“You mean that Oprah doesn’t get to pay her mortgage in pixie dust and unicorn crap either?!”
Recently I’ve seen an ugly and pervasive undercurrent in the online entrepreneur world that is really quite concerning and I want to create a call to arms, an uprising if you will.
Last week, I posted about the importance of practising what you preach; if you promise to get people results – get them yourself first. If you tell people that they need to invest in themselves, make sure that you’re also ponying up some time, energy and moolah into your business.
Basically, practice what you preach.
And be a good human.
The ripple effect of that post was shocking. Over twenty messages (and counting!) from people who had been burnt in some way from underqualified coaches, consultants and service providers. Or people who’d ‘over-sold’ and ‘under-delivered’… if you want to make it sound marginally nicer.
But the most shocking responses?
Well, those were the ones I read who said things like;
“I hear you, Jess. But I have a bigger problem. Recently, I was asked by an ‘influencer’ (multi-6 figure business owner) to work with them. They said that I was the ‘best person for the job’ – but they didn’t want to pay my rates of $1000 per month because I’m ‘not a big name yet’.”
“Recently I worked with a big industry leader. They asked me to complete a ton of work in a short time with them for an agreed fee… They came back after it was done and told me that they wanted to pay me in ‘exposure’ instead. I didn’t know how to ask for my content back.”
Or (my personal ‘Are you freaking kidding me’ favourite)
“ I’ve been approached by three industry leaders this year to ask if they could use my images… for free. Without credit. But hopefully with exposure to their audience at some point”.
Could someone tell me when exposure became a currency, please?
Perhaps I can grab it at the travel counter along with my euros?
Like, what’s the exchange rate on it? £100 = 50,000 exposure-itis?!
“Sorry kids, I can’t pay for the shopping because these Luddites at Walmart don’t take EXPOSURE yet’.
Sorry for the sarcasm… but seriously?
Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand.
Exposure can skyrocket a business.
But you can’t eat exposure. You can’t pay for your groceries with it. Or put it in your car to make it run.
In fact, some of the biggest mistakes I see from business owners who aren’t making money, are from those who go for exposure first… they’ve got thousands of hits on their viral article… but are living on Pot Noodles and praying that their overdraft gets extended again.
Sales make a business.
Profit keeps you running.
It’s like business basics 101.
So why are these leaders who are already making all the money, trying to convince people that they can have it all… as long as they’re willing to eat exposure of course.
The thing is, that there are some great industry leaders out there who do value their team.
Who pay fairly and who recognise the value that experts bring to their business.
And they don’t give a flying fig if the person they hire has 17K followers on Instagram. They hire them because they’re the expert for the job.
People like Janet Murray who adores her events team. Chris Ducker who’s built a brilliant team overseas in the Philippines. Dan Meredith who pays his team in pounds (and hilarious memes!) There are good eggs out there.
As I was saying to the members of my community recently, my team always get paid first.
I hire based on what I need – and who’s the best fit for the job – not the size of their following.
And no, I’m not the perfect person to work for.
I’m disorganised, have a million ideas per minute and have insanely high standards.
But I pay fairly, train well and am someone who likes to give credit where it’s due.
Now, am I saying that I’ve never taken anything for free?
No. I’m human. I LOVE free stuff. (Especially hotel freebies – everyone loves a soap!)
But I always offer to pay. And if the person asks for exposure, I give it immediately, freely and usually with payment too! In fact, I’ve worked with lots of people from my community – and been PROUD to pay them for their expertise.
Because I believe in what I preach.
I believe that everyone gets to charge for their expertise.
And I believe that if you want to succeed in business, you need to hire the experts.
HIRE them. PAY them. VALUE them.
Because those who don’t invest, don’t implement.
And that doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out, earning your first 5 figures, or creeping beyond that magic 6 figure mark.
So if you’re feeling overworked, underpaid and undervalued… step up.
Commit to changing – and implement strong boundaries.
And let’s start a movement… not of blame – but of bridges.
Let’s teach these ‘influencers’ how business is really done. Remind them that relationships are key. That people buy from people. And that a rising tide lifts all boats.
And if you want to know how to react when someone isn’t acting as you believe they should try these two things;
1. Vote with your wallet. As a consumer, you have the power to STOP paying people who operate without integrity. You get to CHOOSE who you support. We’re all in business to be profitable, but as a customer, you get to do your due diligence and find out who can really a) get you results and b) who’s walking their talk.
2.Set boundaries. As a business owner, you get to make the best decisions for your business. Sometimes – exposure is great. In fact, over the years, I’ve participated in numerous free telesummits, given total gold on podcast interviews and have even spoken at events for free. And it’s helped to build my audience (and profit margin) rapidly. The difference? I only participated in engagements for people that I respected, admired and who had the same values as me. Not just every Jane, Joe and John who want to grow their email list by [INSERT AMOUNT HERE]. When you want the cash, not the crowd – don’t be afraid to say so. And if they say no? Walk away with dignity and safe in the knowledge that you did the right thing for YOU.
As my wonderful assistant Beth, said to me yesterday;
“I don’t care who you are. We all deserve to get paid fairly. We all deserve to work with good people.”
I take my payment in pounds.
Not pixie dust.
What currency are you working in?
PS. KNOW AN AMAZING INDUSTRY LEADER WHO PRACTICES WHAT THEY PREACH? TAG THEM BELOW TO SAY THANKS FOR WALKING THEIR TALK!