Big Fat Piece of Humble Pie

Mike Love is the Executive Director of Extreme Dream Ministries, an organization that puts on several large-scale conferences across the globe (www.extremedream.ca).  Back in 2000, Mike gave us a chance at one of his smaller events.  We did well and Mike began to give us more shows at larger venues. One event Mike runs in Canada brings out over 16,000 youth and youth leaders each year. To be honest, the exposure and credibility we received from being a part of Mike’s events is one of the main reasons we were able to quit our jobs and make the move to full-time comedians. We owe our current career in a large part to Mike Love. Too bad we almost blew the relationship.

We had been performing at Extreme Dream events for about 4 years when we had an epiphany. Mike wasn’t paying us enough for as talented and wonderful as we were. In the beginning of the relationship we had been discounting the shows for Mike. Now we had arrived. We were performing across Canada and the U.S.  Mike knew his audiences loved us and his events had significant budgets. Time to stop discounting and get paid our full fee.

Andrew called Mike and explained how much we loved working with him, and felt that it was time to raise our fees for the next event (the big one in Canada) and for future work. Mike said he hadn’t budgeted for the higher fee and calmly reminded us of the impact this event, and others can have on our bookings each year. Andrew held his ground.  Mike said he would miss working with us, and before we knew it the phone call was over. What just happened? 

Over the rest of the day the gravity of our stupidity sank in. We hadn’t overvalued our comedy. The quality of our performance is well worth our full fee.  The problem was that we had grossly undervalued our relationship with Mike Love.  Performing at Mike’s events brought in numerous other bookings throughout the year. Mike is also a very connected and well-respected man. More than once we’ve had other events book us just because Mike Love recommended us. Mike’s events are all top-notch, too. Everyone is treated like kings and we genuinely looked forward to being there. Then there is Mike Love the man. One of the most genuine and integral guys we knew.  We sincerely loved working with him. Oh, and Mike was one of the main reason’s we even had a career in the first place. Here we were throwing it all away because our egos thought we deserved a little bigger paycheck. We were idiots. Idiots with big heads that had little brains rattling around inside.

We realized what a mistake it was to let our egos ruin such an important relationship. The more we thought about it, what we stood to lose financially in bookings was not even the real issue that had us feeling like jerks. Professional benefits aside, we felt Mike deserved a discount just because he was Mike, because we liked him, because we loved being at his events, because he treated us better than any of our other clients, because he boosted our career. In fact, if it came down to it we would probably perform for free just to be a part of what he was doing. So that’s what we did. 

Andrew called Mike back and in so many words said he had been an ungrateful idiot. He expressed our appreciation for everything Mike had done for us over the years and ended by saying we did not want to raise our fees for this event, we didn’t even want him to pay our previous discounted rate.  We would like to do the event for free as a thank you for everything he had done for us, and for how well he had treated us over the years. Mike accepted our offer and booked us for the event.

2010 marks our 10th year performing at Mike’s events. Yes, he still gets a discounted rate and no one is happier to offer it than we are.  Not only is he a great client, he’s become a good friend.

One of our main goals at each event is to not only perform an excellent show, but to serve others humbly and never again put ourselves on any kind of pedestal.

 

Lessons Learned:

#1 You can’t put a dollar value on relationships. Treat your key relationships like gold and bend over backwards for them, if not for the business, then for the relationship itself.

#2 Egos are dangerous and have no place in business, and especially in ministry.  Serve every client like they are your key relationships and they may soon become just that.  Jesus even said that it is better to sit in a lower seat and be asked to move to a more prominent seat, than to sit in a prominent seat and be asked to move so another could have that place.