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How to Deal With the Friend and Family Discount Dilemma

In just a few more months, it’s inevitable and unavoidable.  You know it’s coming and yet you have no way of stopping it.  I’m talking about the ‘Friend and Family Discount’ dilemma.

No matter how much money you make, no matter how long you’ve been in business, no matter how successful your business is, your friends and family will still ask you that dreaded question every year.  Hopefully by now fewer of them are asking but there’s always your great aunt or the friend of a friend who insists on making you feel uncomfortable during the ‘most wonderful time of the year’.

So, how do you deal with the issue of your friends and family members asking to purchase something from you at half the price,or worse yet, for free?

Well, for starters I want to stress the fact that you need to STAND YOUR GROUND.  Yes, it may be the season of giving and they may be your favorite uncle or the grandma who always buys you the nicest sweaters each year, but that’s no reason to drop your bottom line and give your stuff away.

My current ‘immediate’ family checking out the redwood forests.
My current ‘immediate’ family checking out the redwood forests.

Here are a few things you can do to protect your bottom line and eliminate some of the awkwardness this holiday season:

  • Let them know that you are an entrepreneur and a business owner.  Whatever you may be to them, you are still in the market to sell your goods, make a profit, and spread your purpose.  They should respect the fact that you are living your dreams and doing what you love.  They should be happy to support you in your endeavors by acting like a customer, not a haggler.  Usually all it takes is dropping a few hints for them to get the picture.
  • Offer to gift wrap it for free.  If they keep pushing back, offer to gift wrap it for them.  Some people loathe wrapping more than anything in the world so this might be an even exchange in their mind.  Others see it as throwing something extra in, which is still a win-win situation.
  • If it’s a custom order that they want, let them know this is your busiest time of the year and you’re already swamped with orders from your paying customers.  (Even if you’re not, you’re allowed this little white lie.)  That should get across the point that you’re a successful business owner and thus they should be happy to support you.
  • Mention in a polite way that another family bought something similar…for full price.  Nothing ruffles feathers and puts people in their place more than hearing that a fellow relative did something the ‘correct’ way.
  • Tell them you’re actually using the profits from your holiday season to buy a plane ticket for next year so you can come up to visit them or other family members.  Now, only use this one if it’s true.  You could also say that you’re saving up for a vacation with your immediate family.  What grandma wouldn’t want to ensure her grandchildren get to go somewhere fun in the summer?

Dealing with family and friends around the upcoming holiday season can be tough if they’re asking you to give them a special deal on your work.  But remember why you got into business and what you plan to use your profits on.  If that person can’t support you by paying the full amount, then that’s their loss, not yours.  I promise, they’ll still love you in the end.  And more likely than not, they’ll fork over the extra dough.

Image source: Studio MME

Megan Eckman

Megan Eckman has written 146 posts in this blog.

Megan Eckman is a quirky pen and ink illustrator who never outgrew her overactive imagination. Her work merges the style of old fairy tale illustrations with modern fantasies. When she’s not drawing (and giggling all the while), she can be found pacing her apartment writing more stories to go with her artwork.

What say you?