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Maintaining my Dignity

(This post first appeared on my blog, Content is Queen Blogger)

I have been a bad blogger. I have neglected my personal blog since November. Funny thing is, last time I posted a blog was while listening to my former boss give a presentation at a seminar I was attending. Ha Ha. Long live the iPad! (I hope he doesn’t read this!- doubt he will!) And long live free speech!

Why have I neglected my own blog? Well, my new clerking job is super busy- yay! It is really a great job, I am grateful for it and of course, my own clients for my Content is Queen business keep me busy after work. And of course, I am involved in a brain injury association and that turned into me being elected Board Secretary. So there goes most of my time.

I am so busy blogging for everyone else, I don’t have the time to blog for me. I think of things I want to say, and I never write them down! Oh- those poor words lost in the abyss! I actually do keep a couple of notebooks and my Moleskine (love those) journal lying around so I do write down my ideas in a half-hazard attempt to never forget them. One day, one day I will write an award winning autobiography, or novel, or just a book about the things I have seen and experienced. Whether or not it acquires a readership- who knows? But believe me, it would be an entertaining read!

Alas, I have digressed from my subject: Maintaining my dignity. So, in an attempt to boost business, I had the opportunity to do work for a former high school friend, and a lady and her husband I met from a women’s group I used to be a part of. You know how they say don’t mix business and pleasure? (Who “they” are I still want to know!) Well, don’t, honestly, just don’t.

Luckily, the former friend paid my invoice and we ended the business relationship amicably but it was a short lived one. Apparently funding was an issue. Yet, a few weeks later, he posted pictures on his Facebook of his new Cadillac.

Next new client, there was a serious lack of communication and I had a lack of material to blog, tweet, and in general, not enough material to promote. I e-mailed and contacted them to discuss this and there was no response. I politely ended the business relationship, after spending hours and weeks on trying to promote the business, developing not one, but two blogs, twitters, FB pages etc…and to this date have not been paid. At this point, I don’t care anymore. I will just chalk it up to bad judgment. Sometimes overly nice clients are the ones you have to watch out for.

I am very fortunate to have the clients I do have. They appreciate and compliment my work, give me feedback and we communicate regularly. Payment is never an issue and there are never a lack of ideas to develop content around.

I have to say it is a very frustrating experience to find quality clients. Of late, I have had a few very negative experiences. I am sure many entrepreneurs and self-employed people know what I am talking about when it comes to “quality clients”.

When you are prospecting new clients, you are in a vulnerable position. You feel as though you are being judged, perhaps your product or service is not good enough, perhaps you are not experienced enough for them, perhaps you are not what they are looking for, perhaps you can’t perform fast enough etc. What about price point? There are many things to consider.

Scenario 1: Personal Injury Law Firm

This law firm requested a price list and summary of services. I sent it over. A few weeks go by and the partner goes on vacation for a few months, but her assistant emails me a letter to ask for samples of my work. I sent over the best possible samples of my work, in PDFs, (yes I take the time to PDF them), including articles I have written, not just blogs. I never hear back from them. That was in April.

Scenario 2: Boutique Gift & Accessory Store

This was a store I used to buy gift items at regularly. One day I bought I present for my boyfriend’s Mom and I asked if the owners would be interested in providing a donation to the brain injury association’s silent auction. They said yes and I mentioned that I would promote their donation on the brain injury association’s social media. That sparked a conversation about social media marketing and my services. We exchanged contact information and they said they were very interested in my services. A few weeks go by and they were apparently very busy due to Passover. I follow up via email and we can never seem to set up a meeting. I call and it’s never a good time to talk. Mother’s Day goes by and I still haven’t received the donation for the event, which is occurring on May 24th. I follow up to ask when it will be ready and never hear from them again. That was the end of it. I continue to receive their e-mail updates but have not heard from them since. I was very disappointed in this as my Mom and I were regular customers, they promised a donation and they kept telling my Mom how they wanted to work with me.

Side note: price did seem to be an issue for this client and the store was always in disarray. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I think this would have proven to be a headache client.

Never believe anything, unless it’s in writing. Lesson learned.

Scenario 3: Referral from old childhood friend

A friend from the past who is into marketing and PR contacted me a few weeks ago with a prospective client. She was contacted to manage PR and branding and needed help regarding social media and blogging. After a lengthy discussion about my experience, she determined I was the right person for the job. She explained the client’s need and we determined a price point. She explained that the client was trying to promote his website, which was an online dispute resolution centre and needed our combined services.

A price was negotiated and everything seemed to be peachy. Then, I find out I have to deliver social media reports in advance of the following week’s posts, with pre-determined FB and Twitter posts and blog topics to be pre-approved by him. I was a bit hesitant as this was not how I am used to operating, but you know, you have to do what makes the client happy. So, I prepared one for the first week and as it was a short week, right after Canada Day, I just wrote the one blog post.

The result, my work was torn to shreds and I was very very agitated and unimpressed with this client.

First of all, the Twitter password given to me was changed on me before I could even log in. I was not given access to post to Facebook or to post to the actual blog.

He literally re-wrote the entire blog post and was highly critical of everything. Yes, as a business owner I can understand the reluctance to hand over control of any part of your business to people you don’t know but if you are seeking PR and social media services, you have to understand how they work and if you want an explanation, ask, don’t shred someone’s hard work into bits and pieces.

It turns out he did the same thing to my friend’s work. I began to question if I could work with someone like this and quickly realized I couldn’t. Not if I wanted to maintain my dignity!

I told my friend that I was not in high school or university, did not need my work graded or audited, I am experienced, my work is appreciated and liked by my clients, and whoever I worked for in the past, I provide quality content services and social media services and I have a strong background.

That was the end of that..

So, my loyal readers, you can see that being an entrepreneur is a struggle, but if you are operating a business, it’s for you and not for anyone else to decide who your clients are and remember, you are the boss in your business and don’t let your clients boss you around to the point where you don’t know who’s boss anymore!

Categories: Content Is Queen

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Melanie L.

Mental health advocate. Blogger. Writer. Creative being. Sensitive soul.

(Also law clerk, social media writer/marketer and book worm).

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