You Asked, We Answer: Business, Freebies And Guest Blogging Conundrums

You Asked, We Answer: Business, Freebies And Guest Blogging Conundrums

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Get Your Graphics On

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Entrepreneurial Fail

Yesterday was not such a hot day in the realm of our entrepreneurial journey. We were supposed to demo progress on our new software product to our business partners and Ralph worked all weekend to make magic happen.

Instead of magic, Monday happened… and instead of installing the software, Ralph basically blew up the data.

To make matters worse, he says he made a stupid mistake that he never should have made. And in his efforts to fix it, things just kept getting worse.

There was no partner demo. The partners were not happy. And Ralph stewed in a cloud of failure.

Goes to show that no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey or how experienced you are, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have bad days. Sometimes really bad things will happen and you’ll get mad at yourself and maybe other people will get mad at you too, but you have to keep on going.

And even though Ralph called himself a failure today, I don’t believe in calling yourself or anyone else a failure. I’ve deemed it a “failure event” but insist that Ralph is not at all a failure.

Also, we learned that pie can help ease the pain. As long as it’s served with a side of Oreos.

Giving Stuff Away For Free

Today we take on two questions that listeners asked as a result of our recent “Death to Free” episode.

The first comes from Nadia Bracken and goes something like this:

I don’t want to charge for my program but it is expensive to administer. I’m burning through a lot of cash and paying a VA every month. I want to hire someone to help me with social media and content production. You said to tell you when I wanted something to be free. I want it all to be free. What should I do? I am not running a business. Do I have to?

Well, Nadia, there are two key points here.

One is burning through cash.

While giving stuff away is noble and wonderful, it won’t pay the bills. If you can fund your freebie and you love giving things away, do it! By no means are we suggesting that giving things away is a bad thing. But if it’s costing you more than you’re earning one way or another, then something has to give.

If you’ve got the money, great. You can fund your passion project. If not, you need to earn the money to pay for it or perhaps ask for donations or even crowd fund it.

The second key point is not running a business.

And that is, of course, the context we’re referring to. Free stuff is great and we want it, too! But when you’re running a business then you need to earn money to support yourself and your business, to pay your staff and bills and to allow you to continue to uphold your obligation to service your paying clients. So no, you don’t have to run a business and you can give away your time and products to your heart’s content. But if you are running a business then free is not your best friend.

A Seriously Social Moment

Today Ian Anderson Gray wants you to stop saying “thank you” on social media. Funny, coming from a British guy who is confoundingly polite. He is so polite that it took him several years before he enlightened us to the fact that he is Scottish and not Bristish. But who’s splitting hairs?

But he has a point. It’s become rather rote for us to spit out a “thank you” when someone comments on our post, shares it, tweets it… so rote that it seems to have lost its meaning.

Ian says that instead of an automated thank you, how about a genuine question or a show of support? How about introducing someone to someone else or sharing another idea?

While being polite is important and being grateful is, too, Ian want you to be mindful of being a person. And you can’t automate gratitude.

No Return On Guest Blogging

Another listener asked a question related to the same episode about free stuff. We got so much feedback on that episode we’re going to revisit it soon.

But for today, Stephanie Parker asked this:

I agreed to be a guest blogger on another blog and it has turned in to me providing way too much free content with little to no traffic back to my site. Any tips on breaking it off without burning my bridges?

Ralph says that people tend to be more afraid of burning bridges than they need to be. If you’re doing something for free or doing someone a favor, there’s an unspoken understanding that it’s not permanent and that if you have other obligations to attend, you may need to stop doing that free thing.

We call this “negotiating with yourself”. This is where you have an imaginary conversation in your head about what is going to happen if you say or do something and usually it doesn’t bear resemblance to reality.

We both agree that you can extricate yourself by being direct and tactful. Thank the person for the opportunity and let them know that you have other obligations to attend, which includes clients and paid work. Everybody we’ve ever dealt with like this has been agreeable. And if that person is not agreeable? They’ve burned the bridge, not you.

A Guest Post Tangent

Stephanie’s question led me to wonder, if she’s investing so much time in guest posting, why isn’t it turning into traffic? Before calling it quits, I suggest there may be a way to capitalize on guest blogging. Of course, it’s important to know whether the site you’re posting on gets decent traffic. If not, then you probably won’t get any either.

But there are other things you can do to improve traffic. One, make sure your name, website and social links and bio are all prominent on the post. Some bloggers put the post under their name then write an introduction to your post, but that doesn’t necessarily highlight you. Nor does it highlight your website or information.

Then try to include links within your content that go back to your website. As long as you’re not adding affiliate links, ads or other spammy types of links, bloggers are typically amenable to letting you put links in your content to other relevant content. Make it easier for people to get to your site and see what happens.

It should go without saying that your content has to be great. Make it something that someone really wants to read and they’re more likely to want more.

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • Great podcast as always, guys!
    Ralph, you are not a failure, but you definitely have guts for going on a podcast to admit a failure. We all fail from time to time, so pick yourself up and start over.
    The British guy was a bit dodgy though… 😉 But that’s the thing, I am actually British. My parents are Scottish but they would also identify themselves as British. I was born in England, so I suppose technically I am English. To reduce the complexity of the situation I just say I am British.
    There are some Scots, however, who would say they are Scottish but not British – I have a relative like that, and he would describe himself as a nationalist since he believes in an independent Scotland.