SHARING

I’m cheating today, and posting a reply I made to a forum today. Got to conserve those keystrokes!

A craftsperson had received a request, out of the blue, from someone was writing a business plan for a similar business: “I was hoping to ask you some questions about your business, your target customers, and the available market for such (a product)?

I got to thinking about why requests like this bug me. After all, sometimes I share freely with others, while other times (like this one) I feel hugely annoyed.

I think it’s this:

I don’t mind sharing general knowledge about how I learned stuff, or where I learned it or how I found it. I like to share my experiences so others don’t have to necessarily make all the same mistakes I did! I think if you read my blog, you get that about me.

But I hate being treated like a data mine for people who can’t be bothered to do the simplest research for a business/product they say they are passionate about.

I don’t mind occasionally sharing a really great resource or tip for someone.

But I usually expect something in return–they share a great potential customer or lead, or some marketing opportunity, perhaps. Or they are part of community where I’ve benefited from the generosity of others, and it’s my turn to give back.

It’s not tit-for-tat, exactly. But it there is some kind of reciprocity. And I know it when I see it…or don’t see it.

I guess sharing to me involves some degree of give and take, whereas some folks seem to only see the “taking” end!

P.S. I am not talking about those wonderful random acts of kindness I feel compelled to make from time to time. Those just come from a different place entirely.

Though, when I think about them, I have to admit the recipient never sees it coming! They never even thought of asking…

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5 Comments

Filed under art, business, life

5 responses to “SHARING

  1. Some folks seem to be “takers” with no idea of reciprocity at all…they drive me nuts. I have friends who have bead shops who are asked all the time where they buy their beads from! How can people not get that those are not appropriate questions to ask a business owner and that if they answer the question they could lose customers in an already shaky economy? And some of them are so aggressive, they won’t take a polite answer like, “oh, from all over” and try to actually force the shop owner to tell them their sources!

  2. I love when I get asked “where do you get your supplies” inquiry. Usually at shows. I just say on the internet or at shows. The only time I give specifics is when it’s a random act of kindness – usually to new jewelers who are doing their first show and are clearly newbies. I had some great help when I first started and so it just seems logical to pay it forward. :)

    I don’t understand the kind of people who just ask and take and don’t give in return. Boggles my mind.

  3. The problem with business plans is that we are encouraged to know the “market” and the “competition” and business advisors often tell us that the best way to find this information is to ask people who already do what we want to do. The problem arises when the asker believes that because some business guru told them to ask, that they now have a “right” to your personal business information regardless.

    And yes, we’ve been faced with a few that have demanded information and are not happy with the usual short answers about our supply sources in particular and other tidbits in general, and we have gotten annoyed and they have been summarily told. Others who approach with respect & honesty about why they are asking often get more than asked for by way of information. A response often depends on how we ask the question.

    Also your post today made me think about the difference between blotters and sponges and that people seem to be either one or the other. The blotter soaks it all in and gives nothing back, the sponge always gives back when squeezed.

    Thanks for being a sponge by the way.

    -Cynthia

  4. Not to be an old fogey,(!) but especially in this day and age when there are literally thousands of pages of resources to be found with only a few key strokes. The long hours in the library? feh. Do they even know where one is?

    When people ask me “how do you do that?” sometimes I answer “I’m a trained professional”. It’s amazing how that makes them stop bugging me.

  5. Sounds like this is a hot button for many of us. Great responses for dealing with this–thanks to you all for sharing them.
    Cynthia, nice metaphor. I never thought I’d be so pleased to be called a sponge–thank you! Good thoughts, too, on how to respectfully conduct research for a business plan. Sounds like a great topic for a future blog essay!
    Spike, I agree, it was a lot harder to find stuff before, but there’s absolutely no excuse with the resources we have at our disposal now.

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