I receive a lot of messages from people asking me for tips on how to start a business, what it’s like running a small business and how I got to where I am, I usually try to help when I can but it occurred to me that it may just easier to do a series of blog posts. So here it is, my first post of many in my business tips series, the reality of owning a small online business.
Being an entrepreneur has, undoubtedly, got to be one of the most exciting things in life! It is a roller coaster of a journey and a very rewarding one at that, however, having seen some of the circumstances my parents were faced with (they were both entrepreneurs too) and having worked for myself for the last year I have come to experience several things that I just don’t agree is acceptable behaviour and I fear it is something a lot of small business struggle with but are too afraid to speak up about it.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram stories, you will have seen that I shared a post recently on the type of messages I receive on a frequent basis from people online. Some of them are the most lovely messages that leave a smile on my face for the rest of the day but there are always a few which are quite frankly, hurtful.
One particular message (which I shared on my stories) was where someone browsed my store and decided to ask me if they could just get a phone case for free. It’s extremely frustrating when I read these type of messages and I get them on a weekly basis. I am a hard worker and I’ve put a lot of hours into my work to get it to a standard that my customers deserve. Honestly, I find it incredibly cheeky for people to think it’s okay to ask anything like this, we are all just trying to make a living from what we do at the end of the day!
Another topic that should be made aware to all budding entrepreneurs is the review blackmail. Now I love the power of the internet, I really do, it is what has got my business to where it is today but it has also empowered customers to make unreasonable demands which they wouldn’t do inside a real life store. Sometimes I am left feeling completely helpless at the hands of customers who blackmail me saying they will give bad reviews about my business on the internet if I do not accept their requests.
Being a new small online business and not wanting a bad review to taint my business, I have until recently succumbed to these requests but I realise now that it is just the same as being conned or stolen from. I would advise any one being subjected to the same behaviour to not fall for these requests at all and if a bad review has been left, just post a response under that review explaining your end of the situation.
Have you ever experienced review blackmail or been asked for freebies? Post a comment to share your story.