I am sure most of us have heard this joke before.. that the most dangerous of ships has to be 'Friendship'. It is most misunderstood too, and very often taken for granted. And when such a situation arises, there are bound to be complications. And to make matters worse, when you are doing business in friendship, it screws up things further.
As a rule I try to avoid doing business with friends. I already do too much charity work through the NGOs that I am associated with, and if I have to work for a friend who is earning well and needs something for his/ her business, I would charge. It's as simple as that. My argument to that is, ok so you run a software company or have your regular job. So as a friend if I ask you to design and develop an entire software for me for free.. will you do it? No! So then, why expect me to do the photography and your design work for free?
Don't I put in an effort to the work? I know it why. You do not respect the work and the effort that goes in to that. And it is for that very reason you will never be able to understand why a photographer or a designer charges so much for what they do. I am also not trying to tell you to try and understand it. So please do not get me wrong.
Having said that, unfortunately the sad part is that I might still go ahead and do it for free. I will tell you why. It's because I am an emotional person and I believe more in human connections than business connections. I know a lot of friends take advantage of this thing and I get caught in trying to help them out. They play with you as pawns in a chess. "Kaam de do .. It they get something good, if not then also ok. Big deal.. He is a friend after all." This is what they may think, and that they can exploit the way they want it. Excuse me. I absolutely detest that.
As friend I know that there is a line to be drawn in this situation and both friends should understand this clearly. There should be no confusion in what's expected for the work at hand and why this is being done. I recently read a comment, where in a designer was asked a question, what is the best time for u to work. And she replied, that time is everytime I get paid. If things are being done for free for friends and family, i tend to not have the same commitment in the work.
Anyway business with friends is something totally different and not the essence of this post.
I am more concerned and worried about the relationships and the human values that I associate with friendship. Talking things out and explaining things the way they ought to be is the prime-essential factor. Work and renumeration for a work comes later. If you do not like the work, then tell it. As a friend I would understand. The nature of my job is such that the deliverables are subjective. What I design or photograph need not be liked by you and that is perfectly fine. I am willing to accept it. But not liking the deliverable does not give you a right / authority to question the ability of me. If you had a doubt, then why come to me in the first place? You were taking a chance, weren't you? Damn it! I should have known. But poor me, I again got caught in the emotional atyachaar.
The above might not be the best way business is done. But then I am not a businessman either. When I need to be professional, I do it and have my client testimonials to reaffirm that. Similarly, when I am dealing with friends, I have a certain way of working.
These small incidents make me rethink of my decisions on trusting a friend after having experienced a similar situation before with the same person. It makes one look sad that the first time that I had forgiven the friend was a mistake. I feel disheartened.
I fail to go by business standards with friends. If I act professional, they have a problem with that, if I do not be professional they take advantage of me. Maybe because as friends I am trying to help them. I am connected with them on a personal level. Business takes a backseat there. I am not saying that this is the right way of doing it, its just the way I do it. Just the way I felt it.
If I felt bad about something and felt hurt, in all probability I would tell it out, as I think its pointless to just keep it at heart and sulk over it. I tried doing that and got fired back at instead. Had to bear a lot of harsh words, and when I replied back in acceptance with a smile, the friend had a problem with that too! Ridiculous!
I understand that the friend is a highly successful entrepreneur with a flourishing business and I always wish him the very best, and his way of working are fine for him. But that does not mean that I should follow suit. People are different, they have different ways of working. One needs to at-least acknowledge and appreciate that.