Advice To My Younger Self

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Melissa DiVietri

I know it’s hard to believe that I’m almost 30 years old … gasp. Well, it’s coming and I’m pretty upset about my success rate for this age. I have a lot of goals set for myself, brand and business. Trying to knock them down while the buzz of handling life can be distracting. You will never grow as a business owner if you continue to lower your costs and do things for free. You will never grow your brand if you cheat yourself and under value your work.

My entrepreneurial advice to my younger self: “Stop being obedient.”

I’m completely done being taken advantage by underserving “friends” who want everything done immediately and/or free. They sound more like acquaintances.. I shouldn’t have to put a friend in a contract outlining fulfillment of their end of the deal. If you are a real friend, you would pay for my time and services or trade services – you know the value, worth and what I put into every project. QUALITY COMES AT A COST. You can’t expect me to drop everything because you need something. Go to Craigslist for that — ish!

  • What have you done for me?
  • Did you return the favor that I’ve done for you?
  • Do you deserve to jump to the front of the line when you havent even picked up the phone?
  • When was the last time you asked me to come out for a drink or lunch?

Are you really a friend if I am constantly bending myself backwards to make you happy? I’m such a nice person that I want to help you.. I want to grow your business for you. But will this task come at a cost that hurts me in the end? Will I survive in this industry if I let friends walk all over me? If business professionals walk over me?.. period. No.

I’m sorry that my aggressiveness comes off as a threat to some individuals but you need to understand that I’m just balancing my time / efforts so I can sleep at night. If you knew what my calendar looked like over the next 6 months; you would be in shock on how organized I am with my time. I am SUPER Planner as some folks will say. My itinerary and organization skills are off the hook. With multiple trips to different countries, business conferences and the adventurous travel.. it is challenging to meet with clients in person or go out with friends. I have contracts to upload and fulfill my end of the deal. My clients come as first priority for my business.. they are paying for my services and I will not cut corners. My clients know they can count on me.. knocking out the deadlines, squeezing in last minute projects on Fridays.. over the weekends. I bend myself backwards to make my clients happy to continue my success rate. Their business is my business. Everything they worked for in their life, I take that as my blood and sweat too. It’s called passion.

I love my career because I grew this brand to where I am today. I wake up everyday excited to go to my office in Detroit. I am excited for the opportunities in my inbox, social media or voice messages. I have calls at 10PM or later on most nights. It’s the only time that we can get together because of circumstances with family, work or appts.. but I make it work because I love their business and I want to be apart of it. I can’t accept every job that comes across my desk because I would be flooded with things that don’t benefit me. Yes, I am going to start being selfish and only do things for me.. from now on. I have to BELIEVE in your brand.

I’ve learned my lesson multiple times to help out a friend who isn’t deserving… people who don’t follow through with what they are going to do. Don’t get me wrong, I have go getters in my world.. “Friends with successful businesses”.. you’re more than a friend, you are family because you are passionate about getting things done!

My friends / family send text messages or snaps on silly things.. like asking how I am doing, horoscopes, rants on video.. I love it. It’s not just business for them, it’s other things like my well being and what I am up too. They ask for business advice on logo designs, get togethers for networking or just a meet up to chat. Those are the people who are worth my time of day.

If you feel that this post offends you.. maybe it is indirectly about you. Maybe, it’s a wake up call to stop taking advantage of my skills and time. #SorryNotSorry You’re not a true friend if you send me 18 emails a day instead of picking up the phone (like I asked you too) to talk to me about something.

My advice to my younger self would be to smell out these people ahead of time. You never know someone’s intentions until you see their true colors. You have to pay your dues to get to where I am.. so starting paying.