The first thing I have to acknowledge is that if I am to be successful in any endeavor, I have to learn to accept gracefully what I receive, from those who offer their skills, life experiences and talents, or who open up opportunities in business.
We all seek and meet people for the personal and professional satisfaction of being acquainted, and for what we can build with and for each other. I do believe that altruism can be found in business. Yet, it helps no-one if we attempt to impose our expectations on others, nor if we attempt to make others do what they do not do, or to expect more from them than they can give.
For example, if an agent tries to find a publisher for your book and finds none, this is not a sign, necessarily, that s/he has failed, and is no reflection on the quality of your writing, but probably has more to do with the time of year, the subject matter of your book, the apathy of the buying public, a significant holiday or event in the news, or the loss of a main contact in the industry.
So, it pays to be very clear about what we hope to receive from any professional we engage to help us, whether an editor, a publicist, promoter, website builder, agent or publisher.
When we engage a professional, or are lucky enough to obtain their services, we must be very clear from the outset what they are offering. We must have the courage to inquire and be sure as far as possible that their services and their work ethos are a good match for us, that we are happy to accept what they offer, and not expect a great deal more from them than that. Often, those who help us charge fees, though the most valuable and sustaining help that we find on our travels has no price tag.
Because someone charges us a fee for services rendered, we often assume that they know what we are asking them to do, and that of course, they will do that for us. However, since most business relationships are formed at the outset, and since at that stage we tend to be under-informed; and since there are only so many inquiries we can make without sounding like the inquisition, the gap between what I hope will evolve from my working relationships and what actually happens can sometimes come as a shock.
How we notice the gap and take steps to cross it before it becomes a yawning chasm will make or break our future prospects.