Tough Love Tuesday: Don’t Tag Me, Bro!
This week I want to talk about one of my biggest entrepreneurial pet peeves. Picture this: I’m checking my email or a notification pops up saying I was tagged in a post on Facebook. I click on it and I see that it is a person looking for someone to do cheap or free work and someone tagged you in the post as a potential “hire”. Let me go on a limb and speak for most entrepreneurs and say that we hate that. So. Much.
I hear the comments now. “You are so ungrateful!” “People are just trying to get you more work!” “You should be happy people thought of you!” Trust me, I am so grateful that people think of me when someone is in need of photography or branding work. It means the world to me. That isn’t the problem here. The problem is when someone asks for cheap or free work and you’re tagged in that post, it puts the entrepreneur in a crappy position and these two things happen.
1. The expectation is set that you will work for cheap or for free.
The person looking for help set the parameters of what they need. “I need an event photographer for cheap.” “I need social media help but I have no budget.” “I need a new website built and I’ll buy you dinner!” When you tag someone in that post, you’re making an assumption about that person’s rates. I hear even more comments coming in. “Well, we don’t know how much you charge!!!” Exactly. Someone’s rates may be way higher than what the original poster was looking to spend and by tagging them, you’re cosigning for them that they will work for little to no money.
What to do instead: Take a screenshot and message your entrepreneur of choice and ask them if they are interested in the job. They can decide in private if it is a job they want to look into.
2. The entrepreneur now has to turn down work they weren’t interested in doing.
There may be so many tags on the post that you can escape this moment unnoticed and unscathed but if not, the original poster may then comment or send you a message asking if you want to take the job and now the entrepreneur has to say no. There are many reasons why they would want to turn it down. It could be a great opportunity to get in front of the right eyes but they don’t have the bandwidth to take on another project. They’re a high-end family photographer and they were tagged in a post to do a session for $100. Or ideally it would be a great client but their budget is too low and you know taking on the job will not help your bottom line.
What to do instead: If you end up in this situation and you are interested in the job, let them know your rates and see if they have any wiggle room to up their budget.
The entrepreneur is probably going to be left a little salty because people are out there thinking they will work for nothing. Sometimes people just don’t know what some services cost and people always want to save money. People are coming from a good place when they tag you in a post and tend to not even notice the "work for cheap” part but, of course, us with our entrepreneurial brain, that’s the only part we see. Don’t get frustrated and keep educating people on the value of what you do. There is a chance that you could even get a client out of it when you talk to the person and lead them through the steps of what they are asking for so they can see how much it actually costs. On the other hand, if it’s a project you’re not interested in at all, you can just move on.
Have you been in this situation before? Tell me how you handled it in the comments.
PS - I feel like I am aging myself with this meme reference for the title of this post.