Sometimes I feel like I've let myself be too trusting in my business. I know it's really important to be trustworthy, and not to lead any of my clients astray, but I feel like I've possibly been to trusting of the people that I've come into contact with, specifically those who have asked for pieces of my work to share on their blog or to post somewhere.
In my first year of business, I had a blogger contact me for a custom piece, which she wanted to add to her new renovated and redecorated bedroom. The piece would be part of the reveal on her blog, and she had said that I would be credited. She also said that the post would be up 'in the next two or three weeks. I got a little excited that some blogger had found little ol' me and wanted to feature my work on her blog. Her blog looked like it was on the more professional end, that she possibly had quite a decent following, and that I could probably benefit by doing this piece for her. So I went for it. The piece was done, a one of a kind original, especially for her (meaning no prints of this piece are in my current SHOP), and off in the mail it went.
And then I waited. I knew I would need to wait for the mail people to do their job and carry my little piece of art across provinces and states. I waited to hear if she got the piece. Nothing. So then I waited again, meanwhile checking her blog every once in a while to see if the post had been blogged. I emailed her to confirm she got the piece. I didn't hear back. I waited again and sent another email, now starting to worry that I've possibly been ripped off. Finally a couple weeks later she replied that she had recieved the piece and she loved it and the post should be up next week. She'd been busy, and was sorry about the delay. Ok, I can accept that. Schedules change, things happen, stuff doesn't always go as planned. That was fine, and I still felt like I was going to eventually get some return on the work I did.
Three more months pass. Months! I was pretty devastated. I definitely felt like I'd been worked over, and that this lady had been able to get some free art off me for her house. Finally the post showed up on her blog. Lots of detail shots of her room. One photo of the gallery wall contained a shot of my work, and still, that was competing with multiple other frames. The credit I was given was a very small sized down at the bottom of the post. I have received no hits to my site from hers. I felt that I had been duped. It wasn't made clear that the print came from me. It wasn't made clear that this print should have been credited with a ℅ since she hadn't paid for the work. I realized that next time I need to have more of a relationship with someone before they can get free work off of me, because right now it feels like miss blogger is sitting happy knowing she didn't have to pay. Trust was gone. And that just bums me out as a small business owner.
My second story is rougher, at least to me, as it hit me harder. I had built up a relationship with this next person, or so I had thought. I knew them in real life, as well as through the Internet. I gave some free work to them, and in return was promised that I would be credited on social media. I woke up the day that they launched ther post containing my work, looking forward to seeing if there was going to be any positive reaction to my work too. One little credit on facebook. No credits on Twitter. No credits on Instagram. No credits on Instagram in their second IG post. I was almost in tears. As a visual artist and business owner, I felt like I was definitely missing out with my credits not being included in the more visually based social media of Instagram. Sure facebook can be ok, but lately for any business page, Facebook is awful and only reaches about 5% of your followers. To me, I felt like that wasn't enough of a return on my investment. This job was a tougher one, being a very last minute time crunch, I had to set everything else aside, all on top of being free. (Sorry, but I've still got a little bit of a bitter aftertaste in my mouth from this because it was so recent.) I thought that the trust was there, but I guess it wasn't. There had been shadiness in the past dealing with this person, but I thought that we had overcome that. I guess it's hard to stop the shadiness when there aren't any negative consequences to it. Needless to say, I have now cut ties with working on anything with this person, and have learned my lesson the hard way from both of these examples. I can't just expect everyone to be trustworthy, just because I try to be trustworthy. Some people just aren't.
To me, being trustworthy is everything about business. I can't expect anyone to buy something from or work with me if they can't trust me. So that is my aim. To be trustworthy, have integrity, and be thoughtful. Some business attitudes that I value in my company.
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Have you come across any business situations dealing with trustworthiness, or lack there of? Share in the comments! Interested in being part of the discussion for the next Business Chats? Leave a comment with your next business value idea, or send me an email with your story, you might be up for a guest post!
cafe photo above by The Entrance Collective