Angela’s recent blog about why it doesn’t pay to do business with jerks prompts me to join in the discussion. The time-period spanning December 2003 and January 2004 was terrible for my Writing Services business. It would take me a year to write an accurate account about what happened to hurt my business during that time.
Every snafu was a problem caused by some jerk of a client. I immediately realized two things about that week: 1) The need to disengage from Immoral Scofflaws, and 2) The need to rethink how I do business as a writer.
I also wanted to serve notice on jerks at large not to come anywhere near me. But, Pity Parties are not my style and they lack professionalism, so I focused the pain into a recovery plan. I needed to invite integrity-based clients into my business life. I drafted an editorial for my websites and newsletters in order to alert the public as to my stance on business ethics. As the text percolated in my mind, I cut my losses by withdrawing my services from those clients who, I realized, habitually engaged in dishonest practices or intended to do so with me.
A friend “vetted” my text for reasonable prose, removing the emotional content I had failed to identify. She then responded, “The fact is that there is absolutely no reason to apologize for demanding that people honor their agreements, whether they are verbal or written. Often we, the “good guys”; who tend to be in the moral minority, end up in that position, but it’s not necessary.”
I agreed with that concept and edited my prose for more measured tones. My editorial now bespeaks the tone and tenor of how I conduct my business affairs. That editorial recently appeared in my ‘Zines. I posted the same message to my web sites. I am pleased to share it with your readers, Angela. Here is the text:
I like to regard myself as simply a faithful recorder of events rather than as someone aspiring to fleeting fame in the press. I rarely put myself into my journalism on a “this is about me” basis. That only happens when I have made the news myself or I am sharing a personal insight in an Op/Ed piece. Today I have a rather personal Editorial to offer to the world. I present to you:
Doing Business the Professional Way
I conduct my business affairs in good faith and I require the same from my clients. With the advent of a rocky global economy and its unfortunate effects, my ledger, my lawyer and my accountant have witnessed some downright customer dishonesty. Be aware that I strive to provide reliable services, written work that is credible, well prepared and memorable, as well as to provide Public Relations duties, faithfully and competently performed.
My energy and expertise are offered with my sincerest efforts to meet my client’s needs in exchange for agreed-upon remuneration. I respond to business challenges, including unexpected ones, by securing the answers and results I need in order to perform as contracted. I pride myself on meeting deadlines in advance or on time. Tardiness and lame excuses are not my hallmarks. Payment for my services should not be delayed either, or worse, disputed. I look forward to doing business with clients who honor our verbal, written and emailed contracts. I conduct myself professionally and I want the same behavior from my clients.
If you are not able or willing to cooperate in this manner, move on. By victimizing me you will victimize my creditors. Your conduct is deeply destructive. I don’t want to work with or for you.
A host of clients (editors included) appreciate my timely, quality work and cooperate in kind. If my sense of ethics appeal to you as kindred in spirit, I invite you to contact me.
You can send your comments about this editorial to angela (at) writersweekly.com. We will then forward them to the writer above.