Sometimes the baggage we carry helps us share our gifts with the world.Every community has them. The pleasant souls with good intentions, who want to bring a group of like minded people together to help each other grow their businesses in one form or another. And with this kind of dynamic, sadly, there is ALWAYS at least one bad apple that comes along and wreaks havok.

IF you have a good group leader or group “owner”, who also accepts the responsibility to protect the WHOLE community, those bad apples get tossed quickly and the harm they cause is at a minimum, if at all. Of course, that is IF the community leader or group owner has the leadership skills to lead and protect, not sweep it under the frickin’ rug and pretend it didn’t happen. But I digress.

We deal with group and community dynamics on a daily basis. We put our trust into these group leaders and group owners to protect our interests as a whole. It makes no difference to me if this group or community is based on religion, spirituality, interests, hobbies, entrepreneurship or whatever your little heart desires. If these groups do NOT have good leaders who understand what good leadership is or means, then the dynamic crumbles, trust is lost and the community as a whole disintegrates.

So what does this have to do with me and Blogging with Gypsy?

My choice to help crafty, heart-centered entrepreneurs fed up with outdated, ill-advised and unsuccessful solutions comes from my experiences over a 6 year period directly involved with an entrepreneurial group I joined 8 years ago, during which time I was bamboozled into spending money I didn’t need to, convinced to use shopping cart platforms that drove me so nuts I nearly gave up on my web shoppe several times, and dealt with smarmy self-professed “web developers” who preyed on others “lack” of knowledge when it comes to their websites and businesses. This group was mostly filled with pleasant souls with good intentions and unfortunately also a few dishonest psychic vampires and several group owners (at different times) who chose to hide behind the excuses of “it’s isolated so it’s better not to let the whole group know about it” and “it didn’t happen to me personally” — respectively, of course.

The first group of owners to this particular group had been aware of a certain member’s bad business practices (Let’s call her Jane) but didn’t do anything until well over a dozen people, including myself, were neck deep in a shit storm of bad graphic design, crappy web hosting and downed sites (due to this member’s lack of paying her reseller’s hosting bill), terrible customer service etiquette, locking out clients’ from their hosting services and holding their websites and files hostage. The owners were aware of what she was doing and didn’t step up to the plate and prevent others from having to deal with this person’s unscrupulous and dishonest practices.

The owners knew what Jane was doing when I shared with the group my own thoughts on maybe using her hosting services and having her install a shopping cart platform for me (also part of her services) with some customization and modifications, but did NOT step up to the plate and warn me against doing business with her.

Just as they knew what Jane was doing when I announced how excited I was for making the choice to hire her so I could get away from both the eBay thing and away from Yahoo Business, which is where my static site was hosted at the time. Hey, it was far better than Geocities, Angelfire and Bravenet. Am I right?!?

And still nothing from anybody, telling me the huge mistake I was making.

I was able to protect myself from any file loss and hosting lock out because of my insatiable need to learn new things (in this case cPanel and PHP). When you see things tweaked or changed that you know you didn’t do, you change your passwords immediately. And because I did that, Jane wasn’t able to lock me out or steal any of my files as she had with several other people. She even had the nerve to be upset that I did that and demanded that I give her access to my account.

After the months excuses that she kept giving me for having a downed site, being frustrated by her lack of communication skills and not taking responsibility for her actions, I was done! She was draining me of my sanity! This woman was a walking, talking, toxic, dramatic, life sucking, “woe is me” negative nellie! And by the time she had the nerve to be pissed off that I changed my passwords, let’s just say my response made it quite clear she would not be getting that access and our hosting service contract was terminated permanently!

By this point, the group was starting to show signs of losing momentum. The founding members passed on ownership to someone new, who eventually passed it on to yet another person. We will call her Marge. Did it get better after that? To an extent, yes it did.

The group grew, many of the members were growing their businesses. And it was turning into a great networking source for us crafty folks. The downside was that Marge (the new owner) decided to let bygones be bygones and allowed Jane back into the group. Because, hey, most of the people involved in the fiasco had left or were reimbursed and refunded.

It didn’t take long before Jane started her shenanigans again. But of course she whined and cried and made excuses and of course got out of any responsibility of her wrong doing. Did Marge ban Jane from the group? No she did not. “The crisis is fixed and the drama is over. So we can move on with life,” Marge stated. And her excuse? “It didn’t happen to me personally.”

In the end, Jane was finally banned from the group for breaking a certain rule that directly affected the owner Marge. Because it finally did happen to her personally.

So what did I learn from all of this? More than I had intended, but at the same time it was stuff I needed to learn or be reminded of.

I learned you get what you pay for when it comes to cheap webhosting. I learned that doing your research saves time, money and sanity instead of jumping in head first when it comes to recommendations or referrals. I’ve learned that boundaries are VERY important — although this lesson was the longest to learn. And I can tell you that my decision paradigm has been greatly influenced by these specific experiences.

Sometimes the baggage we carry helps us share our gifts with the world!

This is why I help crafty, heart-centered entrepreneurs fed up with outdated, ill-advised and unsuccessful “solutions” create a place online that reflects their authenticity and true purpose while creating the life they deserve.

I am glad you made it to the end! Whew! That’s a lot! But it’s something that has needed to be shared for quite some time.

Have you had some experiences that have shaped the way you do business?

Please click here to share your thoughts.

Luvs & Hugs, Gypsy

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