I might be too honest. It’s only Wednesday and I have had to walk away from three paying clients because my gut kicked in and told me it just was not right. One was a client looking for a level of expertise in a specific area that I do not have. I could get it, but not fast enough to credibly pitch myself. I ended up directing them to an agency in their area. Someone asked why I didn’t just take the work and then hire someone with the expertise. Ummm…because that would be lying.
Another client wanted me to pitch something “innovative, revolutionary and groundbreaking” (possibly even unique) but twelve seconds on Google proved that it was none of those. “Well, just say that we are and then later we’ll explain that we were one of the first doing it.” Ummm…telling journalists something I know is exaggerated just to get them to talk to my client would be lying.
The last client expected a lot of work from me, but when I got into it, there really was not much there to do. We agreed on a set monthly fee, but I had to send an email suggesting a lower rate because I was not doing all of the work that had been originally discussed. The little devil on my shoulder was saying something about just bill it, but I couldn’t, even though I know they are going to question the entire project based on my recommendations. Billing clients for work I could do but they don’t need, even though I know there are people who would do it without a second thought, is lying.
Honesty may not pay, but dishonesty doesn’t either, so if I am going to be broke, I might as well feel good about myself. But in this new world, with so many people facing economic pressure, I wonder how we will get to a place of more transparency, not less. With Facebook secretly (well, not any more) hiring PR firms to smear competitors and male writers posing as Syrian lesbian bloggers, I am not sure that truth is everyone’s goal. Maybe it is overrated and I just need to be part of the cool crowd because everyone is doing it. Or maybe I’ll stick with following my gut. Either way, clients, be forewarned: I may not be Saint Eligious, but I will call you out on lapses in transparency faster than you can say “Snarky PR Lady.”
And call me if you have something truly innovative to pitch.