Ask any lawyers or doctors what happens when they attend a cocktail party and mention in conversation what they do for a living. They’ll tell you people ask them for free advice. Everybody has a problem, but not everyone wants to pay for help solving it.
The same is true for copywriters, who get their share of requests for free advice, maybe not so much at cocktail parties but by people who find their website online. Some calls are from students or people just starting out as copywriters. They’re asking for guidance as they plan their education or career move.
I’m happy to lend a hand and help these folks in hope that one day they’ll return the favor by assisting someone else just beginning in the field. It makes the world a nicer place.
Other calls are from people who equate an online presence with free information. They view any service offered on the web as something they’re entitled to, almost as if the company behind the website is a social service or government organization.
Below is an amusing example (although at the time I was more aggravated than amused) of a conversation I had with a caller who found me through an article I’d written entitled, “Tips on How to Write Your About Us” page.
She called to ask for free advice on how to write her company’s About Us page. The irony of the situation is that she was using my contact information that appeared at the end of the article, never realizing my tips were literally right in front of her face. As you read this, you’ll see proof that the old expression is right, “You can’t fix stupid.”
Caller: Hi, I’m working on my business’s website and need some tips on how to write my “About Us” page.
Me: What specifically do you need to know? Or are you looking to hire me to write it for you?
Caller: No. I want to write it myself. I don’t want to pay for it.
Me: Oh, okay. This should work out handsomely. I’d be delighted to spend time teaching you how to do my job so you don’t have to pay me. Let me check my calendar.
Caller: Sure, what day works for you?
Me: How about November 12, 2016?
Caller: 2016? That sounds a little far out.
Me: Well, yes, it is. That’s because I try to leave all the earlier slots for paying clients.
Caller: Hmm, then do you think you could just email me some tips?
Me: Sure, no problem. Let me put together a full report and send it to you.
Caller: That’d be great.
Me: I’m so glad we found a solution. For a minute there, I was afraid you might not give me the opportunity to work for you for free. Keep checking your email for that report. I’ll get it right out to you.
Caller: Thanks. I really appreciate it.
I hope you enjoyed the transcription of that phone call. I have to admit I had a good chuckle at this caller’s expense as I responded to each of her ridiculous questions in an attempt to get free copywriting help.
Now let me get down to business. If you need assistance with your website’s About Us page, or any other website page for that matter, feel free to contact me. All I ask is that you understand copywriting is my business, not my hobby. It’s how I feed my children and pay my bills. I do quality work and charge competitive rates. I provide excellent value, but I do not work for free. If that sounds fair to you, let’s talk.