All Articles Tagged "business advice"
Don’t complain about not making money when you give away services for free. Here’s a tidbit I want all women out there to know: We work? We get paid. There is no such thing as a free service. Nothing is free, it all comes at a price!
Today’s rant is courtesy of Social Dialect: Helping You Speak Our Language with the article: Just Say NO to Blogging Contests (and other rules about compensation for blogging).
I will preface this by saying:
- This article mainly speaks to bloggers, however it applies to any business owner.
- I don’t like blogging contests, paid reviews or giveaways where I have to physically receive and mail stuff. While I’ve received great stuff in the past, I really don’t see the inherent value in engaging in these contests. My readers don’t need more stuff and I’ve never been a fan of them. As such, regular readers know that I’ve done a handful of them over the last five years.
- If I am engaging in a review of a product per request of the brand, I am being paid for it and it is noted as such in my disclosure.
Back to my rant. While I think Fadra @ Social Dialect means well, I totally disagree with the statements:
“Don’t ask for compensation for a review.”
“Be willing to work without compensation if it helps you build a relationship for future business.”
This is perhaps because I am a personal finance blogger (Girls Just Wanna Have Funds) and we NEVER advocate working for free in any capacity if we can help it. The only exception is if we are reviewing the product/site/company on our own time.
We just had our conference over the weekend and one brand tried to recruit us to review their product without compensation and as a group we advised him that it was not cool to expect us to work without compensation. Reviews bring value to the company soliciting them and they receive the benefit long after we’ve provided that free service. This is a business and most of us are building empires. Once we start treating it like a hobby, then others will too and devalue our work which helps their brand. The very fact that you’re being asked to review a product shows therein lies some inherent value.
If there’s a concern about objectivity then of course the FTC helps out with that by mandating that we add a disclaimer stating that you were paid for the review. That said, if your readers still don’t “believe” that you’re being objective then that is an issue with your ability to garner trust from your readers. Readers should know who you are and what you’re about enough that if you give a review then they know it’s genuine.
What’s interesting to me is that when I talk to established male business owners/bloggers the concept of a free service is foreign to them. Customer wants service? They get paid. This is understood. In the book Women Don’t Ask it says:
Men ask for what they want twice as often as women do and initiate negotiation four times more. Men, socialized in a “scrappier paradigm,” learn to pursue and energize their goals at work and home. The two key elements are control and recognizing opportunity.
But with women there seems to be this need to be liked and we become irresponsible with the power of our brand which inherently devalues our service. Positioning yourself as desperate for the gig in order to be liked in hopes that the customer/brand returns puts you in a position to get low-balled or not paid at all. You’ll hate yourself for it when you see your first check.
What do you say to someone who asks that you work for free? Negotiate, don’t apologize and walk away if necessary. Here’s what happened to me recently when a company wanted me to provide them content for $FREE.99 outside of a standard syndication agreement.
Freeloader: I’m sorry but we don’t pay for XYZ service. We believe the benefit you receive is the SEO blah blah blah….
Ginger: I’ll have to decline being unpaid for this service. I do value my time and it is my hope that you’d value it as well.
Then you walk away. Trust me, they will love you for it.
Guess who replied with a rate once I declined working for free? They did. I was content to skip my happy @$$ on to the next one whilst keeping my dignity and value intact. Every legitimate company has a marketing budget because they understand how important it is to get the word out about their product. They also decide who is worth being paid. Working without compensation tells them you’re OK with being devalued while they reap the benefit.
Fadra gives the following rationale for working without compensation. I can’t stress how much it pains me to see women give each other this ratchet advice:
On working without compensation: “Many big firms want to work with the same bloggers over and over again because they know they are honest and reliable and will do a good job.”
On asking to be paid for a review: “It not only taints your view of the product in the eyes of your readers, but it probably taints your own opinion as well. While some bloggers charge an “administrative fee” for their time for a review or for giveaways, this is not a policy I subscribe to.”
These are the only reasons why you’d not agree to receive greenbacks for your service:
- In lieu of payment, you arrange for something tangible value to you. This does not include a steep discount on their product or service.
- You give the service in exchange for feedback which helps to build your business while helping you gain insight into needed changes.
Written by Ginger, CEO of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds ™- breaking financial ceilings, one stiletto at a time. There she publishes tips and articles that will help women light up their financial lives and take control of their deepest money issues.
Kathy Caprino, a contributing writer for Forbes, highlights some of the worst career mistakes one can make in her article The Worst career Blunder You Can Make. She herself went from “unhappy corporate VP, to marriage and family therapist, to fulfilled career coach and executive trainer” so she knows what she’s talking about. Check out the summary of her suggestions.
1. Don’t Ever Feel So Secure That You Get Too Comfortable
Just because you’re doing super in your position doesn’t mean that your job is secure, says Caprino. Many factors determine job security including the state of your industry, relationships with colleagues, etc. Always invest in your skills, not in your job.
2. Grow Your Skills
This is an obvious point. You should always be looking to learn and grow in terms of your personal assets and skils. “The key is to continually expand your professional toolbox, not just stay put,” Wrote Caprino.”The business world is changing at the speed of light, and we need to keep ourselves current, adaptable and open to these changes to be of continuing value.”
(USA Today) — It is hard to imagine that my client — the confident, competent, smart, strong and impeccably dressed Debbie that I have known 15 years — felt invisible early on in her career.
But that’s just how she and other black women in corporate America have felt — and still do at times.
It goes back to unflattering stereotypes and general perceptions that “make it easy to dismiss black women as unable to be power players,” says Sophia A. Nelson in her book, “Black Woman Redefined.”
Add that less than 1.2 percent of black females are executives in corporate America, and such women not only feel invisible, but to a third of the American workforce they truly are invisible, Nelson says.
(Forbes) — Chris Kirubi is a complex man. One of Africa’s richest and most successful businessmen, he’s that rare blend ofDonald Trump, Jeffrey Sachs,Richard Branson and American music star DJ Khaled, in African skin. In business, he’s got the cunning and clout of Trump, the economic intellect of Sachs, the rebellion of Branson, and the musical inclinations of hip-hop act DJ Khaled. Here’s the reason why: In between running one of Africa’s largest privately held business conglomerates, delivering countless keynote lectures during frequent international economic gatherings, writing a weekly business column for a daily newspaper and mentoring young Kenyan entrepreneurs, Kirubi still finds time to make cameo appearances in Kenyan hip-hop videos, movies, and even hosts a rock show on Capital FM, a Nairobi radio station he owns. He’s the DJ!
(Black Enterprise) — During Oprah’s final show a few weeks ago she masterfully distilled and delivered 25 years of hard-earned wisdom in a few power-packed segments. I attended a viewing party (at the Four Seasons where she lodges when she travels to Atlanta) to hear what she had to say. As she talked throughout the hour, I blinked my eyes repeatedly to keep from becoming a hot pink puddle of tears in my cute little summer dress. I was misty-eyed for a few reasons–mostly because I was so inspired. She shared many thoughts that were absolutely profound. As an entrepreneur I believe she made one distinction in particular that needs to be clearly understood. While discussing the fact that everyone has a purpose she said, “You have to make a living, I understand that.” She went on to say, “Everybody has a calling. Mine aligned with my profession, my job. Not everybody gets paid for it, but everybody is called,” she said. Oprah had just offered a thought that challenges one of the most popular bits of entrepreneurial advice. How many times have you heard, “If you follow your passion in business the money will follow?” It has been repeated so often that it is now thought to be a business truism; but I’m here to tell you that it is often misleading and in some cases flat out wrong.
(Inc.) — Having studied large corporations for years, Carol Sanford, author of the recent book The Responsible Business, has been surprised by how many outmoded corporate ideas she sees start-ups adopting in the name of structure. She spoke with Inc.com’s Christine Lagorio.
What kinds of bad ideas do you see start-ups embracing?
Most companies start out with all of this bright energy, and with a few folks who act as equals. But as the company grows, the founder starts to think, Oh, we need hierarchy. We need to bring in outside people to manage. That model has been proved not to work very well, and yet many start-ups adopt it.
(Inc.) — When Michael Salvatore joined Bowery Lane Bicycles as chief officer of nearly everything, he set out to streamline their processes. The start-up based in New York was formed in 2008 as a locally born, locally supported, and locally sustainable business. Founders Patrick Benard and Sean Naughton make a point of working with local vendors. As they state on their website, “ninety-nine percent of bikes sold in the U.S. are not made in America. We are a part of the 1%.” Salvatore quickly noticed that everyone was using their personal email addresses so his first step was to create aGoogle Apps account and @bowerylanebicycles.com email addresses for the employees. They organize their calendars (and sync them on various devices) usingGoogle Calendars, and all of their manuals, marketing materials, and more are Google Docs accessible to their freelancers and vendors, regardless of location. Why Google? Because at their core, Google is a company that set out to organize the World Wide Web via search.
(Inc.) — When a prominent critic slams your restaurant, how do you recover? Last August,New York Times restaurant reviewer Sam Sifton wrote that the food at Plein Sud in Tribeca was “lacking in flavor, texture, temperature or interest: room-service fare that leads to increased loneliness, raiding of the minibar, sleepless hours staring at the television in blue light, thinking about home.” Ouch. For an establishment that had opened a few months before the review was published, it was an ominous sign. The NYC restaurant industry is notoriously brutal, with even well-received eateries shuttering with little notice. So how did Plein Sud owner Frederick Lesort respond to the article?
(Black Enterprise) — When it comes to managing a workforce, it’s often the most basic elements of effective leadership that are overlooked. When productivity is stressed and managers struggle to do more with fewer resources in a lean economy, proper management strategies often fall by the wayside in favor of keeping the wheels turning. Scott J. Allen, assistant professor of management at John Carroll University says two-way communication is at the heart of effective management. In The Little Book of Leadership Development: 50 Ways to Bring out the Leader in Every Employee (co-written by Mitchell Kusy, a 2005 Fulbright Scholar and professor in the Ph.D. Program in Leadership & Change at Antioch University), Allen and Kusy highlight effective methods by which employers can get the most out of their workforce, while employees can get the most out of their job. Here are a few of the authors’ recommendations.
Clarify team expectations. “Without clarity, it’s difficult for an employee or team to have a clear understanding of what needs to be prioritized,” says Allen. “Each one of us has 1,000 things coming at us each day.” He says a leader needs to help the group focus its energy and focus its time where it needs to be applied and if priorities change, that also must be made clear.