We’ve all been questioned in our lives. Weather it’s for a job interview or family and friends asking questions when you finally get the chance for a catch up. But what is it that makes some questions more offensive and intrusive than others? The reason I want to talk about this is because recently I was questioned by a potential client on my ability to write about a particular topic. Even though I provided them with all of the evidence that I thought would be satisfactory, they continued to doubt my ability which really peed me off to say the least!
Asking questions and in turn, being questioned is an everyday part of life. As far as I’m concerned, the ability to ask questions is what makes us human. It’s an extension of our curiosity and a way in which we communicate. When your partner comes home from work you ask them how their day has been. First of all, it’s common courtesy, but questions are also a great way to initiate meaningful conversations. You’re partner will tell you about your day and then return the courtesy by asking how your day was and then conversation ensues. Questioning is how we learn about things and people. Questions allow us to create deep and meaningful bonds with people by finding out more about them, whether it’s a personal or professional relationship. Personally, I love asking my clients questions about where they come from, how they got into their particular field and their hobbies. Nothing too personal as these relationships need to be kept professional. But I also need to know what I can engage and work well with someone. I love what I do and one of the reasons for that is because I work with some really awesome people.
Now, back to said incident that has caused this post to arise. I had posted a promotion for one of my ghostwriting services on a legitimate Facebook group promotion thread (some of you may be familiar with the Create Your Laptop Life group by Julie Stoain). This is a really good way for me to meet new and interesting clients from all kinds of different backgrounds as well as a way for other entrepreneurs to get their hands on some awesome content because let’s face it, who has the time to sit and write all day (ME, holla!). The morning after I had posted on the promotional thread I had a message from someone looking to get their hands on some awesome content. The person (who shall remain nameless) asked if I had experience with technical writing on the particular topics of WordPress, themes and plugins. I replied yes, very enthusiastically. Because of my technical background in web development, you could say that these kinds of topics are my area of expertise. I explained this to the gentleman and he asked to see some samples of articles I had written. I explained to him that I was not at liberty to disclose any work I had done for other clients on this topic and I’m a ghostwriter… The whole idea is to remain anonymous! He said that I could trust him and blah, blah, blah – But I stuck to my guns. I take my commitment to my clients very seriously. I politely told the gentleman that he could view samples of my work on my website to get a feel for how I write. To date there are two technical blog posts on my site. He came back and said that this was not satisfactory enough for him to make a decision on whether to hire me. He even had the nerve to suggest that I write something for him and he would only pay me if he liked it! The cheek of it! Safe to say that tied were cut there and then. Here are a few things I want yo guys to take away from this story.
Don’t be cheeky
It really got my goat when said individual wanted me to create a piece of content for him on the off chance that he would pay me only if he liked it. I’m sure this would annoy any freelancer. You’re trying to make a living out of something you love doing. You’re super passionate and committed to your work. You take pride in what you do and you know you’re freaking good at it. Don’t be so cheeky as to offer to only pay a freelancer if you like the work they produce for you. This is a big no. You wouldn’t go into Starbucks and only pay for you latte if you liked it.
Be true to yourself
It would have been easy for me to cave in and give this person some work I’d done for another client just to impress them. But that would have gone against the essence of what I am – A ghostwriter! I create awesome content for my clients anonymously. Otherwise I wouldn’t be a ghostwriter. I’d be more like a guest blogger. Stick to your guns and be true to who you are. Never compromise on your integrity and values. It’s what makes you, you.
Be confident in your ability
Be confident that you can do what you’re offering to your clients. Otherwise you wouldn’t be offering it. I know that I have the technical knowledge from my background in web development to be able to do what this client was asking of me. If the topic was sports, that would have been a completely different ball game (get it?) because I don’t know the first thing about sports! I’ll be honest, I think this guy who approached me about technical ghostwriting was a little sexist. Because I’m a woman, what could I possibly know about WordPress and developing websites? A heck of a lot I’ll have you know! I digress.
To round up, what I’m getting at is this. Asking questions and being questioned is not a negative thing. It’s how we learn and grow and feed our curiosity. But some questions feel more like an interrogation, condemnation and doubt. If you’re that unsure of someone’s ability, go and find someone else to work with who fills you with confidence. The same goes for service providers. If someone is doubtful of your ability, it’s not worth slaving to prove yourself to them. You need to be working with people who fill you with confidence, lift you up and and move you forward. Most people will be willing to give you a chance to shine, and so they should. Unfortunately there are a select few people in this world who feel the need to doubt everyone. You don’t need those people because you’re awesome, and there’s no doubt about that!