At times I hate myself for sending yet another email asking for readers to buy my stuff.
“What if a reader lives in NYC? What if they were in that subway station when the shooting happened? What if they’re hurt or one of their family members is hurt? Should I exclude all subscribers who’re from that region?”
Then I have to sit down and remind myself that this is my job right now. I blog. I write. I sell. That’s how I pay my rent and bills. If as a society we’re cool with people going to work, why the stigma around sending sales emails?
Thankfully, my readers are kind. Nobody punishes me (not yet, at least) for asking them to buy from me. Nobody sends me hate-emails for trying to sell.
So it appears that I may be the only one who’s feeling crappy all around and judging myself for doing something that I absolutely must.
In any case, if you guys are in my shoes, then here are some thoughts.
(Some other thoughts before that: I have no idea whether I’m right or wrong in my thinking, so if you have comments, feel free to leave them below. But please, do be kind, and constructive in your criticism. I’ve lost plenty over the last few years, so please understand that I’m not trying to downplay the losses of others. We’re all trying to make sense of a world many of us do not recognize. I have never lived through a war, so the very thought that we might get tangled into one is scary for me. Even though I’m a person of color myself, it wasn’t until 2016 that I truly faced racism head-on. I’m constantly learning new things, but I am learning. So, again, please understand that as you read the rest of this post.)
If you’re feeling crappy about selling, remind yourself that this is your job
Ukraine is in shambles. And so are many other cities and countries in the world that the media conveniently ignores. And yes, it’s hard to put ourselves out there and try to sell stuff when so many are losing their homes, practically overnight. There are hate crimes, meaningless crimes, and pointless sufferings.
And yet, it doesn’t mean that the rest of our lives are suspended. Those of us privileged enough to have a home, have loved ones, and have money to pay for stuff, must keep living. And so we do what we must.
We go to work.
The problem for self-employed people like us, especially those of us bloggers and content creators is that people assume we make money out of nothing. I’m not joking, guys. I don’t talk about what I do except to a few people in my life because nobody understands.
So, we take it for granted that people who work at an office or something have to go to work to make a living, and yet, when we try to do what we do for the same reason—to make a living—people suddenly come at us with a vengeance.
And sometimes we do this to ourselves. We become the harshest critics, and we berate ourselves for sending that sales pitch.
I think I’m writing this blog post partly for you, my readers, but also partly for my own sake. I need to remind myself that what I’m doing is my job. Sure, I’m not dressing up to go to work, but this is still my work. And, if you’re a blogger or a content creator, then this is your work too. Don’t feel guilty or ashamed to do what you must.
Don’t expect understanding from people, even if they’re close to you
Instead, find a community of like-minded people to interact with. There are Facebook groups or Reddit threads for people like us; find them if you think your closest circle of family and friends is not understanding of the work you do. Life is hard as it is, we’re better off without adding more toxicity into all this.
Share with your own community… maybe, but with moderation
This is something I struggle with.
I’ve shared before that I’m neurodivergent. Among many things, I struggle with chronic depression and some other issues that I do not speak of.
But over the last few years, I’ve shared with my community when I was struggling particularly hard after my father passed, or during the Summer of 2020 post-George Floyd, and even when the war in Ukraine started… but there’s only so much I can share. At one point, this starts to sound more like an excuse, or some kind of virtue signaling.
It’s a delicate balance, and one I struggle to maintain. At what point do I start sounding more fake than sincere? Is it better to keep my worries to myself and not involve my entire community of some 9K+ subscribers? Also, how do I even know what my subscribers feel like? Am I burdening them more by sharing these?
So, perhaps it is OK to share sometimes, but maybe not all the time?
It is better to be generous in private
I know it’s a trend for business owners to share when they donate to charities. And I think that’s amazing—if it encourages some others to donate too, then it’s all for a good cause.
But it is also OK to not announce every single dollar we give. Again. It’s a delicate balance between sincerity and virtue signaling, and as folks who share so much of our lives with complete strangers, we have to be careful about when one starts to blend into the other.
Anyway, that’s all I have for now.
Again, I’m still trying to figure out this balancing act myself. I welcome and appreciate your thoughts and comments, but do so kindly. That’s all I ask for. If I’m wrong in my thinking, my apologies. I just want you to know that all of this is coming from a place of genuine effort to be sincere and good. So, if I’ve made a mistake, just know that I’m trying.
If you do not wish to leave a comment but want to share your thoughts with me privately, feel free to send an email to [email protected]. I may not be able to respond to all emails, but I do read them all. Thank you.