Working at a magazine, it’s my job to sift through hundreds of emails from people who all want you to do them a favour. Now, I am not averse to lending people a hand but in a professional environment, I believe that a little bit of thought and kindness is important.
The world doesn’t owe you anything. It’s harsh but I also believe it to be incredibly true. You get what you put out and this can be both good and bad. At the end of the day, every one is doing the best that they can. We’re all on equal playing fields (or at least we should be) and the people behind the computer screen of your email, comment or message … well, they are people.
We all get caught up in our own journeys sometimes (especially when running a business that we truly believe in). And it’s good to believe in your business, product or service. But it’s equally as important to honour other people’s journeys and treat their time, effort and energy with respect. So with complete love and compassion, here are three scenarios that you must avoid in your business and a few ways that you can treat the situation differently.
I receive an email from a PR agent who wants their product featured in our magazine. The PR agent is new on my radar and we don’t have a relationship. So I ask whether they’d be willing to run a product giveaway in order for some space. I don’t hear back from them but continue to be bombarded with press releases and a whole bunch of information about what we can do to help them.
The thing is: If you’re asking for help then you’ve got to be willing to work with someone to find a solution. Here is a little insider secret from the magazine industry: journalists make good friends. And like any great friendship, there needs to be a mutual energy exchange. Nobody wants to be friends with someone who expects a lot but isn’t willing to return the favour. My favourite PR firms are the ones that understand what I need to do my job and recognise what help they can provide. In return, I have their back and am always happy to do them a favour. Because the relationship is based on mutual respect for each other.
I notice the same person in my Facebook Group asking for help. But I never see them participate unless they have a problem that needs fixing. Their tone is demanding and their vibe isn’t great. But you write back to their post anyway. You give them your time, energy and knowledge. You even offer your email. But they don’t respond and you never hear from them. They just want a quick fix to their problem.
The thing is: You’re not willing to put the time and effort into working your way through the problem. You’re after the shortcut. You want someone who has already worked through the challenge to help guide you through it. But there are no shortcuts in business and sometimes you need to do the hard yards. This might mean outsourcing your weaknesses or consulting a professional. And if someone is gracious enough to help you then you simply must pay it forward.
A person keeps posting links for you to do their latest market research survey or asking your advice on another creative project or idea. But their posts are uninspiring and they aren’t offering any value. Then they complain that nobody did their market research.
The thing is: Filling out surveys isn’t fun. I’m not suggesting that you pay people to do it but try to think of a way that you can make it more appealing. This way, more people will want to do it and they will remember you and your kindness.
We’re currently in a space where a lot of women are rising up to create businesses. With this change comes a great opportunity to do things differently and bring more kindness, generosity and presence to our communications. I hope you feel inspired to take the challenge.