This is essentially part 2 of yesterday’s post, “Be A Pro.”

This past Monday our VA 101 Mastermind group had our usual Monday Motivations session. Regina told us about a recent football game her son was in that ended in their team locker room being vandalized. The suspicion was that the vandals carried out this act because the visiting team was a Christian school, so they would be easy prey. The Christian school coach maintained poise and professionalism as he addressed his team. Regina’s son later told her that he greatly respected the coach for how he handled the situation.

I’m right there with him. Much respect, Coach! The story got me to thinking about the proper response to being wronged, and dealing with adversaries in general.

The Haters

I hesitate to use that term, because it’s being overused in current times. People label you a “hater” if you raise the slightest objection about anything. I got caught in this during a misunderstanding on Twitter. I follow the young lady who is the Cleveland Indians beat writer for mlb.com. I had noticed several times over the summer where she tweeted she would not be covering the team on an upcoming road trip. I wondered out loud why she was taking so many days off. A few people saw what I said and tweeted to me and the writer, “Don’t listen to the haters, Mandy, keep doing your great work!” The writer herself answered my tweet with, “I don’t make my own schedule; I go where mlb.com tells me to go. I’m sorry you think I’m slacking though.” I responded, “I didn’t realize that. I thought you would cover all 162 games by default. My bad.” She accepted my apology and everything is good. (Well, except the way the Indians are playing right now. Ugh.) But my point is, I wasn’t hating. I just expressed a skeptical thought. That’s not hating. I think this young lady is an excellent baseball writer and I hope she covers the Indians for several decades.

On the other hand, there is real, extreme hating going on these days. People love to say terrible things about people that dare to disagree with them. And there are plenty of people who go on social media looking for a fight. The instant they find content they even mildly disagree with, wild accusations, foul language, and personal insults begin pouring out. 

There are people who decide to forego the traditional career path and go out on their own, and have to deal with haters along the way. I feel fortunate here – I have encountered very little in the way of haters in launching my business. My old corporate co-workers, my family, my wife’s family, and most of the people I’m around on a regular basis have pretty much been 100% behind me, even as I have struggled. Their support has been very valuable. Not everyone has it this good though. Many entrepreneurs have to not only fight the normal battles of starting a business, but friends and loved ones throwing shade at them. It’s very unfortunate.

Being Wronged

Of the two obstacles here, the haters are easier to deal with. It’s a lot tougher to overcome being wronged, like the Christian school football team Regina’s son plays on. I have some experience in my business with this one.

My first two clients in my VA business were crooks. The first one, amazingly enough, was a church. They hired me to send out a daily newsletter to their email list. When payday came, I rolled over to the bank and deposited the checks they mailed me. (They were late with the first one, and so they sent two at once.) I then proceeded to pay some bills. At the same time, I secured my second client, an architect from Minnesota. I did some stuff for him and he also mailed me a check for payment. I deposited that one and proceeded to pay some more bills.

Then came The Call. Someone from the bank’s fraud division calls to tell me that all the checks I had recently deposited were fakes. OK, client #2 schooled me, lesson learned. But a cotton pickin’ church? What the crap?????? And right on cue, the “church deacon” and the “architect” went ghost. Wouldn’t answer my requests for a meeting in any of the multiple platforms I reached out to them on. The bank yanked the funds out of my account, leaving me in a hole that 1 year later, I have yet to completely dig myself out of.

This is where I REALLY respect Regina’s son’s coach. To this day I am still tempted to call down every curse I can think of on these two. I actually know some people that live in New Orleans, and I’m regularly tempted to hit them up to connect me with someone who, as they say in the ‘hood, could “put a root on them.” (To pronounce that correctly, “root” rhymes with “foot.”) I did send an email to the church email list telling them what happened. Several reached out to me to express sorrow and that they would pray for me. I think that helped a lot in keeping the bitterness from growing in my heart.

The experiences did prove useful. Some months later, someone reached out to me on LinkedIn about being her VA. First thing I said was that I required payment in advance. She said fine, and sent me a check, which I took to the bank on wings of fire. It was also a fake. I reported the scammer to LinkedIn, and her profile… um.. disappeared a few days later. After that, I started landing real clients. And vowing to never accept a paper check again. 

Like I wrote about capitalists recently, here in the virtual world, there are bad people. It’s unfortunate, but real. Working in the digital space requires even more vigilance than you normally would expect. If you are wronged, the best you can do is pursue retribution for damages if possible, jot down some lessons learned, and turn the page. For online business owners, we need to go above and beyond what appears to be the minimum to establish a good reputation.

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