advice of my friend and business partner David Lahav.
- Identify that you’re emotional about something and let it out. Call the person names (in the privacy of your own home) and vent to whomever is willing to listen, even your pets if they are kind enough.
- Realize that emotional time is not decision making time and do something to reset yourself. This could be:
- Breath work/meditation
- Taking a shower
- Take the time to analyze what’s really going on here and what’s in your interest and what adversity you are willing to accept as part of what happens next.
- Make a decision.
As I’ve noted over and over, there are many aspects to the entrepreneurial journey that are going to be new the first time you experience them, and you’ll make mistakes. As long as you take the time to realize what those mistakes were and how to improve the next time, your business savvy (and zen) will only grow over time.
This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.