If you blog, as I do, for fun (for the stimulation and the joy of engaging with people in a world of ideas), then it is easy to rant. It is easy to take shots at others. It is easy to stand on a soapbox and to put forth a PRINCIPLED and idealistic view of the world. As a modern day Descartes may say "I blog therefore I am".
BUT … it is quite a different kettle of fish to blog professionally, or to blog on behalf of your company. I am not referring to those evangelists who help present a little human softness to the vast multinational corporations … I am referring to those bloggers who write and maintain their blogs as an extension to their business. For these people the thoughts and ideas that they publish on their blog can both bring in new business or lose it. The authenticity that they seek and work towards in their ideation and their writing could be the very thing that keeps potential clients away. Furthermore, this principled approach to authenticity can also cause a real work dilemma — which clients do you accept, which do you turn away from, and how do you draw the line?
The Staufenbergers have recently been wresting with this challenge. The money was good but, in the end, they decided NOT to take on a project where the client was in a sector that they didn’t want to work in. There are a couple of interesting points around this (and please go read the article):
- Standing by your principles costs you — when you are a small agency/business this will cost you REAL money. If you have won the work, then you would have invested in the pitch … and you may have foregone other work to do so. And that means it costs you DOUBLE.
- You feel childish — when you decline work you start to doubt yourself. You feel childish and perhaps churlish. You wonder whether you are standing by your principles … and can go so far as to question them, belittle them and begin to self-censor. AND all this happend BEFORE you call your client.
- Your feeling of wellness grows — after you have answered the 100 questions asked by the voices in your head, and after you have spoken with your client, you begin to feel happy. Your sense of wellness grows and continues to strengthen almost immediately (and it lasts).
I must say, full marks to The Staufenbergers. Not only have they shown that it is important to make a personal and professional stand from time to time, but they also demonstrate a firm sense of their abilities — if they did not think that they would have an impact on the people in the marketplace, then there would have been no dilemma.
Makes you wonder though, where would YOU draw the line?