Before going self-employed I held numerous roles, all of which put me in contact with questionable characters. And I don’t mean clients, I mean my colleagues. Since then I’ve worked hard to put myself into a position where I take on the work I want to do and turn down the rest. I charge set fees but better still, I choose who I work with.
My criteria for working with someone
If someone emails me asking me to do something for them and they’re going to give me the sum total of nothing in return, they don’t respect me. That person has no regard for what I do or the hours I put into my blog. They don’t see the value in working with bloggers or the exposure they would gain for their business.
But it’s more than that. Asking someone to work for free is exploitation. Sharing their blog on social media means nothing. It will not make them into the next big thing or drive hundreds of visitors to their site.
Many people turn to blogging at a time when they are vulnerable. They may be lonely or struggling for money. They’re pouring their heart and soul into blogging. And they’re not doing it so that they can promote somebody’s business for free.
But sadly, they might fall for the patter and invest hours of their time in putting together a blog post that will be of no benefit to them. Time they could have spent with their families. Time they could have invested in bettering their blog, or earning money. This practice of asking people to work for nothing is not acceptable and I won’t support it.
So, you want to work with me. You’re willing to pay my fees, that’s great. Thank you. So you drop me an email telling me what you want. But you neglect to say please or thank you. You can’t be bothered to find out my name, so you just cut and paste the last email you sent. Including the name. Or you address me as Plutonium. Really, is that the best you can do?
No, I won’t be working with you. Admittedly your money is as good as anybody else’s, but if a company employs someone to deal with outreach who has no communication skills, the likelihood is they haven’t put much effort into recruitment in other parts of the company either. So that business will have a reputation for rudeness and poor customer service. And I don’t want to be associated with it.
Actually, I rarely need much of this. I follow the brief and get the work done on time because I take pride in my work. I always do the best job I can because it’s the right thing to do. But occasionally, I make mistakes. And there may even be an occasion when I can’t get something done on time because the children are ill or something has gone wrong. Actually I don’t remember that ever happening, but if it does? I expect you to behave appropriately.
I suppose this is all tied up in manners and respect. We are all human and sometimes a deadline might slide by a few hours or a mistake might creep in. If you overreact to it, that just creates more mistakes. A dread of working for you because of the horrible, unpleasant behaviour if things are not perfect. These days I walk away from people like that. But those who stay are people who need the money to support their families. I have been there and I don’t intend to allow it to happen to me again.
Making an exception
My three criteria for working with someone are not up for debate. And as a result, I’ve let other things slide. For example, I don’t really do freelance writing anymore. I’d rather blog. It’s what I enjoy and I only have a limited amount of time so something had to give. So, I got rid of all my freelance contracts.
But there are two exceptions. Two people who I’ve worked with over the years who have been an absolute pleasure to deal with. If they get in touch and say they need me to do some work, I do it. They’re not the people who offer the best remuneration and quite frankly, that sort of work doesn’t pay particularly well. But they’re good, kind, genuine people. Which is just as important in business as it is in day to day life.