Creating my team was one of the best decisions of my life.
Thanks to many years as a member of BNI (Business Networking International) I had gained experience both as an active networker and – later – as a team leader. I’d also had experience during my time in Watford as a Samaritan Day Leader, taking responsibility for manning the Watford centre, checking in with volunteers at the beginning and end of each shift, talking them down if they’d had a difficult call, and responding to requests for help from volunteers during the day.
I’d learned a lot about managing people in a caring and responsible way. And that was my template for my new role as Managing Director of Newsletter Genie Ltd.
My goal was to foster and nurture new writing talent. Give young creatives a helping hand towards the kind of freelance career I’d built for myself. And to send them on their way – with my blessing – when they no longer needed what I was offering, or had gained the confidence and experience to command higher fees than I was able to pay.
And it worked. I know because years later I reconnected with several Newsletter Genie ‘graduates’ who were happy to confirm that their experience had been helpful. And that I, personally, had been helpful too.
That’s something I’m proud of. That was the good.
I’ve delayed writing this post for a very long time because an honest account creates – for me – an ethical dilemma.
I’ve mentioned the networking contact whose incredibly valuable input helped me put together the initial concept for Newsletter Genie. HIs ‘just do it’ approach powered me through initial doubts and hesitations, clarified my thinking, and ensured that we started the company on the right foot. And for all that I am genuinely grateful.
But we had significant differences right from the start.
At first I chose to disregard those differences. He had asked to be a co-director, and I had agreed, stupidly ignoring warnings about the dangers of a 50-50 partnership. He was prepared to use social media and business tactics that were a little beyond my own understanding of business ethics. And I was somewhat surprised when his accountant – who we had expected to handle the accounts for our new venture – instead chose to stop dealing with him at all.
As it happened, all that soon became irrelevant. A few months into our joint venture his marriage sadly hit the rocks. Understandably he had to bow out of the day to day operations, and so – effectively – I was running the business on my own.
…really deserves a post of its own. It was a hard lesson – but an important one to share. And in reading it you will understand my ethical dilemma.