3 Things I Learnt From Last Weeks Post
well that happened
Holy cow last week was bonkers. I'll start this week with another home truth and admit - I had NO IDEA that last weeks blog was going to be such a big deal.
I wrote it because I thought it was a interesting story that reflected something ugly I don't agree with and that a few people would say 'lol wow!' but the reaction was just insane. Thank you SO MUCH.
For this week, It felt like too much had happened to just skate by and talk about 'My Favourite Knits on Pinterest' (although that will be coming soon, we all love a bit of pinterest after all!) ...so I thought I would just let it resinate, reflect on what happened and summarise a few things I learnt, that I think are valuable.
for anyone who missed it:
You can read all about what happened by clicking here
3 Things I learnt
I never imagined I'd get the response I did last week. Replies were flooding in on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, there were comments on the blog itself as well as emails and direct messages on social media. I admit I became a little overwhelmed as the week went on and messages continued to come in, so I took a little leave of absence from it and stepped back to crack on with the To Do list. (I'm sorry to anyone I'm yet to respond to, I have read your messages and appreciate you taking the time to write them... at some point I just had to stop and do some knitting)
When something a bit bonkers like that happens, I always think the best thing to try and do, is learn from the experience. So here's what I've learnt -
1. Sadly, it's not an uncommon experience.
The top 2 responses I received were 'WOW that's shocking' and 'A similar thing happened to me...'. The latter makes me so sad. The influx of small businesses who messaged telling me they too receive outrageous (and sometimes hilariously bad) requests, was incredible. I've heard about requests for thousands of free invitations, in exchange for ... not credit or payment, just one of said invitations. Illustrators being asked to create designs for free because 'it'll look good in their portfolio' (lucky them! let's ignore all the work in their portfolio that customers were happy to pay for) and hundreds of party gifts to be featured on another reality tv show for extremely minimal credit if any. Again I stress that in the right circumstances all of these requests could have merit, but I can assure you that these particular examples did not.
It's so sad how common this is and I do understand the comments from last week saying 'that's life' - I even acknowledged that myself in the post - but for me, just because it's common, doesn't make it OK. I understand people will always try it, I'm sure we've all asked for something a bit cheeky in the past (I know I have!) but the point I really want to make is this -
If you are that small business being asked too much for too little, please know that you're not alone, we've all had people being cheeky (at best) or trying to take advantage (at worst). Please know that you do not have to give in just because they're bigger than you or famous or know someone who was in a band in the 90's. It's up to you, have faith in yourself that you can do it without them if you want to. Having said that - If Ryan Gosling wanted a blanket for his second cousin twice removed I've give him two, and my dog. So honestly, do what feels right for you and your business.
The point being, some opportunities will be right and some 'opportunities' will be wrong and that really is life, but the important thing to remember is that it's totally up to you and what you think will work for your business.
(I feel guily about the dog comment. I promise I wouldn't give Ryan Gosling my dog.) on to lesson number 2 -
2.I now know how to deal with trolls
Not a lesson I particularly wanted to learn but hey, it can't always be fun can it!? Number 3 (below) was really the saving grace in helping me to figure out how to deal with this. Oh and I spent 5 minutes painting my middle fingernail with glitter so I could take this picture which really helped. I posted it on Instagram and captioned it "Friends, when the world (or people in it) try to get you down, give 'em the finger and just crack on." Words to live by I think. Although I admit it can come as a shock - there's no point focusing on a few negatives when the overwhelming majority is positive.
3. People are wonderful.
If I didn't know before, I sure do now. For every drop of shocking, negative, greedy and rude that was involved in last weeks post what I felt in return was nothing but love. Any embarrassment I felt upon posting it (from airing my dirty laundry in public) was immediately washed away, any sadness I felt from rather personal attacks on my character were totally abolished and I felt like I had hundreds of people and small businesses behind me saying 'you did the right thing'.
I can't tell you how much that meant to me. To have so much support and solidarity, in a matter of days I went from bashful to badass and I have you to thank.
warning: slightly sloppy and DRAMATIC paragraph coming up:
You all gave me faith and hope, OK this might be a bummer and apparently a dirty secret, happening behind the scenes for many small businesses, but actually the majority of people don't think it's acceptable. and that to me speaks volumes, It's a lot more than just a few people kicking off because a celeb has been a bit rude, it's more about the moral standing and support we can offer each other and I feel so lucky to be a part of that.
Thank you so much everyone who got involved to share their thoughts and feedback. And if you're a small biz who's dealt with something similar I would LOVE to read about it, please do write it down and share it around because it's not reasonable behaviour and we ought to be better informed about it.
A few MUST reads:
I'm going to leave you with a couple of brilliant small business blogs that I think make wonderful reading.
more enlightening requests:
Firstly, for more shocking request stories please see Anges De Sucre's post "The Best Free Cake Requests" - I was actually laughing out loud. Reshmi is so hilariously honest I have all the love for her, If you're ever feeling hard done by just take a peek at this post.
Small business appreciation:
Second is Ofe from Ollie's studio who wrote a really sensible and considered explanation to the question "It's only paper - why's it so expensive?" on behalf of all those graphic designers and illustrators constantly being harassed by that very question.
that's all folks
Thanks for joining me again, shall we go a bit more lighthearted next week?