Content Is Queen

Best Business Practices

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

I know it’s been a very long time since I posted on this blog. It’s been a very interesting and trying year or so, and I apologize to my subscribers.

There are so many lessons you learn as an employee and from starting your own business. You learn how to you want to be treated by your employer, by clients and by other vendors/business associates you may have to collaborate with.

I wish I could say it was always sunny and rosy but how do you learn a valuable lesson without first experiencing a challenge?

One unpleasant challenge I was faced with last fall was the decision to leave the job I had become comfortable at and find another job that was more conducive to what I really want to do. My place of employment was no longer a safe place. The employers began acting strange, it was no longer a pleasant environment and I witnessed some unpleasantries. It was not for me anymore. I had a hard time giving my notice because I was literally terrified to do it, worried I would be questioned to no end. I was so burnt out, overworked and underappreciated. False promises had been made. It was time to go. The job literally made me sick.

I was offered an opportunity to go work at a firm that had a reputation of being an enjoyable place to work at. The position was for the most part a writing position, and I would not be a front line law clerk anymore or have to deal with menial tasks. I accepted and started at the beginning of 2014. This new work environment is different from anywhere I have worked and I am so blessed I found this job (or it found me). I will never (hopefully) let myself burn out again or be taken advantage again. It is just not worth it.

In my last couple of posts, I had made reference to “sticking to my guns” and learning how to keep my cool during a client meeting with my blogging client and his SEO provider. That situation resolved, or so I thought, when strange things started happening and it turned into a nightmare of a situation.

I was really enjoying my newfound ability to get along with the SEO/web company and we were collaborating on developing a new site for the client. I had given a specific set of instructions as to what the site should look like. The template that was developed was so far off what the client wanted/our concept was. We were told this was because it had to be just so, in order to provide a highly visible call to action and prompt people to submit an inquiry form. We pushed back, but it was useless, the SEO was apparently more important so we ended up with a site we disliked.

Of course, at one of the meetings, the head of the company tried to up-sell the client on one of his new products, which resulted in an additional monthly expense and we never saw the fruits of this product until months later. The person also sold the client on pay per click campaigns and never followed through on that. That is where things got sticky.

I noticed that the client’s website had virtually disappeared from Google and then I noticed that 11 other websites had been created with domain names that were created out of keywords were showing up. As well, 2 years ago, we had launched a secondary site, which I had written the content for, and this was the site that it appeared all the SEO efforts were going towards. And the SEO company owned that domain, as well as all of the other 11 domains. I should mention that the content on the 11 sites was very poorly written and completely irrelevant to the client’s area of practice.

At the same time, we received a login to the new product, which was a special client dashboard that showed us “progress” and upcoming work. We saw that efforts were focused on campaigns that were not relevant to the client’s area of practice, and that all these suspicious articles were being disseminated across the Internet, over and over again, linking back to the client’s site. The client was mortified and furious. We had no idea who was writing them, why, or on whose authority- and the fact that his website was not at the top of Google was upsetting, given how much money he had spent.

I had also brought to the client’s attention that the Google Analytics were very telling, being that the majority of the searches came from people typing in some variation of his name, as they likely heard him on the radio.

A meeting was held. We brought up the concerns about the Google Analytics, the shoddy content, the rankings etc. The head of the company arrived with one of his employees who he was prepared to “assign” to the client’s campaigns. Every question was met with an evasive answer or a denial….and then a moment of silence occured….because…..out of the bag comes a folder, with copies of a document called “Critical SEO Errors”.

Critical SEO Errors???? I was sitting there and I frozed. What if I did something wrong? What if I was causing a problem?? Well according to them, my blogging was causing critical errors and causing Google to read all of the blogs and the site as spam….because that’s what the Hummingbird update was good at- finding spam. Or something like that. I was wrong for including a keyword in the post, or for linking to an external site if I had been referring to information taken from that site. Right…let’s blame all our errors on Melanie…let’s blame the fact that we clearly have not worked on this client’s account and have not monitored his site on Melanie. Melanie is an excellent scapegoat- again. Yeah, well the client did not believe it. We just smiled and nodded and ended the meeting and left it as they would behave better and stop posting unwanted content etc.

Maybe I should mention that they had installed an SEO tool within the blog and I used it to check each post before I posted it- I was blogging how they wanted me to.

Fast forward a couple of months, where we were today, we have a new site, with fresh content and a much more easy going service provider who I can work with and is very responsive. We had no choice but to go elsewhere when it became clear that the client’s site was not being taken care of and when shortcuts were being taken. There is so much more I could say, but that’s the gist of that part.

In case you wonder what happened to the 11 other sites- they were set to redirect to the 2nd site that I had written content for. That particular site, as it is owned by the SEO company, currently still has my content on it and they have replaced any reference to the client with the name of the site/domain name instead and it is clear they are going to promote that sight and offer it to another client- with my content on it, that is owned by my client. We are asking them to remove the content. Let’s see how that goes- luckily there are legal remedies available.

So what are some lessons for best business practices?

Give clients what they ask for: Unless your client has the most outrageous request, if you can accommodate your client, do it. You wouldn’t refuse to accommodate someone with an allergy if her or she said something needed to be substituted in his or her meal. Prepare a prototype or template, show it to your client and work with it. Provide your honest evaluation of why something would or wouldn’t work.

Don’t give clients what they didn’t ask for: providing extra content, material, whatever it is, that was not ordered, is not going to earn you extra money, unless you are the world’s best salesperson and no one has ever said no to you. First of all, you don’t want to overwhelm your client and secondly, too much of something is not a good thing, especially if the quality is poor. What kind of impression do you want to give?

No surprises: if, as in the scenario I encountered are producing something that is irrelevant to the client, and that something is publicly accessible, and the client happens to come upon it before you tell him or her about this “premium service” you offer, it is highly unlikely the client will be happy about the business’s name being related to certain sites or articles, without prior approval. There is such a thing as a bad surprise.

Return what isn’t yours: sometimes it may be more convenient to take the easy way out- like keeping content on a website that is going to be reused for another business, even though it deifies ethics, and even though you know that content was written for a specific business. Imagine if the business being promoted on the recycled site finds out where the content came from…

In the end, just remember, what goes around comes around and as I said in a previous post, just stick to your guns. And always trust your intuition.

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Content Is Queen

Lessons of the Week

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

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ” – Edward Everett Hale

You have to learn to set personal boundaries and limits in both your personal and professional life. It’s flattering to be known as a “sweet” and nice person, yes, it may get you somewhere in life, but it may not always make you happy.

I recently attended a retreat, where the theme was “All You Need Is Love”. To some that may sound kind of corny, but we were mainly focusing on self- love and acceptance. Self- love is a very important component of how you live and function.

I also was fortunate to hear Deepak Chopra speak at Roy Thompson Hall this week as well, on the future of well being, and I just read his guide, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.  

I learned about acceptance and essentially learned why I should stop questioning EVERYTHING.

Here are some lessons from this week:

 

Lesson #1: The Importance of Standing Up for Yourself

Recently I had a situation at work where I felt I was being taken advantage of and I let it go for about 6 weeks before I really felt the need to say something about it to my boss. Bear in mind, the person taking advantage of me is a very strong personality and I just did not know what to do about it. It wasn’t a situation that I wanted to make public so I did not want to confront this person head on. But the situation was bothering me, so I finally stepped up my game and told my boss how I felt that I was being used and it was wrong, and he took my side and is going to deal with it.  Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of – regardless of what the situation is- it is of no benefit to anyone.

 

Lesson#2: Don’t Ask Why

 

When something happens and it is something uncalled for, unpleasant or frustrating, we should learn to embrace it as an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to gain experience, or just take it for what it is: an experience. Many people believe “bad things happen in threes”.

Yesterday, I dropped a makeup compact when I was getting ready, and it broke in a funny way, and usually I would be in a panic, thinking, “This is a terrible way to start my day” but instead, I picked it up, realized I could still close it/use it and put it away.

Later at work, the F9 key on my keyboard literally flew off! Instead of being upset, I was entertained.

I was bombarded with phone calls at work and I was becoming very frustrated but then I remembered “Hey it’s Friday and I have a great weekend coming up” and the frustration melted away.

 

Lesson #3: Embrace Your Fears

If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.

I decided to pay a visit to my old office. When I left, I never planned on visiting, or really keeping in touch with anyone except for the few friends who really meant something to me there. It was a toxic environment to me and everything in my house that reminded me of “that place” I had to get rid off.

On Wednesday, I had to go to that building for a meeting and I went into my old office, and was able to say to a few people, and converse and, surprisingly, I WAS FINE! No more hard feelings, No more “I hate this place”….Nothing of the sort.

That’s when you know you’ve grown, you’re over it, you’ve matured, and you’ve arrived.

 

Lesson #4: Express Yourself

 

This goes back to Lesson#1. Part of standing up for yourself includes having the ability to stand up for yourself.  In relating this post back to previous posts about blogging/business adventures- I can tell you, that if you love yourself, you will only take on clients that YOU know YOU can handle, that respect you and that will appreciate and listen to your advice.

When you have to deal with other service providers, make sure they do the same. They don’t necessarily have to agree with your advice or opinions, but at least they should consider your point of view and not shut you out.

It’s been about 2 years now since I started my business and I feel like I’ve learned so many important lessons already and I know that there are many more to learn.

Which leads me to my final lesson…

 

Lesson #5: Self Respect

 

 

It’s not just about self- love. It’s about respecting YOURSELF.

A long time ago, I wrote in my journal, “don’t self-deprecate, self-appreciate”. I shared this with the other participants of the retreat last weekend, and it resonated well with them.

How true it is. Stop- putting-yourself-down!!

Appreciate yourself!

Give the perception of strength, self-love and self-respect and others will do the same towards you.

This applies to the business world too. You want to succeed – send out the right “vibes”.

It’s the law of intention.

Remember, you get what you give….

 

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Content Is Queen

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

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

Who doesn’t love a good bargain?

I think most people enjoy the idea of a great deal. But what is a bargain worth?

It depends which side you are on.

If you are the one seeking a bargain, is a bargain worth losing out on quality and reputation?

If you are the one providing a bargain, it is worth selling yourself short, is it worth lowering your price, making your service/product appear cheaper?

The answer is a simple no, regardless of which side you are on.

Why?

I always believe in quality over quantity. And a low price does not necessarily equate to a great product or a great service.

An acquaintance provided my number to someone she knew who was looking for social media services and for SEO services along with a website overhaul.

He contacted me right away, asking for a quote for services. He emphasized that he wanted to use me in particular because I have a B.A. in English and I write. He was interested in a content writer and someone who has great writing skills. Of course, this was very flattering.

I explained that I can provide a proposal with my business associate who provides SEO services, website designs and we can bundle our monthly services together and provide a competitive price. He gave me a very generic overview of his business and very little to work with. One website was down, the other website was poorly constructed, missing information and the content was sparse.

We decided to contact this potential client to clarify what was needed. It turns out the first site was designed and is managed by the son of one of his biggest clients (Red Flag #1: low price alert!). We were able to pull out the information we needed from that conversation eventually…but we did of course receive the greatest comment of all – ” I am not looking for a bargain- I have never negotiated a day in my life” (Red Flag #2- serious bargain hunter!).

We let that comment slip by and came up with a proposal nevertheless to see if we could come up with competitive prices.

The proposal we came up with was for a new website for one of the domains, SEO services for both sites, social media for both sites and I provided prices for content reviewing and content writing on a per page basis. It was very clearly laid out (each page even had its own title).

Or so we thought. The potential client didn’t quite understand why I charged separate prices for content reviewing/editing and for content writing (writing “fresh content”, developing new content) or why my price wasn’t simply $60 for content, which I apparently quoted him (Red Flag #3- putting words in my mouth).

Note- I did not quote him any specific price, neither did my colleague. My colleague taught me a lesson in managing client expectations and we were reluctant to even put prices in the proposal because we had concerns with the “negotiation” comment, but we figured we’d give it a try, and the experience is always worth a lesson- or a good story to tell.

The best part of the email response to the proposal was the comparison of our services to “HP selling a printer for a low cost and selling the cartridges for a really high price” or something to that extent – apparently, this is called theModern Marketing Strategy (Red Flag#4- Rude Comments).

That was it for me- I was positive I did not want to take this client on and my colleague felt the same way. We suspected he was out for a bargain and this confirmed it.

This printer comparison was rude, ignorant and, really, modern marketing strategy? Come on!!!!

(I really do have the best potential client stories don’t I?)

I wrote back and said that I found this comment to be inappropriate, explained our prices are competitive and essentially, “Thank you for your interest, but no thanks” (In a really nice and professional way).  I also cautioned him and said if you are receiving services for such a low price, consider what you are getting for that price, how many hours per month he is receiving from that service provider and the quality of work/quality of services performed.

His response was that he had no reason to switch from his current provider has no compelling reason to use us.

My question is, why waste our time? I think he wanted validation of his great bargain with his current provider!

Another great lesson learned- don’t sell yourself short- not worth the hassle!

Your prices are your prices are your prices.

If someone doesn’t want to pay your prices, then he or she clearly doesn’t understand the service you are providing, the amount of work it takes to do what you do and doesn’t appreciate you.

And if you sell yourself short- you aren’t appreciating you!

Inspired

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Content Is Queen

Stick To Your Guns

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

To Thine Own Self Be True – Shakespeare

These days terms like social media marketing, content marketing and search engine marketing are becoming more and more commonplace.

The options for social media marketing are endless. There are so many platforms that it’s hard for clients to zero in on the ones to use. I am a firm believer that educating your clients on a social media strategy is important.  I also believe that it’s better to establish a strong presence on a few trusted social media platforms than dilute your efforts over a plethora of platforms.

Why am I telling you this?

Because strategy is important- strategy is everything.  If you believe in your strategy and your strategy can be backed up by evidence, then stick to your guns.

I recently had an encounter where my strategy for blogging was called into question by another service provider. This other company provides SEO/website services to one of my clients and had concerns with how my blogging affected their SEO. After some back and forth emails, a meeting was called and thankfully, all the concerns were stemming more from the recent Google update than from what I thought was flawed blogging.

What I was most bothered by, though was the fact that the other service provider involved the client directly with his concerns instead of contacting me with his concerns. I understand SEO and blogging are complementary services, but when you are dealing with a client, who in this case is a very busy lawyer who doesn’t speak the technical language of SEO and content marketing, it is improper to bog the client down with these emails. If you must involve the client, keep it simple.

The emails that were sent to the client caused him to be concerned and worried. I felt it was inappropriate and it of course caused me to overreact. In the end, it was not something that I should have wasted such a large amount of energy on, but it was a process where I educated myself on the new changes to Google and learned new blogging tips. Even more so, I learned that I can go into a meeting and stay calm, cool and collected.

I went to the meeting and I was very easygoing. I gave in my suggestions, asked my questions, brought up the points I wanted to. I thought it went well. I sent a follow up email to the person who could assist me in obtaining the further information I needed at the SEO company and cc’d the person I met with. (Note-I DID NOT cc the client on it).

Well…Guess what happened?

I sent the email on Saturday evening.

I get back a response today, Tuesday.. The email is copied to myself, the person I met with, 2 others and the client. The client you say? Why yes!

Why? Why involve the client? There was nothing in my email that warranted a responding email where the client should be included.

I read the email I received, and I see why the client was copied on it.  Without getting into specifics, I was essentially reprimanded and criticized and some ideas were shot down, even though they were ideas suggested to me by this person’s supervisor.

The email eventually addressed the questions I had and provided the information I requested. The tone was accusatory, condescending and totally uncalled for and I am not sure why.  I did try to call this person before sending my responding email. I was too late, he had left for the day.

In my responding email, I did defend myself, providing a full explanation for everything, including why I had made certain suggestions and what my plan of action is.

In a separate email to the company, I was very forthright and said that copying the client on these emails is inappropriate. The goal is to work as a team and to provide excellent client service. I do not think that wasting the client’s time with our technical jargon is beneficial to him in any way.

I am eager to receive a response from the client, and everyone at the company to my emails tomorrow.

Of course, what I really want is an apology for the rude email but I know that is not going to happen- or I want an acknowledgment that I make valid points. It is really me against a company here but if you remember the story of David and Goliath…

Sometimes it takes guts to do what you think is right…and in the end it will pay off.

I would not be where I am today if I did not stand up for what I believed in.

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Content Is Queen

Reflections on the Social Media Journey

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

Does anyone else find that this time of year is particularly exhausting? Maybe it’s the shifting weather, the shorter days, nighttime appearing sooner, whatever it is, I am tired.

We are all getting a break soon with the Christmas Holidays and I hope everyone gets a chance to revitalize and refresh themselves then.

No new news here in blog land sadly. I thought I had a potential opportunity again, but that didn’t pan out. I still have 2 loyal clients, which is great in today’s tough economy.

I realized that I am really tired of people telling me they are interested in using me i.e. my parents’ friends, friends of friends, friends telling me of opportunities etc. I am so tired of putting myself out there, writing these mini proposals and nothing. Why am I wasting my time. I know, I know, networking is great and you never know when you need these connections.

Nevertheless, stop disappointing me!

Life is full of disappointments but there are only so many a person can take. On the other hand, this is all part of the starting your own business learning curve- right? Right?

Maybe.

If you want quality content, if you want your website to stand out, if you want a great blog, twitter and Facebook Page, a Pinterest account, a Google+ Page and Business Profile- I do it all. I don’t just set it  up, I write the content. It’s a very attractive deal.  There is a reason why content is what gets you noticed on the World Wide Web.

Content is what makes you sound authoritative, knowledgeable, makes your services sound more attractive than the next guy’s, and puts you ahead of the rest. Fresh content is what keeps you on top and relevant.

If you want your business to be relevant, produce fresh content. The question is, do you have the time to be relevant? Many small business do not have the time, and that’s why I offer reasonably priced packages and services.

What most people fail to realize is that social media is a journey, it’s not a race. Quality will trump quantity when it comes to content.

Social media marketing is still a relatively new sphere for businesses and it is still hard for certain generations to grasp what it is exactly.

That is why you hire a social media consultant.

I know it’s hard for business owners to trust certain aspects of their business to an outsider. Maybe that’s why they meet with me, and “lead me on” and then decide not to use me. Or forget to get back to me.

I understand where the reluctance is coming from. I really do. But what business owners fail to realize is that if you don’t have a website, if you don’t get with the social media program, you will be lost in the wind when it comes to your competition.

And what is business about: customers & competition.

So those are my thoughts of late regarding people leading me on and why business need to reconsider taking a social media journey with me.

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Content Is Queen

Update on Life

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

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” – Albert Einstein

Sometimes, in life, we just need a change. We need to take a step back and think of what is and isn’t making us happy in our lives, what causes us stress, what the “toxins” are in our lives.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was involved in a brain injury association. Well, it turned out to be a great experience, for a brief period of time. Do you ever just do something, with the best intentions in your heart, and realize that you are a good person, but sometimes you are so generous, too generous that you don’t realize how others are taking advantage of you?

I’ve been told numerous times by my friends, and by my mother that I am too giving of myself and that it’s going to get me in trouble. Well, this time it really did. And it took a bit of burnout to realize it.

I’m not putting down anyone in the organization or putting down the great work the organization does, I am just saying that my youthful energy, I felt was going to waste and at times, my voice wasn’t heard, I volunteered myself for one, two, three, four, too many tasks and of course, everyone thought I was super duper for it.

And why not? If someone is willing to do most of the work, why not let them do it??? I’m not saying others didn’t do anything, but let’s just say the board’s work was not evenly distributed. Maybe it has to do with the make up of the board. I don’t know.

So, after a very busy Fall 2011-Winter 2012-Spring 2012 and slow Summer 2012 I had enough. The idea of putting myself out there, attending more meetings, doing extra work was not me anymore.

If I can’t be true to me, I feel sick. I felt really tired. I was spending about 2 hours of my time to commute to meetings. I was the only one coming from that distance.

I spoke to my boss about how I felt. He reiterated what others said about me giving too much. He said “You are the type that gives 150%, instead of 100% or less”. Yeah.. well.. guilty as charged. He said he supported my decision. I spoke to my parents and boyfriend, decision was supported. It was time to send in a resignation and resign from the Board of Directors. So I did it.  The reaction was sheer disappointment all around. Well, did I really expect that anyone would feel sorry for how I was feeling? Nope, they were disappointed.

I ran into a fellow board member this past week at a conference. He told me there is no bitterness, just disappointment and that they miss my creative input and ideas. Sorry to be self-serving here, but DUH.

I said one of the reasons I had to leave was that work itself was getting very busy, I wanted to focus on my career and my business, which I really do. How am I going to get where I want to be in life if I don’t do what’s good for me?

I am not by any means a selfish person. I am a giving person. But sometimes giving too much is exhausting. I am compassionate. Right now though, I have to show myself compassion.

My mom and I have this saying we text each other when we are having a day, that we love, we found it in the book, “The Help”: “You are kind. You are smart. You are important.”

Tell yourself this every time you are down, you are in doubt and you need a pick me up.

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Content Is Queen

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!

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