with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I’ve been away on vacation (thought working a bit while we were gone), and the break really did me good. I needed to relax and take my mind off of work for a few days.
While I was away, a piece I did for Redbook went live both in the just-released August issue and online, and so over the last few days I’ve once again experienced an influx of readers who are reaching out to me to ask for guidance on how they, too, can make a living blogging. Fortunately, my last experience with this has more or less prepared me to handle it, but I’m always a little surprised by it, nonetheless. For the most part, though, people who approach me are well-meaning and kind and sincere, and I don’t mind taking some time out of my day to talk with those sorts of folks if I can share some useful information.
No, that’s not my problem. My problem is that even when I get email from morons, I can’t resist responding.
In the midst of the increase in reader emails, I got an email with the subject line “Interest in bloggin [sic] for money?” I assumed that it was another “Wow, I read about you and was wondering how you do it” sort of email, and so I opened it up ready to launch into my standard speech about avenues towards making money through blogging and building traffic on a personal blog, etc. That would’ve been fine, if that’s what the email was, but it wasn’t.
What the email actually was about was someone who found my blog on some sort of blog ranking page and wanted to know if I was interested in blogging for pay. Specifically, she wanted to know if I would be interested in setting up and hosting a blog where I would be paid the whopping sum of $5 - $10 per post that links back to her client, and by the way, one of the requirements is no disclosure about said relationship.
I saw red. And what do I do when I see red? I write back, and try to explain the (very many) error(s) of her ways. Do I honestly believe that will change anything? No, of course not. People who are willing to be unethical and cheap and all-around bad for business are not likely to read my well-reasoned retort and smack their foreheads and say, “Wow, she is so right! We need to revise our business model!” I know this. But I can’t help myself. Deep down inside where I harbor a tiny seed of optimism, I really believe that if enough people push back against this sort of crap, that eventually things will change.
Because you are a reasonable human, I’ll share with you the many things that were wrong with this approach, and maybe then I’ll feel like it wasn’t all for naught. Writers, take note for your own mental checklist of things to watch out for. Business folks who want blogger relationships, take note for what not to do.
A brief summary of what was wrong with this email:
There was either a typo or slang in the subject line. Either way, unprofessional.
The person approaching me had clearly never read my blog, because if she had, she would already know that I’m a professional writer and would likely laugh very hard at her proposal.
The email came to me from a Gmail address with no business information in the sig line. I don’t work for anonymous people. I work for people on whom I can do background checks.
Advertising for a company for renumeration and not disclosing that that’s what you’re doing is called shilling. It is unethical, period. Reputable businesses aren’t interested in this sort of arrangement. Neither are reputable writers.
$5 a post? Seriously? Haven’t we discussed this before? Oh, that’s right—we have.
Shockingly, I did not receive a response to my reply explaining why I would never consider taking her up on her offer. Go figure.
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