Why you have a responsibility to not be an asshole when you’re in the business of selling your expertise

Why you have a responsibility to not be an asshole when you’re in the business of selling your expertise

It’s not a new story. Gurus emerge over and over with shiny, fabulous “new” approaches to the same business problems that entrepreneurs have grappled with forever. They are wrapped in pretty new packages and have splashy new graphics and clever new titles. Good people – aspiring to find a way out of whatever box they find themselves in – grab on in hopes of following those fabulous footsteps all the way to their very own villa in France.

Making money off of the hopes and dreams of others is not all that new or hard. Doing it responsibly and ethically however, is [apparently]. Keeping track of what’s really important while basking in the warm glow of oncoming dollar signs seems to be next to impossible for some.

My list of how to not be an asshole when you’re in the business of selling your expertise:

1. Teach real skills, not pretend ones.

2. Never capitalize on fear and yearning.

3. Admit your motives. Tell people why you really do what you do. It’s ok to say, “I became really knowledgeable about X because I wanted to make a lot of money.” 

4. Your right to make a decent living is not a good reason to create fake scarcity or call something an opportunity when it’s not. It’s a digital product. We know that there is more then 3 left, and if you really wanted the maximum number of people to be able to participate, you wouldn’t close the shopping cart after two hours .

5. Do your homework. Don’t teach people [either by intention or behavior] anything that is illegal, unethical, or otherwise dishonest.

Which leads me to what got me all fired up today.

[SPOILER. In the next line, I’m going to criticize someone you might love. Breathe. It will be ok. Try not to dig your heels and get mad at me just yet. I am not doing it to make you mad. I’m doing it because I think that to not do so would play into the generally accepted thought process of ‘not naming names out of fear of pissing people off’ that I find counter-productive to overall growth.]

Yesterday morning, I woke up to an email from Marie Forleo. It was a job posting. It basically read like an overly-hyped list of mundane tasks [great opportunities!] that she didn’t want to do, which in and of itself violates rule #4. It is not an ‘opportunity’ if all you get to do is bitch work while making her look like Wonder Woman.

This in and of itself was not enough to make me rant. Annoying as it was, not rant-worthy.

The rant-worthy part came at the end: 

“You will need to be available between 9am and 6pm Pacific Standard Time and you’re required to own your own Mac computer and have a reliable phone and internet connection. This will be a full time contractor position at first with the intention of moving to full time employee status in 2013.”

When I read that, my first thought was, “Well, THAT’S illegal,” but I wasn’t certain, so I checked with a colleague of mine [Erica Cosminsky, HR Consultant and general employment badass at theinvisibleoffice.com] who was kind enough to point out that Derek Halpern just sent out an almost identical post a few days ago. [Note: I am not linking out to Marie or Derek’s posts for pretty obvious reasons. If you want to find them, I’m sure you will.] We discussed it a bit and she gave me permission to share the following from our exchange:

“I cringed when I saw these emails in my inbox. The moment you set hours, the person you hired is instantly an employee. It doesn’t matter if you have them sign an Independent Contractor’s Agreement! It’s fraud in the eyes of the IRS. They will fine you and it will not be small fines. Plus if ICE finds out you’ll have thousands more in fines on top of the IRS fines.

If you are noting in your Independent Contractor Agreement that you are setting their hours and want them to suspend the right to Social Security payments, insurance and other benefits (maybe not in so many words), they have a legally signed document stating you knew you were breaking the law.

Many business owners see hiring contractors as a way to save money. You have to very carefully walk this line. Because the state sees it as cheating them out of payroll taxes, and cheating people out of their basic rights such as benefits, minimum wage, and overtime payments. The fines don’t stop with overtime and benefits payments, they will also force you to pay for lost lunch breaks, unemployment tax and workman’s comp insurance. The Department of Labor publicly posts legal cases regarding Misclassified Independent Contractors that go over a certain amount. You can see that page here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/workers/misclassification/pressrelease.htm#.UH79NMXA_qA.On average each of those cases results in $1900 a year in back payments to the “employee”. (That figure does not include any legal fees or fines, IRS fines, ICE fines, etc.)

Working with others in your business is hugely rewarding and necessary, however, you have to educate yourself. More of my new clients are businesses who have just gotten notification of a legal case or investigation than any other kind. Educating yourself will save you thousands of dollars and pain, because trust me, you might not get caught but there are many government departments cracking down on this sort of behavior.”

Setting the legality aside for just a moment, I kept wondering, why – if your target market is entrepreneurs –  would you send out a job posting for a position that says it, “…is not for you if you have personal drama or you want a side job so you can ‘start your own thing.'” [quoted from Marie’s post]

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problem at all with putting out a job posting for doing stuff you don’t want, or have time, to do. My problem is with the way that both of them presented this to a pool of people that are presumably still working at making a good living, and the hypocrisy and lack of integrity implied in how they offered it. They had to think that someone on their existing list would jump at it. To me, that feels a lot like they are taking advantage of the stature they have in their circle to leverage the skills of someone who might otherwise be trying to make their business happen for themselves, but who would be willing to set that aside for regular income at the feet of their idol.

How does that align with Marie’s message of helping people to have a business and life that they’ll love?

They turned what could have been a great opportunity to give good work to a good small business into a demanding and unreasonable popularity contest – as if one fortunate soul would be chosen from the masses to do the transcendent tasks of updating WordPress and answering emails for the great ones. In addition, the language and tone presented […because of the volume of responses, we won’t be able to respond to everyone….] was designed to make applicants feel lucky if they so much as get an email back – an easy way to get out of common courtesy and respectful communication.

They could have so easily avoided all the legality and ethical issues that made their actions a lightning rod if they would have just chosen to tap their lists with a more thoughtful and strategic approach. Rather than attempting to wedge a contractor into an employee role, why not send a request to some qualified virtual assistants who are well-equipped, highly skilled, and hungry for this type of work?

Instead, their behavior says, “Your time means nothing to me. I need you to be at my beck and call for whatever comes up, and I have no intention of allowing you the time and space to have other priorities. If I get my act together to pay you benefits sometime in the next 18 months, then yay for you… but don’t hold your breath. You’ll love this job because you can say you worked for ME, and that should be enough of an incentive to jump at the chance.”

How is that any different or better than the starched suits in the corporate world that so many of us have run from?

Easy. It’s not.

But, it could be. WE could be.

After all, our economy is changing.

Employment is changing.

And yes, MANY people would LOVE to have these jobs.

I’m asking though, why not at least ATTEMPT to be better than the last generation of business owners?

Why ARE we doing this, if not to be a part of some significant shift towards more value[and values]-based business?

I don’t want to be rich, happy and hot. I want to be fulfilled, stable, and healthy.

I want my business to fuel and inspire the creative work of others. I don’t want to manipulate buyers. I don’t want to take advantage of striving spirit and desperation. And I will never, ever tell people that it is OK to take advantage of others or circumvent the system we all live in. Be smart, yes. Find loopholes, yes. Question, yes. Violate, no.

I hear people go on and on about how we all need to take more responsibility for ourselves. How about we take some responsibility for the way that we are in the world while we’re at it? For the fact the people listen to us. For the fact that our list is not just an ATM or a worker pool. For the fact that the people listening are paying attention, and that we all – as an industry – should be setting the bar a lot fucking higher than the one that’s set for the greater business world.

After all, we are supposed to be the smart ones, remember? We are the cool kids that figured out how to buck the system and work from a beach in Fiji.

Aren’t we?

We have a responsibility to not be assholes

Because if this big, beautiful, brand-new sub-economy we all currently occupy is full of a bunch of spoiled toddlers and corporate-trained vampires who just want to suck others dry and prey on their weaknesses, then what did we all work so hard to escape?

I’m here because I think humans, in general, deserve a higher standard and I want to be a part of that. I aspire to put quality out into the world. I want to make you laugh and cry and feel great relief and joy after working with me.

I move that we let hypocrisy, disregard, unreasonable requests, impersonal demands, and dehumanizing treatment be the domain of those that loom over the unfortunate cubicle-bound, and we set a higher standard for ourselves.

You in?

**************************

If you could [oh wait, you totally can!] set standards for behavior and ethics among the micro-business/online marketer/ solopreneur community, what would they be? In the comments, please share what you would add to the Microbusiness Credo.

 

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144 Responses to Why you have a responsibility to not be an asshole when you’re in the business of selling your expertise

  1. Oh my goodness!!! I’m in tears right now because of your AMAZING post here @@illana. I know this is old but I just found it and you.
    “I want my business to fuel and inspire the creative work of others. I don’t want to manipulate buyers. I don’t want to take advantage of striving spirit and desperation. ” This is what I want. I’m just getting started and have a long way to go, but I want to HELP others. I’m so tired of seeing all these “webinars” and “helpful” jerks take advantage people that just don’t know. People trying to make a new start in their lives and need a helping hand. 
    The lower third of this article is going to be a business mantra for me. THANK YOU. You’ve got a FAN 4 LIFE ;) in me. I need a tissue now. Thank You!

  2. Derek Halpern illanaBurk  
    Derek you are so full of it.
    You criticize illana for writing a ‘hit piece’ for the purpose of generating traffic and yet you wrote a post about this very strategy on your site not long ago. But now you’re getting all holier-than-thou because you feel you have been a victim of the very strategy you’ve encouraged others to use. Grow up.

    As for traffic, at least illana gets her traffic from writing honest to goodness, truthful pieces and not the unqualified nonsense you post whilst grandstanding as a psychology expert. ( Would you care to be transparent about your psychology qualifications? )
    You’ve done alright for yourself online so far and managed to network with people better than you, which has added to your ‘credibility’, but the online world is a slippery pole, so be careful with the attitude on the way up young fella.

  3. Marie and Derek were caught. Their defensive position is to be expected, unfortunately. There are huge entertainment companies that do this all of the time and get hit with fines for violations. They say what Marie said. But just because you offer some employees full employment with benefits, doesn’t mean that you don’t operate from a position of getting something for nothing, or taking advantage. Look at any big entertainment company. “You are lucky to work here” is the attitude. A bunch of them are notorious offenders of riding the line of hiring contractors versus full time employees. 
    Marie and Derek would have been much better off apologizing, but @illana you hit a button! You called them out on their attitude and they rose to prove it! They need a PR lesson. Here it is: “Apologize for any misconceptions. We are assessing our policies and appreciate…”

    I worked at one of those big media companies as a contractor. I knew their practices going in. I did it for the experience and to get a producer credit on my resume. They were caught by the IRS for their practices but are still, years later, known for churning and burning contractors, that may one day become permanent employees.

  4. I wandered over here from the A-Lister conversation on Word Carnivals. This post and the subsequent comments made me do two things, 1: Unsubscribe from Derek Halpern’s email list. 2. Subscribe to Illana’s email list. Not because Derek’s content isn’t good, or because of his job post snafu, but because of his comments here.
     
    After reminding us all of his oh-so-impressive 70,000 subscribers, Derek felt compelled to write, “I hope you enjoyed the traffic spike, and the extra comments. I know running a blog that gets low engagement can be disheartening, so I’m sure you’re reveling in your first blog post that cracked 50 comments.”
     
    What an asshole!
     
    Someone who genuinely deserves to be “big,” who is a person of character, who understands the rules of polite discourse, doesn’t have to pick on the “little” guys to feel important. I’d rather be one of 30 people following a nice person with interesting things to say than one of 70,000 people following a jerk.
     
    Derek and other “big” marketing bloggers can use their insights into human behavior and their carefully-edited internet image to attract followers. But then you catch them on a live mic backstage and their true asshole-ness comes through. Here’s a social trigger for you – people don’t like assholes.
     
    I’m not anybody special on the internet. I don’t have anything to promote. But I’m thinking about what I want my presence to be online, and the kinds of people I want to emulate. Thank you, Illana, and the other “little” bloggers who were brave enough to have this conversation and poke the wasp’s nest. You’ve made the choice so clear.
     
    You can use the platform of the internet to build a slick persona, garner your 15 minutes of fame, and make a quick buck. Or you can use it to be yourself, build relationships, and leave a legacy. It’s not just about finding lots of people, it’s about finding the right people.

    • @ChrisQuick Wow, Chris. Thank you for all your kind words. I can honestly say that words like yours are what give me the courage to speak up when someone steps in it. I’m delighted you found your way here!

    • @ChrisQuick It’s funny you said this because I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It’s interesting to see how markedly different the responses were from Marie and Derek. While we all make mistakes, Derek seems to be much too defensive and crabby about the whole event. Marie, on the other hand, took the high road, stated her case, and actually left me feeling BETTER about her position in the situation.

  5. I wandered over here from the A-Lister conversation on Word Carnivals. This post and the subsequent comments made me do two things, 1: Unsubscribe from Derek Halpern’s email list. 2. Subscribe to Illana’s email list. Not because Derek’s content isn’t good, or because of his job post snafu, but because of his comments here.
     
    After reminding us all of his oh-so-impressive 70,000 subscribers, Derek felt compelled to write, “I hope you enjoyed the traffic spike, and the extra comments. I know running a blog that gets low engagement can be disheartening, so I’m sure you’re reveling in your first blog post that cracked 50 comments.”
     
    What an asshole!
     
    Someone who genuinely deserves to be “big,” who is a person of character, who understands the rules of polite discourse, doesn’t have to pick on the “little” guys to feel important. I’d rather be one of 30 people following a nice person with interesting things to say than one of 70,000 people following a jerk.
     
    Derek and other “big” marketing bloggers can use their insights into human behavior and their carefully-edited internet image to attract followers. But then you catch them on a live mic backstage and their true asshole-ness comes through. Here’s a social trigger for you – people don’t like assholes.
     
    I’m not anybody special on the internet. I don’t have anything to promote. But I’m thinking about what I want my presence to be online, and the kinds of people I want to emulate. Thank you, Illana, and the other “little” bloggers who were brave enough to have this conversation and poke the wasp’s nest. You’ve made the choice so clear.
     
    You can use the platform of the internet to build a slick persona, garner your 15 minutes of fame, and make a quick buck. Or you can use it to be yourself, build relationships, and leave a legacy. It’s not just about finding lots of people, it’s about finding the right people.

    • @ChrisQuick Wow, Chris. Thank you for all your kind words. I can honestly say that words like yours are what give me the courage to speak up when someone steps in it. I’m delighted you found your way here!

    • @ChrisQuick It’s funny you said this because I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It’s interesting to see how markedly different the responses were from Marie and Derek. While we all make mistakes, Derek seems to be much too defensive and crabby about the whole event. Marie, on the other hand, took the high road, stated her case, and actually left me feeling BETTER about her position in the situation.

  6. It seems from the extraordinary response you’e got to this post Ilana, that what you, this community and the wider online community is calling for is an end to all aspects of business behaviour online that seeks only to line a bank balance and not to serve.   
     
    For too long, the internet ‘famous’ have been causing harm to those who follow them and who believe, perhaps born out of desperation, that what is on offer will change their businesses and ipso facto their lives.  It won’t and it doesn’t.  
     
    Nothing that doesn’t require first and foremost clarity of purpose, then good old fashioned market research, planning and the right tools to provide the vehicle for communication, connection and community building will work to build an abundant business.  
     
    Those who tell us differently, lie.  And it’s time to stop.  At best, practises that sell easy solutions to making money or passive income are investing false hope in the majority of their subscribers.  At worst, there are those I’ve come across whose practises are borderline criminal.  
     
    it would seem that the fuller intention of your post was overtaken by the discussion on contracting and employment which I cannot comment on as I don’t live in the USA, andI don’t know the people concerned so my comments above can’t relate to them.  
     
    However, I felt your bigger call was to step up.  Change the rules.  Play a different game.  To that I would add build community and make a difference.  There is just SO much more to life then Disney land and living in a mansion.  In the end how much money can any one person spend for Lord’s sake.  
     
    What if they used it to do something awesome?

    • @SandyMc Thank you, Sandy. Your sentiments really captured my intentions here. There are so many things we can all do to be of service to our audience more fully. Thank you for highlighting that, rather than the controversy stirred here.

  7. It seems from the extraordinary response you’e got to this post Ilana, that what you, this community and the wider online community is calling for is an end to all aspects of business behaviour online that seeks only to line a bank balance and not to serve.   
     
    For too long, the internet ‘famous’ have been causing harm to those who follow them and who believe, perhaps born out of desperation, that what is on offer will change their businesses and ipso facto their lives.  It won’t and it doesn’t.  
     
    Nothing that doesn’t require first and foremost clarity of purpose, then good old fashioned market research, planning and the right tools to provide the vehicle for communication, connection and community building will work to build an abundant business.  
     
    Those who tell us differently, lie.  And it’s time to stop.  At best, practises that sell easy solutions to making money or passive income are investing false hope in the majority of their subscribers.  At worst, there are those I’ve come across whose practises are borderline criminal.  
     
    it would seem that the fuller intention of your post was overtaken by the discussion on contracting and employment which I cannot comment on as I don’t live in the USA, andI don’t know the people concerned so my comments above can’t relate to them.  
     
    However, I felt your bigger call was to step up.  Change the rules.  Play a different game.  To that I would add build community and make a difference.  There is just SO much more to life then Disney land and living in a mansion.  In the end how much money can any one person spend for Lord’s sake.  
     
    What if they used it to do something awesome?

    • @SandyMc Thank you, Sandy. Your sentiments really captured my intentions here. There are so many things we can all do to be of service to our audience more fully. Thank you for highlighting that, rather than the controversy stirred here.

  8. To @MarieForleo and @DerekHalpern –
     
    I’d like to remind you both that I AM YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMER. I read Marie’s job post in my inbox, because I am a subscriber.
     
    I sit firmly in both of your target markets.
     
    I wrote what I did because I was appalled by your tone and by what you were asking of people, and I obviously wasn’t alone.
     
    If you both care as much as you say you do about your audience and your clients, and how we feel, why am I [and the rest of the people here who clearly felt the same way I did] not being apologized to for your blatant disregard for the legality of your job posts and the implications thereof?
     
    From just the volume and passion of the responses here, doesn’t it seem clear that legality issues aside, your audience took significant offense to what was included?
     
    Why, instead, am I being condescended to and belittled? How could you focus so heavily on defending your position, rather than addressing the fact that you both made a huge error and passed it on to your audience as acceptable behavior – making no effort whatsoever to publicly correct your mistake? Why, in your lengthy responses, did you not address any of the other concerns and comments made as a result of my post?
     
    Where are the apologies for YOUR behavior?

    • @illanaBurk    
       
      I’d like to make a comment on this from a neutral perspective and hopefully you can tell me if you see it too.
       
      Let’s take out the fact you might have wrote this for the traffic. It’s not what I would have done, but I’m no angel so I can’t say anything.
       
      ************************************************
       
      The first thing I seen when I read this post was the fact someone was upset that 2 people wanted to hire people, that would be paid, to do work for them. It seems you think Derek and Maria should be hiring someone and helping them build the employees business. That’s what you sound angry about.
       
      You’ve said that you wrote it because you were angry they wanted to hire full-time contractors. Did you? Who knows, but may I suggest you also write a post about the millions of people who can’t afford to hire western staff and end up paying third-world employees $2 per hour.
       
      As for the people that commented in here and from what I seen on that blog carnival link, it seems people got rejected by X-factor and decided they want to be Internet famous instead and their comments smell a little like jealousy. That’s only only answer since people should realize you don’t have to be well known to make money from your website.
       
      I honestly don’t know why all this has come about because of one wrong word. I actually thought Maria’s post was well-written and didn’t leave you with a leg to stand on except for going for her one mistake.

      • @Jamie Alexander  @illanaBurk I’ll let Ilana speak for herself but the first sentence in your 3rd paragraph is inaccurate. That’s not at all what the problem was – and Ilana was far from the first to be taken aback by it. She was, however, the first to speak out about it. Your next paragraph after that also tends to suggest to me that you didn’t really comprehend the issue here. Correct me if I’m wrong, Ilana, but I didn’t take *any* part of your post as a screed against the contractor relationship, but rather against *calling* it a contractor relationship while essentially demanding the much more loaded employee relationship.

        • @PJProductivity  @illanaBurk That’s just my immediate assumption, maybe because I didn’t feel as offended by either of the emails. At the very least it could be a slight over reaction on some peoples part.
           
          These kind of things teach everyone a valuable lesson, because it lets us know we much choose what we say very carefully or someone might pick us up wrong. I’m more talking about teaching people something, rather than writing job offers lol

      • @Jamie Alexander Thanks for your comment, Jamie. For clarity’s sake, this post had absolutely nothing to do with me having a problem with them wanting to hire people. Your comment about that was literally the only one that saw it that way, but I welcome your perspective – I only ask that you consider the views of others and the possibility that you missed the point.
         
        It’s about significantly more than one word. It’s about taking responsibility for your place in the market and the implications of making a mistake like this. If you would like to read more about the legal issues at play here, check out the IRS website:
        http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Behavioral-Control. They crossed the line on significantly more than “just one word”.

        • @illanaBurk Thanks, Illana,
           
          Like I said, that’s what jumped out at me as a first impression.
           
          I don’t know if coming from the UK makes any difference, because as far as I’m aware it’s normal for people to get a temporary contract for 3 months before getting the job. They also have to work at set hours and can be released at any time.
           
          I’ll just take your word for it that someone with a deeper understanding of law might have been offended.
           
          I did actually get Derek’s email. To the entrepreneur I know why it sounded horrible, but I just figured it’s his business and he gets to make the rules. That’s why I can’t understand why people got so offended by it.

        • @Jamie Alexander It is quite different here, Jamie. A long time ago, I worked for an Amsterdam-based company that did the same thing – and were sued by the Internal Revenue Service for dodging employment taxes.
           
          Since we, in the US, don’t have state services that provide medical benefits, etc… (as you do in the UK), the burden is on the employer – otherwise everyone would just hire contractors to avoid the costs of providing such benefits. It is perfectly legal (and very common) to instill a trial period (usually 30-90 days), where an employee can be dismissed easily if it’s not a good fit. The key is that the person must be an actual employee.
           
          I’m really glad you spoke up, as it did indeed highlight that I need to consider a more global viewpoint when writing something like this.
           
          I will request, though, that in the future you refrain from insulting my readers. They are just as entitled to their opinions as you are. I have every confidence that you are intelligent enough to criticize without belittling.

      • @Jamie Alexander  @illanaBurk Jamie, if you think that people either agree with everything that A-listers do/say (actually, did you just call them X-Factor offsprings?) or otherwise,they are a sad jealous frustrated plasma with no face or intelligence, then I’d like to welcome you here, where people have opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them. You might enjoy getting to know us.

        • @MartaSpendowska  @illanaBurk TBH I read what anyone says and if it sounds intelligent I read more carefully. I then test out what they say and see if it works. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a popular blogger or not.
           
          I really don’t make the distinction and I hate the term A-lister, which is why I jump to the wrong conclusions whenever I see anyone argue about what they say.
           
          I’d like to think people would maybe do the same. Test out what someone says and make your mind up whether to follow them, but don’t put anyone on a pedestal.
           
          But obviously it’s something people like to talk about.

        • @Jamie Alexander  @MartaSpendowska NOW we’re getting somewhere. That was so much more the thesis of the piece. I want people to think about who they follow and why. Question them. Question their motives. Question their tactics. Do some homework [clearly Derek and I differ on how this is defined], and figure out if their message is right for you – and don’t assume that just because someone successful does something, doesn’t make it legit.

  9. To @MarieForleo and @DerekHalpern –
     
    I’d like to remind you both that I AM YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMER. I read Marie’s job post in my inbox, because I am a subscriber.
     
    I sit firmly in both of your target markets.
     
    I wrote what I did because I was appalled by your tone and by what you were asking of people, and I obviously wasn’t alone.
     
    If you both care as much as you say you do about your audience and your clients, and how we feel, why am I [and the rest of the people here who clearly felt the same way I did] not being apologized to for your blatant disregard for the legality of your job posts and the implications thereof?
     
    From just the volume and passion of the responses here, doesn’t it seem clear that legality issues aside, your audience took significant offense to what was included?
     
    Why, instead, am I being condescended to and belittled? How could you focus so heavily on defending your position, rather than addressing the fact that you both made a huge error and passed it on to your audience as acceptable behavior – making no effort whatsoever to publicly correct your mistake? Why, in your lengthy responses, did you not address any of the other concerns and comments made as a result of my post?
     
    Where are the apologies for YOUR behavior?

    • @illanaBurk    
       
      I’d like to make a comment on this from a neutral perspective and hopefully you can tell me if you see it too.
       
      Let’s take out the fact you might have wrote this for the traffic. It’s not what I would have done, but I’m no angel so I can’t say anything.
       
      ************************************************
       
      The first thing I seen when I read this post was the fact someone was upset that 2 people wanted to hire people, that would be paid, to do work for them. It seems you think Derek and Maria should be hiring someone and helping them build the employees business. That’s what you sound angry about.
       
      You’ve said that you wrote it because you were angry they wanted to hire full-time contractors. Did you? Who knows, but may I suggest you also write a post about the millions of people who can’t afford to hire western staff and end up paying third-world employees $2 per hour.
       
      As for the people that commented in here and from what I seen on that blog carnival link, it seems people got rejected by X-factor and decided they want to be Internet famous instead and their comments smell a little like jealousy. That’s only only answer since people should realize you don’t have to be well known to make money from your website.
       
      I honestly don’t know why all this has come about because of one wrong word. I actually thought Maria’s post was well-written and didn’t leave you with a leg to stand on except for going for her one mistake.

      • @Jamie Alexander  @illanaBurk I’ll let Ilana speak for herself but the first sentence in your 3rd paragraph is inaccurate. That’s not at all what the problem was – and Ilana was far from the first to be taken aback by it. She was, however, the first to speak out about it. Your next paragraph after that also tends to suggest to me that you didn’t really comprehend the issue here. Correct me if I’m wrong, Ilana, but I didn’t take *any* part of your post as a screed against the contractor relationship, but rather against *calling* it a contractor relationship while essentially demanding the much more loaded employee relationship.

        • @PJProductivity  @illanaBurk That’s just my immediate assumption, maybe because I didn’t feel as offended by either of the emails. At the very least it could be a slight over reaction on some peoples part.
           
          These kind of things teach everyone a valuable lesson, because it lets us know we much choose what we say very carefully or someone might pick us up wrong. I’m more talking about teaching people something, rather than writing job offers lol

      • @Jamie Alexander Thanks for your comment, Jamie. For clarity’s sake, this post had absolutely nothing to do with me having a problem with them wanting to hire people. Your comment about that was literally the only one that saw it that way, but I welcome your perspective – I only ask that you consider the views of others and the possibility that you missed the point.
         
        It’s about significantly more than one word. It’s about taking responsibility for your place in the market and the implications of making a mistake like this. If you would like to read more about the legal issues at play here, check out the IRS website:
        http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Behavioral-Control. They crossed the line on significantly more than “just one word”.

        • @illanaBurk Thanks, Illana,
           
          Like I said, that’s what jumped out at me as a first impression.
           
          I don’t know if coming from the UK makes any difference, because as far as I’m aware it’s normal for people to get a temporary contract for 3 months before getting the job. They also have to work at set hours and can be released at any time.
           
          I’ll just take your word for it that someone with a deeper understanding of law might have been offended.
           
          I did actually get Derek’s email. To the entrepreneur I know why it sounded horrible, but I just figured it’s his business and he gets to make the rules. That’s why I can’t understand why people got so offended by it.

        • @Jamie Alexander It is quite different here, Jamie. A long time ago, I worked for an Amsterdam-based company that did the same thing – and were sued by the Internal Revenue Service for dodging employment taxes.
           
          Since we, in the US, don’t have state services that provide medical benefits, etc… (as you do in the UK), the burden is on the employer – otherwise everyone would just hire contractors to avoid the costs of providing such benefits. It is perfectly legal (and very common) to instill a trial period (usually 30-90 days), where an employee can be dismissed easily if it’s not a good fit. The key is that the person must be an actual employee.
           
          I’m really glad you spoke up, as it did indeed highlight that I need to consider a more global viewpoint when writing something like this.
           
          I will request, though, that in the future you refrain from insulting my readers. They are just as entitled to their opinions as you are. I have every confidence that you are intelligent enough to criticize without belittling.

      • @Jamie Alexander  @illanaBurk Jamie, if you think that people either agree with everything that A-listers do/say (actually, did you just call them X-Factor offsprings?) or otherwise,they are a sad jealous frustrated plasma with no face or intelligence, then I’d like to welcome you here, where people have opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them. You might enjoy getting to know us.

        • @MartaSpendowska  @illanaBurk TBH I read what anyone says and if it sounds intelligent I read more carefully. I then test out what they say and see if it works. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a popular blogger or not.
           
          I really don’t make the distinction and I hate the term A-lister, which is why I jump to the wrong conclusions whenever I see anyone argue about what they say.
           
          I’d like to think people would maybe do the same. Test out what someone says and make your mind up whether to follow them, but don’t put anyone on a pedestal.
           
          But obviously it’s something people like to talk about.

        • @Jamie Alexander  @MartaSpendowska NOW we’re getting somewhere. That was so much more the thesis of the piece. I want people to think about who they follow and why. Question them. Question their motives. Question their tactics. Do some homework [clearly Derek and I differ on how this is defined], and figure out if their message is right for you – and don’t assume that just because someone successful does something, doesn’t make it legit.

  10. Illana, Derek has voiced a lot of what’s incorrect in your post, so there’s no need for me to rehash every point.
     
    But since you’ve attacked me personally, you’ve attacked my company, and you’ve attacked my people… and you know nothing about me or about how we actually run things, I do feel the need to respond.
     
    I admit my mistake of using the wrong language in my email regarding full time contract worker. Our intent when working with anyone new is to ensure that we’re both a good fit before committing long term – which we move to very quickly, with a FULL benefits (as you’ll see below.)  
     
    You made a lot of assumptions, and you know nothing about how deeply I care for and respect my company, my partners, my customers and most importantly, my team. It’s offensive that you assume I want to exploit anyone. My company is built on transparency, honesty, trust and always doing the right thing.  
     
    The main reason I’m responding here is not for myself, but rather for the incredibly brilliant and dedicated people I work with. They are like family to me and I will not stand by and have you paint them as worshipful suckers – or, as you put it, people who would “be willing to set [their own business] aside for regular income at the feet of their idol.” You make them sound like idiots doing “bitch work” to use your words. We all work incredibly hard and in my company, no one does “bitch work.”
     
    But you using those words tells me a lot about how you view the crucial, everyday tasks that make a business run. Everyone in my company, including myself, approaches these tasks with dedication and passion. I also know that my list is not 100% entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. The reason I know that is because we care about our list. We interact with them. We meet them in person. We hear from them on a daily basis.
     
    We have professionals, college students and yes, people who are actively looking for full-time positions within an entrepreneurial company.   All of the people on our list also have friends, brothers, sisters, parents, etc. who also may be looking for employment, who have absolutely no desire to start their own business and would love to be a part of a caring company, with a mission to serve, a track record for success and yes, that has FULL benefits.
     
    My core team consists of full time employees with generous benefits – full health care, paid vacations, bonuses, “free inspiration days”, trips, technology perks, 401K with matching benefits, and an incredibly dynamic, supportive, and loving work environment. My employees are paid very well and more importantly, they all know they’re a part of a company that actually cares about them, their family and their future.
     
    You also said this- “In addition, the language and tone presented […because of the volume of responses, we won’t be able to respond to everyone….] was designed to make applicants feel lucky if they so much as get an email back – an easy way to get out of common courtesy and respectful communication.”
     
    Once again, this is offensive as well as incorrect. Last time we looked for and successfully hired a full-time employee, we received hundreds of responses. We replied to all of them. The reason we wrote that is because we couldn’t have predicted the volume and we did not want anyone to feel overlooked or left hanging.
     
    That line is not about making people feel “lucky” – it’s about being realistic and managing expectations. It’s called being honest. If you want to talk about feeling “lucky” – I feel incredibly lucky to have the team I have.  I value their talents, their hard work and who they are as human beings.
     
    In this post, you also say this – “I want my business to fuel and inspire the creative work of others.” If you really want that, and you want to be “fulfilled, impactful and healthy” – I’d suggest focusing on more truth than lies, inspiration over hate, and positivity vs. negativity. Focus on uplifting people rather than tearing others down.
     
    I will not respond to anything further on this blog, but if anyone reading or commenting here has any questions about how we run our company, please write to: info at marieforleo dot com. My brillant team and I are here to serve you and tell you the truth.

  11. Illana, Derek has voiced a lot of what’s incorrect in your post, so there’s no need for me to rehash every point.
     
    But since you’ve attacked me personally, you’ve attacked my company, and you’ve attacked my people… and you know nothing about me or about how we actually run things, I do feel the need to respond.
     
    I admit my mistake of using the wrong language in my email regarding full time contract worker. Our intent when working with anyone new is to ensure that we’re both a good fit before committing long term – which we move to very quickly, with a FULL benefits (as you’ll see below.)  
     
    You made a lot of assumptions, and you know nothing about how deeply I care for and respect my company, my partners, my customers and most importantly, my team. It’s offensive that you assume I want to exploit anyone. My company is built on transparency, honesty, trust and always doing the right thing.  
     
    The main reason I’m responding here is not for myself, but rather for the incredibly brilliant and dedicated people I work with. They are like family to me and I will not stand by and have you paint them as worshipful suckers – or, as you put it, people who would “be willing to set [their own business] aside for regular income at the feet of their idol.” You make them sound like idiots doing “bitch work” to use your words. We all work incredibly hard and in my company, no one does “bitch work.”
     
    But you using those words tells me a lot about how you view the crucial, everyday tasks that make a business run. Everyone in my company, including myself, approaches these tasks with dedication and passion. I also know that my list is not 100% entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. The reason I know that is because we care about our list. We interact with them. We meet them in person. We hear from them on a daily basis.
     
    We have professionals, college students and yes, people who are actively looking for full-time positions within an entrepreneurial company.   All of the people on our list also have friends, brothers, sisters, parents, etc. who also may be looking for employment, who have absolutely no desire to start their own business and would love to be a part of a caring company, with a mission to serve, a track record for success and yes, that has FULL benefits.
     
    My core team consists of full time employees with generous benefits – full health care, paid vacations, bonuses, “free inspiration days”, trips, technology perks, 401K with matching benefits, and an incredibly dynamic, supportive, and loving work environment. My employees are paid very well and more importantly, they all know they’re a part of a company that actually cares about them, their family and their future.
     
    You also said this- “In addition, the language and tone presented […because of the volume of responses, we won’t be able to respond to everyone….] was designed to make applicants feel lucky if they so much as get an email back – an easy way to get out of common courtesy and respectful communication.”
     
    Once again, this is offensive as well as incorrect. Last time we looked for and successfully hired a full-time employee, we received hundreds of responses. We replied to all of them. The reason we wrote that is because we couldn’t have predicted the volume and we did not want anyone to feel overlooked or left hanging.
     
    That line is not about making people feel “lucky” – it’s about being realistic and managing expectations. It’s called being honest. If you want to talk about feeling “lucky” – I feel incredibly lucky to have the team I have.  I value their talents, their hard work and who they are as human beings.
     
    In this post, you also say this – “I want my business to fuel and inspire the creative work of others.” If you really want that, and you want to be “fulfilled, impactful and healthy” – I’d suggest focusing on more truth than lies, inspiration over hate, and positivity vs. negativity. Focus on uplifting people rather than tearing others down.
     
    I will not respond to anything further on this blog, but if anyone reading or commenting here has any questions about how we run our company, please write to: info at marieforleo dot com. My brillant team and I are here to serve you and tell you the truth.

  12. I think nearly every business owner in the world employs people to do their dirty work.
     
    Isn’t that how business works?
     
    I agree they were naughty naughty people for not contacting their lawyer, accountant and butcher before posting a job offer.

  13. I think nearly every business owner in the world employs people to do their dirty work.
     
    Isn’t that how business works?
     
    I agree they were naughty naughty people for not contacting their lawyer, accountant and butcher before posting a job offer.

  14. As you’ll see in my comment above, when I posted this position, I had full intentions of making this person full time after a 3-month contract. The reason why I wanted a 3-month contract first was simply because I wanted to see if the person was a good fit. ON the surface this sounded like a good business decision, but that was before I contacted my lawyer and accountant.
     
    (I actually reached out to them because someone emailed me about this full time employee  / contractor ordeal. It had nothing to do with Ilana’s post. This email came in about 5 seconds after I posted my job posting, and I had it fixed ASAP. I didn’t change the application because it didn’t matter. But I did tell everyone who made the final cut that this was no longer a contract position… but instead a full-time employee position. Needless to say they were happy).
     
    People are human beings and they make mistakes. Ilana assumes the worst in people, and that speaks more of her character than of my character. I made a mistake, and I admitted it in my comment (if she approves it). Now I’d like to see her admit hers.
     
    P.S. If this was truly about ethics, she’d know that it’s ethical to contact the person you’re writing a hit piece on. That’s how it works in the world of journalism. She didn’t do that. It appears she’s only ethical when it’s convenient.

    • @Derek Halpern I can’t help myself so I need to respond, even thought I feel it became Illana vs Derek game. If Illana assumes the worst in people and you don’t, Derek, why are you repeating this : ” (if she approves it)” or saying that all she was after was a traffic spike? I mean, we’re not children, we talk openly here, so why are you assuming she hides stuff ? Do you hide … stuff?The amount of comments (and only the ones that appeared here) is a testimony to Illana’s post. Maybe it’s valuable for you. Maybe not. Maybe it just pissed you off. Seems like. There are in-between lines opinions in those comments as well, might be valuable. Or not.

    • @Derek Halpern you’re blowing right past a deeper issue here that Illana’s getting at, thus the title of the post.
       
      I personally HAVE reached out to internet guru type persons that ARE doing the wrong thing from a legal perspective (copyright infringement being a BIG one I’ve seen). If I can even GET through their layers of gatekeepers, the response (if any) is a blowoff. There’s a lot of drama involved in calling people out (especially in the IM world), but my experience has been that until someone’s called out, they keep doing whatever they’ve been doing – and rarely, if ever, reply to someone who isn’t part of their inner circle.
       
      I appreciate that you and Marie may have made a mistake in posting this the way you did, but let’s be fair here. You teach people how to build their businesses. Due diligence is as much your responsibility as it is ours. Things like this get passed around because someone’s passed it off as a “best practice”, and told other people to do what they’ve done. I’ve worked on the inside of several IM enterprises to know it’s not just you and Marie posting an ad like this. Too many people aren’t doing their homework in a rush to “get stuff out there” in this industry. Sadly, you and Marie become the fall guys in this instance, but there are any number of other “names” that could have been dropped in this instance.
       
      My concern is the blatant “borrowing” that the entire industry does, and how it actually puts a big ol’ black eye on anyone using the internet to market their business. Like network marketing, people see an IM person coming and they either hit you up for a JV or run screaming for the hills. That’s at least part of what we’re witnessing here on this post.
       
      In the final analysis, we ALL have to take responsibility for building our businesses ethically. The challenge is that “ethics” isn’t the black and white arena it once was (or should be). Everyone can interpret someone’s motives differently – especially when those perceived motives might conflict with our own. Snark, indignation, and other negative behaviors only further illustrate what it means to be an asshole in the first place.

  15. If this was a “real” exposee, in the journalism code of ethics, you’re supposed to contact the person you’re writing an article on. Ilana didn’t do that. It appears she’s only ethical when it’s convenient. 
     
    That said, as I said in my comment above, this was an honest mistake. I did not contact a lawyer or an accountant before posting my job posting, and I should have. 
     
    That’s why I’m proud to say my new executive assistant is actually a full-time employee and not a contractor. And they’re getting paid above industry standard for their level of experience (and significantly more than what their last job was paying them). That’s what I call a win-win.
     
    Additionally, there’s a lot of people here who mistakenly assume that the people who read my site want to be entrepreneurs. That’s simply untrue. I’ve got entrepreneurs, freelancers, assistants, marketing directors, marketing consultants, college students, and peopel who just want to learn about psychology.
     
    I actually asked some of my subscribers if they wanted to start their own thing… or work for someone else… and a surprisingly number of people were happy with the latter. Those were the people I was looking for for my position. I didn’t want people who were trying to start their own thing simply because I’m hiring someone for the long term… not someone who’s going to join me and quit in 6 months.
     
    If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up.

  16. As you’ll see in the comment I posted above (if Ilana approves it), I made the mistake of not contacting a lawyer or accountant before posting my job posting. That’s why I’m proud to say my new executive assistant is actually a full-time employee… not a contractor. This had nothing to do with Ilana’s post though (she made no effort to share this article with me. Instead she wrote a blog post with hopes of getting some traffic).  The reason why I changed it was because after I sent an email out about the job posting, someone emailed me back within a few minutes, and I had it fixed ASAP. I didn’t change the description because it didn’t matter. However, I did alert all the applicants who made the final cut that this was no longer a contract position… but instead a full-time employee position :-).

  17. Hi Ilana,
     
    It’s nice to meet you, and I’d like to share these 8 things with you… and everyone else in the comment section: 
     
    1. When I posted my job posting, I made the mistake of NOT contacting my lawyer or accountant. A mistake I’ll never make again :-). 
     
    2. When I made the position a contract position, I wasn’t being devious. I wanted to hire them as a contract worker for a 3-month contract, and if they worked out, I had full intentions on offering them full-time employee status. As a new employer, I wanted to start with the 3-month contract simply because I wanted to make sure the person I hired was a good fit. On the surface, this sounded like a prudent business decision. After talking to both my lawyer and accountant, I realized… maybe not so much. :-)
     
    3. It turns out that the person I did end up offering the position too did not need the 3-month contract. I was aware of their work, and felt 100% comfortable offering them a full-time employee position… without a 3-month contract. 
     
    I’m also proud to say that I happily pay my new executive assistant above the industry standard. I’d disclose what that is, but that wouldn’t be fair to disclose the salary of my new employee. (For the record, I shared this article with them, and if they feel the need to comment, I’ll let them respond to me and share it with all of you). 
     
    4. A few people in the comment section mistakenly assumed that everyone who reads Social Triggers WANTS to start their own thing. That’s simply not true. I’ve got the data. A lot of people on my list are entrepreneurs, yes, but some are college students. Others are executive assistants who keep abreast of marketing related stuff for their marketing director boss. Others are marketing directors and marketing consultants. Others are full-time freelance workers. And other people just want to learn about psychology of why humans do the things that they do. That’s what happens when you have more than 70,000 subscribers.
     
    5. In the interest of honesty, and disclosure, let’s call a spade a spade. You did this for traffic and engagement. And NO WHERE did you admit that (not even in your behind the scenes post). Now you may say you didn’t do it for traffic or engagement, but why did you share this article on Twitter with your followers 5 times? Why would you beckon people on your Facebook page to come leave a comment? You knew what you wanted, and your actions don’t match up with your words. 
     
    6. If this really was a discussion about ethics and legality, it’s your job to contact the people you think are “infringing.” Instead you assumed malicious intent, which speaks more of your character than of my character. (After reading through some of your other blog posts, it seems you do like to say controversial things quite frequently)
     
    P.S. The ethics of journalism suggest that you should always reach out to the person you’re writing a hit piece on to give them an opportunity to respond. In the world of journalism, it’s considered unethical to NOT reach out. Funny that someone who’s so high on ethics isn’t high on ethics… all of the time… only when it’s convenient.
     
    7. If you really cared about the people, why wouldn’t you contact us? You said it was about the people. The people who were applying for the position. Instead of letting someone like me either explain myself… or make it right (FOR THE PEOPLE)… you opted to write a blog post… and you didn’t even make the effort to shoot me an email about the blog post. You cared enough to air your thoughts, but you didn’t care enough to contact the other parties involved? That’s irresponsible at best. And just plain stupid at worst :-D.
     
    To that, I ask why? When I posted my job posting, I made an honest mistake, and quickly rectified it. Not because of your blog post, but because other people shot me an email. Believe it or not, I’m human. At my core, I’m a marketing guy. I’m also a business model and product guy. I can show businesses how to get more leads… make more money… and explain why people do the things that they do… but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert at business law or tax code. And as I said earlier, I made the mistake of NOT talking to a lawyer or an accountant, but that will never happen again :-).
     
    (One more thing, I’m not against you writing this blog post. I’m happy that you did, actually. And I invite everyone to write similar blog posts when I make a mistake. Seriously. Critique everything I do… always. Write a blog post about it. Just do me a favor and shoot me an email with a link :-D)
     
    8. I fully expect you to write a follow-up with an apology for assuming the worst in people. You might think your blog post “changed” things for the better, but the fact of the matter is, someone emailed me like 5 seconds after my email went out, and funnily enough, I had this fixed within 24 hours. I didn’t change it on the application because it didn’t matter, but I did let the people who applied for my position… the people who ended up making the final cut… know about the fact that this was no longer a contract position, but instead a full-time employee position. I did the right thing. You, instead, propped yourself up on a soap box and flailed your arms to anyone who would listen to you. 
     
    Do I think you’ll actually apologize? Probably not. I’m 100% okay with admitting my mistakes, but I’m not sure if you are. So the ball is in your court.

    • @Derek Halpern
      Hey Derek! Welcome. It’s nice to meet you as well. Thank you for joining in. I am quite happy you did.
       
      I’d like to respond to each of your points:
       
      1. I’m delighted to hear that.
       
      2. I never said you were being devious. Irresponsible, yes. But I never said devious. I’m glad your lawyer and accountant were able to help you rectify the situation – though I still wonder why they were your last call, instead of your first. Hiring is complicated and has a shit-load of laws to follow – and someone in your position should have seen that.
       
      3. My intent was never to impede your ability to hire, only to raise a flag that it was being done improperly.
       
      4. I am certain that’s true. And on this point I will absolutely apologize. You were heavily lumped in with Marie in both posts and her audience and message is significantly different from yours. I could have made that clearer than I did.
       
      5. My motivation was made clear on the page. I wanted people to hear me because the issue was important. Is 5 times in 12 days a lot? If you have another strategy for promoting work you’re proud of, I am all ears. I didn’t actually think I needed to admit anything. Don’t we ALL write blogs to get people to hear our ideas and participate in the conversation? Why would you make the two words I hear you talk about most sound so dirty and underhanded? My blog is my soapbox. I promote it to get heard. If traffic and engagement is defined as butts in the seats who are paying attention and participating, then hell yes I promoted it for that.
       
      6. That’s not actually my job. My “job” as a writer is to write. I am not a journalist. I never said I was. I wrote an opinion piece about factual, provable behaviors in people that hold themselves up as experts. It was not my responsibility to bring you in and ask you for a quote. The post wasn’t about what was going through your head, nor was it about giving you a platform to defend your actions [that’s what THIS section is for]. And yes, I see a lot out there that needs to change, and I write about it. My question is, why don’t you?
       
      P.S. Again, I’m not a journalist. I don’t owe you space on my forum. If I wrote a post about the prevalent illegality in the hiring practices of online business people for the NY Times and called you out there, then yes… I owe you a chance to respond.
       
      7. If you feel the need to call me stupid and irresponsible, that is absolutely your right as an opinion writer. I’m curious though, if the ‘responsible’ thing to do was to contact you with this, then why didn’t you email me privately with your response?
       
      8. My arm-flailing notwithstanding, why would fixing the job post not matter? I would bet your attorney would tell you that it matters [Maybe you just didn’t ask that question? Honest mistake again?]. You were advertising doing something illegal. Why on earth would you not change that?  Have you at least let your 70,000 subscribers know that you have rectified the situation?
       
      Why would you assume that I’m unable to admit my mistakes? Had you included any actual proof in your response that I had made a mistake, or even that you had indeed rectified the situation [like an updated job post, or a letter from your attorney, or your accountant, or your new employee], I would be more than happy to apologize and admit that I jumped the gun where you’re concerned.
       
      As it stands, I have only your actions and what you expressed in your comment here, nothing more. Why would I admit mistakes and apologize based on this alone?

      • @illanaBurk 1. To clarify, nothing I did was illegal. On my job posting, here’s exactly what I said: “This position will start as a part-time contractor position at first, with the intention of moving to full-time position as early as January 2013.” You can see the original job posting right here: http://socialtriggers.com/hiring-ea/.
         
        So your comment about “you were advertising doing something illegal,” is a straight-up lie. The only thing I changed was the wording where I said “part time contractor, with intention of moving to full-time contractor.” I was told that there’s no such thing as a full-time contractor, and quickly changed it to a full-time position instead. This happened shortly after the job posting went live, at which point, I probably had less than 10 applications. 
         
        Given that, there was no reason to email again, and the parties involved… the people who I ended up talking to about the final cut… were notified of the changes… before I continued. The changes being that I wasn’t going to go ahead with a part-time contractor position, but instead looking for a full-time employee. 
         
        2. With regards to your response about not being a journalist, I’ll just use your words. You said ” Hiring is complicated and has a shit-load of laws to follow – and someone in your position should have seen that.”
         
        I’ll twist that back on you. Naming names is complicated, and has a shit-load of laws to follow – and someone in your position should have known that. 
         
        You’re not a journalist… and I’m not a lawyer (or an accountant). It seems we’ve made the same mistake.
         
        But if you were TRULY trying to make a solid point about “not being an asshole” then you shouldn’t be an asshole. :-)
         
        3. Oh, and I would have emailed you privately, but there’s no email anywhere on your site. Your contact page has no contact form. I now see that on the “more about ilana” there’s an email, but I didn’t see that at first.
         
        P.S. One more thing. Explain to me why alerting 70,000 people, 69,800 of which had no interest in applying for my position, should be bothered with an update about a position they didn’t apply for? That makes ZERO sense. I alert the specific parties that were interested, and that’s enough. 
         
        P.P.S. I know there’s no changing your mind. You got what you wanted, and you’ll use that as justification for a job well done.

        • @Derek Halpern
          1. Yeah, actually you did. [From your post, in the section about how this job is not for you if…]: “You are not available between 10am and 6pm, Monday through Friday.” This in and of itself [in the context of being a contract position] is enough to make an attorney cringe, as is evident from the responses of several experts [including at least one attorney] who commented here. So no, actually, my point was not a lie. You were in the wrong [as you admitted], what you advertised WAS illegal – and you continued to advertise it even after your attorney alerted you of your mistake. If you only had ten applicants when you realized you were in the wrong, why not at least re-word the post so new visitors saw the accurate and legal version? I’m still confused as to why that wouldn’t matter – as you stated repeatedly.
           
          2. I’m really not sure how to respond to the statements you made here. I’m going to let readers make their own determination on whether your argument holds water.
           
          3. Actually, my email address is featured quite prominently on my contact page. It’s the very first line in the sidebar.
           
          P.S. – Transparency. That’s why.

        • @illanaBurk Ilana, you’re still wrong. That comment has NOTHING to do with me setting hours that they work. They could work on the stuff WHENEVER they wanted. The reason why I had that was because on the off chance that we needed to have a meeting about their work, I only hold meetings during that time frame. So, I included that phrase to weed out people who could never be available during those times. Again, not because I wanted to set their hours… but because on the offshot that we had a meeting to discuss deliverables (which is 100% okay as per my accountant).
           
          And what you failed to read in my response is that I did reword the part that was wrong. I had “Full time contractor” and changed it to “full time position.” So I did change it on the job posting itself, but I didn’t email my list again.
           
          We can wait for your readers to respond, I’ve said my peace :-).
           
          I hope you enjoyed the traffic spike, and the extra comments. I know running a blog that gets low engagement can be disheartening, so I’m sure you’re reveling in your first blog post that cracked 50 comments.

        • @Derek Halpern  @illanaBurk 
           
          Derek, 
          Why this much sarcasm ? Is traffic something we should avoid?Why not to voice opinions publicly on the platforms like blogs and social media? Aren’t they designed for that? Illana isn’t your PR, she had a point of view and — as you can see — 60+ comments later, people agreed. I’m sure she appreciates you changing the phase about contractors (or not), but the article was based on previous wording and it created the subjective opinion.

        • @Derek Halpern  @illanaBurk Y’know, I wrote a post last weekend as part of the Word Carnival about a few observed behaviors that I thought we could do with a lot less of in the so-called ‘A-list.’ Number two was overreacting to perceived slights. I have to agree with @MartaSpendowska – why was this defensive overreaction necessary? Why couldn’t you just say “Y’know what, you’re right, I messed up, I did what my lawyer said after he set me straight. Thanks for the heads up, though I disagree that ….”?

        • @MartaSpendowska  @Derek Halpern  @illanaBurk Her article was not based on my previous wording. There’s no way she saw the previous wording as that wording was live for 5 minutes and this article was written more than a week later. Please read the full conversation before commenting. Thank you Marta.

  18. Hi Ilana,
     
    It’s nice to meet you, and I’d like to share these 8 things with you… and everyone else in the comment section: 
     
    1. When I posted my job posting, I made the mistake of NOT contacting my lawyer or accountant. A mistake I’ll never make again :-). 
     
    2. When I made the position a contract position, I wasn’t being devious. I wanted to hire them as a contract worker for a 3-month contract, and if they worked out, I had full intentions on offering them full-time employee status. As a new employer, I wanted to start with the 3-month contract simply because I wanted to make sure the person I hired was a good fit. On the surface, this sounded like a prudent business decision. After talking to both my lawyer and accountant, I realized… maybe not so much. :-)
     
    3. It turns out that the person I did end up offering the position too did not need the 3-month contract. I was aware of their work, and felt 100% comfortable offering them a full-time employee position… without a 3-month contract. 
     
    I’m also proud to say that I happily pay my new executive assistant above the industry standard. I’d disclose what that is, but that wouldn’t be fair to disclose the salary of my new employee. (For the record, I shared this article with them, and if they feel the need to comment, I’ll let them respond to me and share it with all of you). 
     
    4. A few people in the comment section mistakenly assumed that everyone who reads Social Triggers WANTS to start their own thing. That’s simply not true. I’ve got the data. A lot of people on my list are entrepreneurs, yes, but some are college students. Others are executive assistants who keep abreast of marketing related stuff for their marketing director boss. Others are marketing directors and marketing consultants. Others are full-time freelance workers. And other people just want to learn about psychology of why humans do the things that they do. That’s what happens when you have more than 70,000 subscribers.
     
    5. In the interest of honesty, and disclosure, let’s call a spade a spade. You did this for traffic and engagement. And NO WHERE did you admit that (not even in your behind the scenes post). Now you may say you didn’t do it for traffic or engagement, but why did you share this article on Twitter with your followers 5 times? Why would you beckon people on your Facebook page to come leave a comment? You knew what you wanted, and your actions don’t match up with your words. 
     
    6. If this really was a discussion about ethics and legality, it’s your job to contact the people you think are “infringing.” Instead you assumed malicious intent, which speaks more of your character than of my character. (After reading through some of your other blog posts, it seems you do like to say controversial things quite frequently)
     
    P.S. The ethics of journalism suggest that you should always reach out to the person you’re writing a hit piece on to give them an opportunity to respond. In the world of journalism, it’s considered unethical to NOT reach out. Funny that someone who’s so high on ethics isn’t high on ethics… all of the time… only when it’s convenient.
     
    7. If you really cared about the people, why wouldn’t you contact us? You said it was about the people. The people who were applying for the position. Instead of letting someone like me either explain myself… or make it right (FOR THE PEOPLE)… you opted to write a blog post… and you didn’t even make the effort to shoot me an email about the blog post. You cared enough to air your thoughts, but you didn’t care enough to contact the other parties involved? That’s irresponsible at best. And just plain stupid at worst :-D.
     
    To that, I ask why? When I posted my job posting, I made an honest mistake, and quickly rectified it. Not because of your blog post, but because other people shot me an email. Believe it or not, I’m human. At my core, I’m a marketing guy. I’m also a business model and product guy. I can show businesses how to get more leads… make more money… and explain why people do the things that they do… but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert at business law or tax code. And as I said earlier, I made the mistake of NOT talking to a lawyer or an accountant, but that will never happen again :-).
     
    (One more thing, I’m not against you writing this blog post. I’m happy that you did, actually. And I invite everyone to write similar blog posts when I make a mistake. Seriously. Critique everything I do… always. Write a blog post about it. Just do me a favor and shoot me an email with a link :-D)
     
    8. I fully expect you to write a follow-up with an apology for assuming the worst in people. You might think your blog post “changed” things for the better, but the fact of the matter is, someone emailed me like 5 seconds after my email went out, and funnily enough, I had this fixed within 24 hours. I didn’t change it on the application because it didn’t matter, but I did let the people who applied for my position… the people who ended up making the final cut… know about the fact that this was no longer a contract position, but instead a full-time employee position. I did the right thing. You, instead, propped yourself up on a soap box and flailed your arms to anyone who would listen to you. 
     
    Do I think you’ll actually apologize? Probably not. I’m 100% okay with admitting my mistakes, but I’m not sure if you are. So the ball is in your court.

    • @Derek Halpern
      Hey Derek! Welcome. It’s nice to meet you as well. Thank you for joining in. I am quite happy you did.
       
      I’d like to respond to each of your points:
       
      1. I’m delighted to hear that.
       
      2. I never said you were being devious. Irresponsible, yes. But I never said devious. I’m glad your lawyer and accountant were able to help you rectify the situation – though I still wonder why they were your last call, instead of your first. Hiring is complicated and has a shit-load of laws to follow – and someone in your position should have seen that.
       
      3. My intent was never to impede your ability to hire, only to raise a flag that it was being done improperly.
       
      4. I am certain that’s true. And on this point I will absolutely apologize. You were heavily lumped in with Marie in both posts and her audience and message is significantly different from yours. I could have made that clearer than I did.
       
      5. My motivation was made clear on the page. I wanted people to hear me because the issue was important. Is 5 times in 12 days a lot? If you have another strategy for promoting work you’re proud of, I am all ears. I didn’t actually think I needed to admit anything. Don’t we ALL write blogs to get people to hear our ideas and participate in the conversation? Why would you make the two words I hear you talk about most sound so dirty and underhanded? My blog is my soapbox. I promote it to get heard. If traffic and engagement is defined as butts in the seats who are paying attention and participating, then hell yes I promoted it for that.
       
      6. That’s not actually my job. My “job” as a writer is to write. I am not a journalist. I never said I was. I wrote an opinion piece about factual, provable behaviors in people that hold themselves up as experts. It was not my responsibility to bring you in and ask you for a quote. The post wasn’t about what was going through your head, nor was it about giving you a platform to defend your actions [that’s what THIS section is for]. And yes, I see a lot out there that needs to change, and I write about it. My question is, why don’t you?
       
      P.S. Again, I’m not a journalist. I don’t owe you space on my forum. If I wrote a post about the prevalent illegality in the hiring practices of online business people for the NY Times and called you out there, then yes… I owe you a chance to respond.
       
      7. If you feel the need to call me stupid and irresponsible, that is absolutely your right as an opinion writer. I’m curious though, if the ‘responsible’ thing to do was to contact you with this, then why didn’t you email me privately with your response?
       
      8. My arm-flailing notwithstanding, why would fixing the job post not matter? I would bet your attorney would tell you that it matters [Maybe you just didn’t ask that question? Honest mistake again?]. You were advertising doing something illegal. Why on earth would you not change that?  Have you at least let your 70,000 subscribers know that you have rectified the situation?
       
      Why would you assume that I’m unable to admit my mistakes? Had you included any actual proof in your response that I had made a mistake, or even that you had indeed rectified the situation [like an updated job post, or a letter from your attorney, or your accountant, or your new employee], I would be more than happy to apologize and admit that I jumped the gun where you’re concerned.
       
      As it stands, I have only your actions and what you expressed in your comment here, nothing more. Why would I admit mistakes and apologize based on this alone?

      • @illanaBurk 1. To clarify, nothing I did was illegal. On my job posting, here’s exactly what I said: “This position will start as a part-time contractor position at first, with the intention of moving to full-time position as early as January 2013.” You can see the original job posting right here: http://socialtriggers.com/hiring-ea/.
         
        So your comment about “you were advertising doing something illegal,” is a straight-up lie. The only thing I changed was the wording where I said “part time contractor, with intention of moving to full-time contractor.” I was told that there’s no such thing as a full-time contractor, and quickly changed it to a full-time position instead. This happened shortly after the job posting went live, at which point, I probably had less than 10 applications. 
         
        Given that, there was no reason to email again, and the parties involved… the people who I ended up talking to about the final cut… were notified of the changes… before I continued. The changes being that I wasn’t going to go ahead with a part-time contractor position, but instead looking for a full-time employee. 
         
        2. With regards to your response about not being a journalist, I’ll just use your words. You said ” Hiring is complicated and has a shit-load of laws to follow – and someone in your position should have seen that.”
         
        I’ll twist that back on you. Naming names is complicated, and has a shit-load of laws to follow – and someone in your position should have known that. 
         
        You’re not a journalist… and I’m not a lawyer (or an accountant). It seems we’ve made the same mistake.
         
        But if you were TRULY trying to make a solid point about “not being an asshole” then you shouldn’t be an asshole. :-)
         
        3. Oh, and I would have emailed you privately, but there’s no email anywhere on your site. Your contact page has no contact form. I now see that on the “more about ilana” there’s an email, but I didn’t see that at first.
         
        P.S. One more thing. Explain to me why alerting 70,000 people, 69,800 of which had no interest in applying for my position, should be bothered with an update about a position they didn’t apply for? That makes ZERO sense. I alert the specific parties that were interested, and that’s enough. 
         
        P.P.S. I know there’s no changing your mind. You got what you wanted, and you’ll use that as justification for a job well done.

        • @Derek Halpern
          1. Yeah, actually you did. [From your post, in the section about how this job is not for you if…]: “You are not available between 10am and 6pm, Monday through Friday.” This in and of itself [in the context of being a contract position] is enough to make an attorney cringe, as is evident from the responses of several experts [including at least one attorney] who commented here. So no, actually, my point was not a lie. You were in the wrong [as you admitted], what you advertised WAS illegal – and you continued to advertise it even after your attorney alerted you of your mistake. If you only had ten applicants when you realized you were in the wrong, why not at least re-word the post so new visitors saw the accurate and legal version? I’m still confused as to why that wouldn’t matter – as you stated repeatedly.
           
          2. I’m really not sure how to respond to the statements you made here. I’m going to let readers make their own determination on whether your argument holds water.
           
          3. Actually, my email address is featured quite prominently on my contact page. It’s the very first line in the sidebar.
           
          P.S. – Transparency. That’s why.

        • @illanaBurk Ilana, you’re still wrong. That comment has NOTHING to do with me setting hours that they work. They could work on the stuff WHENEVER they wanted. The reason why I had that was because on the off chance that we needed to have a meeting about their work, I only hold meetings during that time frame. So, I included that phrase to weed out people who could never be available during those times. Again, not because I wanted to set their hours… but because on the offshot that we had a meeting to discuss deliverables (which is 100% okay as per my accountant).
           
          And what you failed to read in my response is that I did reword the part that was wrong. I had “Full time contractor” and changed it to “full time position.” So I did change it on the job posting itself, but I didn’t email my list again.
           
          We can wait for your readers to respond, I’ve said my peace :-).
           
          I hope you enjoyed the traffic spike, and the extra comments. I know running a blog that gets low engagement can be disheartening, so I’m sure you’re reveling in your first blog post that cracked 50 comments.

        • @Derek Halpern  @illanaBurk 
           
          Derek, 
          Why this much sarcasm ? Is traffic something we should avoid?Why not to voice opinions publicly on the platforms like blogs and social media? Aren’t they designed for that? Illana isn’t your PR, she had a point of view and — as you can see — 60+ comments later, people agreed. I’m sure she appreciates you changing the phase about contractors (or not), but the article was based on previous wording and it created the subjective opinion.

        • @Derek Halpern  @illanaBurk Y’know, I wrote a post last weekend as part of the Word Carnival about a few observed behaviors that I thought we could do with a lot less of in the so-called ‘A-list.’ Number two was overreacting to perceived slights. I have to agree with @MartaSpendowska – why was this defensive overreaction necessary? Why couldn’t you just say “Y’know what, you’re right, I messed up, I did what my lawyer said after he set me straight. Thanks for the heads up, though I disagree that ….”?

        • @MartaSpendowska  @Derek Halpern  @illanaBurk Her article was not based on my previous wording. There’s no way she saw the previous wording as that wording was live for 5 minutes and this article was written more than a week later. Please read the full conversation before commenting. Thank you Marta.

  19. HOLY MOLY I love this!I just got back from an event that was without a doubt the BEST event I’ve been to. No pitch.
    No hype.No rush to the back of the room for a limted $1500 product (that they’ll just give away next year as a bonus).
     
    I came home with actual tangible things I can implement now! We worked on an actual marketing calendar, broken into months that we created from another set of worksheets where we had written out plans.
    It was ACTUAL teaching. amazing.
     
    I couldn’t agree more we can choose to run value based businesses and not this ‘internet marketing’ crap. Build long term, sustainable businesses.
     
    Kudos to you for writing this. I read your follow up post to, great as well. It’s sad that people deify these people. I personally learned this lesson the hard way (interviewing many of these ‘A-listers aka Guru’s’. Some were more than I had hoped for and some were a huge disappointment… operating solely from ego. LOTS of lessons in the whole thing for me- took a couple years but I get it now.
    Thanks for your honesty!You’ve got another new subscriber! ;-)

  20. HOLY MOLY I love this!I just got back from an event that was without a doubt the BEST event I’ve been to. No pitch.
    No hype.No rush to the back of the room for a limted $1500 product (that they’ll just give away next year as a bonus).
     
    I came home with actual tangible things I can implement now! We worked on an actual marketing calendar, broken into months that we created from another set of worksheets where we had written out plans.
    It was ACTUAL teaching. amazing.
     
    I couldn’t agree more we can choose to run value based businesses and not this ‘internet marketing’ crap. Build long term, sustainable businesses.
     
    Kudos to you for writing this. I read your follow up post to, great as well. It’s sad that people deify these people. I personally learned this lesson the hard way (interviewing many of these ‘A-listers aka Guru’s’. Some were more than I had hoped for and some were a huge disappointment… operating solely from ego. LOTS of lessons in the whole thing for me- took a couple years but I get it now.
    Thanks for your honesty!You’ve got another new subscriber! ;-)

  21. So, apparently, 66 comments broke the formatting on this page for a minute. Installed Livefyre. All better. And prettier. Gracias livefyre

  22. So, apparently, 66 comments broke the formatting on this page for a minute. Installed Livefyre. All better. And prettier. Gracias livefyre

  23. This is all a little like the Wizard of Oz and we’re pulling back the curtain. What’s behind isn’t the magical being we’ve been expecting. What’s behind the curtain are human beings who fuck up, sometimes unintentionally and often with forethought, but perhaps not realizing the damage they leave behind.

    I don’t have an answer. I just know I’m really glad the curtains are wide open now. Thanks for doing that Illana!

    • Hey Sandi!

      Still trying to work out if I’m The Wizard or Dorothy or maybe Toto…. isn’t he the one that pulls back the curtain? Yeah. I can totally be Toto.

      Unintentional or not – when you make your living selling an idea that you have all the resources in the world (because you have made a ton of $$), and that you will teach people how to do that, then you also have a responsibility to use those considerable resources to hire a lawyer who will tell you not to do stupid crap like this.

      Thanks for the support!

  24. Heck yeah, I want to put quality into the world. You’ve seized upon one of the things that bothers me about some of the biggest names – the feeling that they’re just milking the rest of us for money without providing value. Time for it to stop, I say!

    • Hey Sharon! I like your recent post title:). Value is the name of the game, is it not? I have no problem at all with people making money selling expertise – as long as they aren’t giving away ignorance as a gift-with-purchase.

  25. This is amazing – I received this email in my inbox and my first thought was not.. hmm this is sketchy, Marie. But my first thought was “omg what an amazing opportunity for someone.” Now that I read this article, it’s hard for me not to be ashamed of myself for having that initial reaction. You’re right that it’s hypocritical for Marie and Derek to dip into their fan pool of aspiring entrepreneurs trying to break out on their own. I think this would be a non-issue if the email didn’t mention that it was not for someone who wanted to do their own thing. That’s where it’s all wrong. Of course Marie’s readers want to do their own thing- that’s obviously why they user her as a resource. Definitely could have been handled in a better way. Great post, and thanks for the kick in the shins! I needed this to get my mind right! – Jess

    • I am more than happy to kick you in the shins any time:)… you might have to get in line, though. I only do shin kicking between noon and three on the third Thursday of every month. Sign up for my special, secret shin-kicking list to be the first to know when I open the shin-kicking shopping cart.But make sure you’re first. I only do this once a year, monthly. On the third Thursday, or whenever I need extra money.

      I veered off-track there, didn’t I. Oops. What I meant was, Thanks!

  26. Strong sentiments that wrap around me like a warm, cozy blanket. (Let’s just call it the blanket of truth).

    This is my first visit to your blog, Illana, and I’ve gotta say …
    You don’t mince words!! Good for you. I salute you. And I would like to nominate you for the “Tellin’ it like it is” Hall of Fame.

    Please don’t get me started on the “independent contractor” classification issue. I have personal and firsthand (unpleasant) experience with being deemed an independent contractor BUT not being treated as such. When I say I could write volumes, I’m not blowing smoke. I could shout volumes, too, from the highest mountaintops.

    Exemplary post!!

    • Ooo! An award! It is truly an honor just to be nominated:)

      Thank you for your support and your lovely words (and I meant that – I haven’t been called exemplary in WAY too long).

    • As you’ll see in the comment I posted above (if Ilana approves it), I made the mistake of not contacting a lawyer or accountant before posting my job posting. That’s why I’m proud to say my new executive assistant is actually a full-time employee… not a contractor. This had nothing to do with Ilana’s post though (she made no effort to share this article with me. Instead she wrote a blog post with hopes of getting some traffic).  The reason why I changed it was because after I sent an email out about the job posting, someone emailed me back within a few minutes, and I had it fixed ASAP. I didn’t change the description because it didn’t matter. However, I did alert all the applicants who made the final cut that this was no longer a contract position… but instead a full-time employee position :-).

    • Thanks Peter! as I sit here writing a response, I am so struck by how many people have said that – the bit about how many people probably wanted to write something like this. I’m just so perplexed as to why others haven’t. I mean, I get the high road, but why are so many people afraid of holding other accountable?

    • If this was a “real” exposee, in the journalism code of ethics, you’re supposed to contact the person you’re writing an article on. Ilana didn’t do that. It appears she’s only ethical when it’s convenient. 
       
      That said, as I said in my comment above, this was an honest mistake. I did not contact a lawyer or an accountant before posting my job posting, and I should have. 
       
      That’s why I’m proud to say my new executive assistant is actually a full-time employee and not a contractor. And they’re getting paid above industry standard for their level of experience (and significantly more than what their last job was paying them). That’s what I call a win-win.
       
      Additionally, there’s a lot of people here who mistakenly assume that the people who read my site want to be entrepreneurs. That’s simply untrue. I’ve got entrepreneurs, freelancers, assistants, marketing directors, marketing consultants, college students, and peopel who just want to learn about psychology.
       
      I actually asked some of my subscribers if they wanted to start their own thing… or work for someone else… and a surprisingly number of people were happy with the latter. Those were the people I was looking for for my position. I didn’t want people who were trying to start their own thing simply because I’m hiring someone for the long term… not someone who’s going to join me and quit in 6 months.
       
      If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up.

  27. This = brilliant. It’s about integrity and compassion, baby — not about what we can exploit from people because we’re all fancypants. I have an awesometacular Logistics Commander who had zero experience in being a VA — we just sorta learned it all together. At the beginning, she just wanted minimum wage. I said, “HELL NO. Lemme pay you way more. You’re worth it.” She’s been with me for well over a year now.

    I know that biznez owners are often into hiring contractors because it’s “cheaper”. As a Canadian who works almost exclusively with Americans and hires only American contractors (weird, I know), I wish I could give my people healthcare and benefits and everything. Alas, international laws are tricksy so I can’t. What I can do is pay them really well so that they can make sure that their needs (and desires) are taken care of… since I can’t do it directly.

    Love. Integrity. Compassion. I don’t see how it’s such a hard thing to do as a biznez owner but there are so very, very many of us out there that are super sucktastic at being oh, I don’t know, decent human beings.

    Being a biznez owner doesn’t mean you have to be a dick. In fact, it means the opposite. The new economy is about relationships, not about whom who you fuck over the fastest, for the least amount of money, and for the most gain for you. The faster biznez owners get that through their heads, the better off everyone in our economy(ies?) will be.

  28. […] biz owners! Check out the other Carnies for this month’s topic here. Especially relevant is Illana’s post, which served as inspiration for this post.  var dd_offset_from_content = 40; var […]

  29. Illana – I’m new here (got the link from a colleague) and wanted to say “You GO!” If you don’t mind, I’ll be adding your post to a round-up of posts on A-Listers and their bad behavior (to be published at WordCarnivals.com this Wed). Our carny group has been discussing various pieces of this kind of crazy for a couple of months and we thought it was time to write about it en force.

    I love your general POV and invite you also to join us over at slowmarketing.org — another off-shoot of the crazy making we see online.

  30. What I keep finding interesting is that so many people in the internet marketing world just follow what the other a-lister/guru/etc. internet marketing people are doing, instead of getting real legal and/or business advice. I generally don’t name names in blog posts (just to avoid drama) but I can see how it’s important so people don’t mindlessly follow an example that is *clearly* legally wrong. A full-time person, where you set the hours, and you don’t “allow” other work, is an employee. Period. (Also – the not allowing a side business thing might not be legal either, for other reasons. I’d have to research that one.)

    • Tooootally. I think it happens in most industries – people with bad habits rise to success, and as their audience grows, their habits become systemic and widely accepted as standard.

    • EPW, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Back in the early days of IM, there was a lot of “think outside the box/wild wild west/new frontier” experimentation that led to big bucks. They made a point of saying “get out of your own industry, it’s too incestuous.” Yet here they are with a very blatant example of industrial incest.

      Due dilligence, folks. Don’t ever just copy and paste what other people are doing –even if they teach you to do it that way. Chances are good that there’s SOMETHING in what they do that won’t be a good fit for you, and in this case, might even be illegal.

      Building a business takes perseverance,and every time you opt for a short cut, it WILL come back around and affect what you’re doing.

      I agree you’ve got to be careful with naming names, but I also think that anyone that’s been in or around the industry for any length of time knows who these people are anyway. They need to learn to lead by example, and if someone’s not calling them out on it, they keep on keepin’ on.

      I had an employee that I loved and finally had to let her go because the ancillary costs of keeping her outweighed the value she brought to the company. The sheer volume of weekly paperwork the feds wanted to track her pay was insane. She was part time and had filed unemployment when her full-time employer let her go. Even though she was still employed with me, I had all kinds of back flips I had to do to keep compliant with the govt. It was just too much for me to handle.

      I later found out that even if the person agreed to be a contractor, they could still go to the state/federal govt and sue you. And they would pretty much win, so why take the chance?

      • Lisa, thanks so much for sharing your story. You so eloquently highlighted the conundrum that the current legal climate put small businesses in. I’m so glad you shared – it’s such a great angle to bring to the discussion, and is such a big part of what causes the kind of behavior that I discussed in the post.

    • As you’ll see in my comment above, when I posted this position, I had full intentions of making this person full time after a 3-month contract. The reason why I wanted a 3-month contract first was simply because I wanted to see if the person was a good fit. ON the surface this sounded like a good business decision, but that was before I contacted my lawyer and accountant.
       
      (I actually reached out to them because someone emailed me about this full time employee  / contractor ordeal. It had nothing to do with Ilana’s post. This email came in about 5 seconds after I posted my job posting, and I had it fixed ASAP. I didn’t change the application because it didn’t matter. But I did tell everyone who made the final cut that this was no longer a contract position… but instead a full-time employee position. Needless to say they were happy).
       
      People are human beings and they make mistakes. Ilana assumes the worst in people, and that speaks more of her character than of my character. I made a mistake, and I admitted it in my comment (if she approves it). Now I’d like to see her admit hers.
       
      P.S. If this was truly about ethics, she’d know that it’s ethical to contact the person you’re writing a hit piece on. That’s how it works in the world of journalism. She didn’t do that. It appears she’s only ethical when it’s convenient.

      • @Derek Halpern I can’t help myself so I need to respond, even thought I feel it became Illana vs Derek game. If Illana assumes the worst in people and you don’t, Derek, why are you repeating this : ” (if she approves it)” or saying that all she was after was a traffic spike? I mean, we’re not children, we talk openly here, so why are you assuming she hides stuff ? Do you hide … stuff?The amount of comments (and only the ones that appeared here) is a testimony to Illana’s post. Maybe it’s valuable for you. Maybe not. Maybe it just pissed you off. Seems like. There are in-between lines opinions in those comments as well, might be valuable. Or not.

      • @Derek Halpern you’re blowing right past a deeper issue here that Illana’s getting at, thus the title of the post.
         
        I personally HAVE reached out to internet guru type persons that ARE doing the wrong thing from a legal perspective (copyright infringement being a BIG one I’ve seen). If I can even GET through their layers of gatekeepers, the response (if any) is a blowoff. There’s a lot of drama involved in calling people out (especially in the IM world), but my experience has been that until someone’s called out, they keep doing whatever they’ve been doing – and rarely, if ever, reply to someone who isn’t part of their inner circle.
         
        I appreciate that you and Marie may have made a mistake in posting this the way you did, but let’s be fair here. You teach people how to build their businesses. Due diligence is as much your responsibility as it is ours. Things like this get passed around because someone’s passed it off as a “best practice”, and told other people to do what they’ve done. I’ve worked on the inside of several IM enterprises to know it’s not just you and Marie posting an ad like this. Too many people aren’t doing their homework in a rush to “get stuff out there” in this industry. Sadly, you and Marie become the fall guys in this instance, but there are any number of other “names” that could have been dropped in this instance.
         
        My concern is the blatant “borrowing” that the entire industry does, and how it actually puts a big ol’ black eye on anyone using the internet to market their business. Like network marketing, people see an IM person coming and they either hit you up for a JV or run screaming for the hills. That’s at least part of what we’re witnessing here on this post.
         
        In the final analysis, we ALL have to take responsibility for building our businesses ethically. The challenge is that “ethics” isn’t the black and white arena it once was (or should be). Everyone can interpret someone’s motives differently – especially when those perceived motives might conflict with our own. Snark, indignation, and other negative behaviors only further illustrate what it means to be an asshole in the first place.

  31. Funny thing is, Marie sent out a similar email not so long ago for the exact same position but on the EAST coast. I thought the same thing about the unwillingness to hire an entrepreneur since that’s who she boasts as her target demographic.

    I DID do B-School and appreciate most of what she teaches in it but have been turned off and disillusioned by some of her marketing strategies.

    Thanks for naming names and telling the truth. In the online world where it’s so easy to hide behind carefully constructed personas, websites and incestuous “social proof,” the loving, compassionate, objective truth will never be underrated.

    • Thanks for the support, L’Erin! It was certainly not a choice I made lightly – but one I’m really glad I made. The response has been really amazing! As my mother always said… sometime you have to step on some toes:)

  32. Hi Illana, thanks for your email nudge encouraging me to check out this fabulous post and all the insightful comments that followed.

    What comes to mind is an inspiring story I just read in John Jantsch’s new book, The Commitment Engine. It’s about a company who chose to raise up their janitorial employees. You can read most of the story on his Duct Tape Marketing blog http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2012/06/27/making-work-worth-it/

    One beautiful quote in the book that I didn’t see on the blog: “People don’t dream about entering the cleaning industry, but now they come to work for us and we tell them give us your best three to five years and we’ll help you work your way out of a job.”

    I don’t know what it will look like in my work but seriously, this is the kind of massive consideration I want to offer to my clients and people who work for and with me.

    Imagine if that was the vibe of the email you received from MF.

    • What a fabulous thought, Mahala. Thank you so much for sharing it. It is so very important, in my opinion, that we all find a way to ask only what is reasonable from people, and we allow them the space to thrive. How else can we be better than our predecessors?

  33. Illana, I’m a first time visitor and I’ve read through your post three times. I love that you have stuck your head up over the parapet and questioned this practice.

    A few years back I interned for a big name on an internet project, I got a bad education in how some people manage their online businesses. It was an eye-opening experience and I signed an NDA, so that’s all I can say.

    I saw lots of people sign up for this stuff online and I saw the material and I was happy. But the behind the scenes processes were vile. I left in my 10th week, I could no longer work with good faith and I also reached the point where my 30 hours of unpaid work was generating a lot of revenue and very little recognition. To qualify, I care little about money when I am getting recognition but when I don’t get it the money starts to make me feel sad and worthless. Yeah, I’ll work on those self esteem issues ;)

    Every day I see “entrepreneurs” trying to build a business on the back of someone else’s skills and experience and not pay them. This has become the norm and it’s not right.

    • I can totally relate, Sarah [and welcome!]. I had a job once that paid me a ton of money to do very little and be completely ignored and forgotten about by the rest of the organization. I have never been so depressed. I really think that humans get a whole lot more from recognition and respect than we do from paychecks. I look forward to checking out your site!

  34. Disclaimer:

    This is my first time posting here, but I’ve spent lots of time reading your site. I think you are a great talent with a great writing voice. I’m not a B-schooler. I’m not rich, I’m certainly not hot, though I do consider myself to be fairly happy. Marie Forleo has not contributed to my life in any way, save a few Tuesday afternoon YouTube videos I’ve viewed in the name of procrastination.

    Life is all about revelation. We are constantly unearthing new facts and information about the human condition. This week, you opened your email and discovered that Marie Forleo isn’t playing by the rules according to the law, or ethically according to your reasonable set of standards. Well, that is disappointing. In business, I’ve also encountered many people who have left me disillusioned by their actions, either through error, through negligence, or due to general assholeishness.

    To answer your open response question, one standard I set in my formative days of enterprise (and this is a principle that took a while to firmly establish) was to care about my own business more than any other business. Early days were spent engrossed in too much reading and researching, and comparing my path against “the others.” Eventually, I realized that the Wendie Trajectory was the only one that mattered; that enlightenment changed everything in my company and my life, really.

    Here’s my question for you (and it’s a multi-parter): Do you believe writing this article (in the naming names-manner way) prioritized Makeness? Did the focus of your words—and they carry such a legitimate message that is overshadowed by the target “a-lister”—cast you and your company in the most positive light? Was this the best investment of your creative energy? And, does the microbusiness community reap a great reward by publicly calling one another out over how we run our businesses? Is open-forum, negative critique of other companies the right plan for our industry?

    I hope you are willing to consider these concepts.

    Don’t misunderstand: this isn’t an “in defense of Marie” post. I believe violations of labor laws should be reported, but I also know violations of our sensibilities (in relationship to business plans not our own) should be paid no mind. If we wish to outperform the last generation, and I know we do, we must advance beyond the function of finger-pointing name-callers.

    Professional and personal regards.

    • Why voicing an open opinion means prioritizing OVER something? Why would honest writing NOT cast in positive writing. The best example of Illana’s point of view/biz is this comment below, from Greg Magnusson.
      Creative energy is not only candles, prayers, happy dance. It’s rage and crying too. So, yeah, I think it’s so worth investing.
      And, the most important. This article would not be what it is without openly calling the name. You need to call it as it is and how it sounds and against everyone out there who doesn’t think so it this case, otherwise you DON’T HAVE the right context.
      ::Marta

      • Marta! Thanks you for all your support, darling. I looooove what you said about context. Ass-covering is such a huge detriment to growth, is it not?

    • Wendie- Thank you for your thoughtful response. Believe me, I put a significant amount of thought into whether I should indeed use names in this post, and/or whether I should write it at all. But here’s where I landed:

      I am a business consultant and a designer. I have spent my career helping people build and maintain ethical, grounded, well-rounded businesses. with almost every new client I have to wade through bad advice that people like the aforementioned push out to the masses. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am 100% aware that they have helped many, and that their advice HAS been beneficial to the right group. What I’m saying is that I have a problem with one-size-fits-all business, and the me-too mentality. When you build a business around the idea that you are the only place people should look for guidance, you set yourself up to make ego-driven mistakes like the one made here.

      So, does naming names serve my business first? For me, yes. Absolutely. If I can help a few of the people I deal with directly have a better understanding of the ethical landscape out there, then I have 100% done what my business is meant to do.

  35. Hi Illana! I’m going to weigh in because I have always had the feeling, in reading your blog, that your heart is in the right place.

    I’ve got a song stuck in my head – “Ghetto Superstar”. Some people sell hopes and dreams. You sell ways and means.

    Some succeed by capitalizing on followers who think they want to become the seller; the seller wins immediately after sale of their magic program, regardless of results.

    You win only when you help people become the best them, they can be.

    At no point reading any of your work have I ever thought “I want to be just like Illana, have what she has, do what she does” – and that’s a good thing.

    What she is selling is not what you are selling.

    So, when someone like that puts out a job application that appears as though she is capitalizing on some poor shmuck follower, you shouldn’t be shocked. That’s how many “online entrepreneurs” build their entire business, off of countless followers hoping to win big.

    Some people are famous for being famous, and others are famous for doing good work. Fame seekers will forever have hopefuls throwing money at them. There is a special place in hell waiting for people like that.

    You, keep doing good work.

    • Greg…

      That might be one of the coolest comments I have ever read. Thank you for your kinds words. It is always nice to know that you’re hitting the right mark.

  36. Wow! I came to this blog post because I like your Facebook page and when I read your post leading to this space, I had an inkling I knew who you were talking about and had to retrieve the job posting/email from my ‘trash’ folder just to be sure and…I was. While I do respect a gal who can put her shit together and grow a following like she has, sharing information and really creating this “super celebrity entrepreneur” image and biz for herself, I can see the truth in your words and the intention of accountability in your conviction, which I respect as well.
    Thank you for this post. Thank you for raising the questions and for being authentic. As an entrepreneur who is focused on growing my business based on a service offering that empowers others, this is an eye opener and definitely something that I’ve come across for a reason.

    It’s also interesting how you can pick out up and comers of online biz entrepreneurs based on their verbiage used in their twitter profile or website: “tribe” “trailblazer” “multi-passionate.” It speaks to the circle of people they follow. As long as they are doing their business from a place of integrity, more power to them but it is obvious that there is a lot of influence coming from a select few in terms of those evangelists who share their expertise on successful biz marketing.

    Take care,

    Keasha

    • Well-put, Keasha. I love what you said about how easy it is to pick out the voices of the people that others follow. You have no idea how many web design clients have started a conversation with me by telling me, “X said I need an opt-in the the upper right.” And I have to explain to them why a chiropractor who doesn’t have time to blog, doesn’t need that. Not every business needs the same things. Thanks for joining the convo!

  37. The thing that really irks me about the email (which I received and also cringed at), is the part about not being allowed to have your side business. Her target audience is women who are starting businesses, and it felt like the implication was that it would be a total privilege to work for her team, and I can see many struggling entrepreneurs thinking this is their golden ticket… which it very well could be, if they were allowed to actually still work on their own thing.

    Great post, and I appreciate the balls it takes to name names. The fear of pissing off the small circle of the online elite is very real when you’re starting out in online business, and I love your willingness to speak what’s true for you. I’d actually love to see a response from Marie. It’s clear that many of her followers were bothered by the tone of her email, and it;s a great opportunity for her team to learn and grow to better serve their audience.

    • Word. Totally. Someone sent me an email in response to my post asking me why I didn’t email Marie directly with this. My response was twofold:
      a. I don’t know her. and it seemed equally dickish to be all like, “You know what you should do….” I fucking hate those emails (they are usually from people telling me to swear less).
      b. It’s not actually Marie that needs to hear this first, it’s all the people that thought about applying for that job. THOSE are the people I want to help. It is not at all my job to tell her how to run her business. That is the job of her clients. So, I thought it made a lot more sense to try to reach them.

      All in all, I am much more interested in sparking conversation from the bottom up, rather from the top down.

  38. Well played. Facts + examples = win!

    It is disappointing that it was such a carelessly crafted email who knows who wrote it but needless to say it reflects REALLY poorly on Marie Forleo the brand. I was on the mailing list as well and when I got to the part saying you can’t have a side-bizness of your own I was dismayed.

    BUT thankfully you turned it into an important lesson learnt, Illana. So I’m going to make sure my own biz doesn’t go down that road and encourage others as well.

    Great post!

    • So glad to hear that Halley! That was definitely the response I was looking for in people. I am much more interested in being thought-provoking than I am in teaching anyone a lesson or humiliating anyone. It’s really nice to hear that that came through.

  39. After my quote in the post, I don’t have much to say other than I’m so glad you were able to articulate everything I was feeling when I saw these listings. I’ve been in business for almost 5 years and I truly feel sorry for those that are just starting out and get sucked into this kind of contract job thinking it’s their big break or their only chance. I often reference the movie The Devil Wears Prada in this sort of situation. The person hired for this position will probably change everything about who they are, to fit in and keep the position, and eventually leave it bitter and burnt out.

    • What a great point to add, Erica. I think, as online contractors, we can SO often try to be everything to everyone. Especially when you are part of the support staff of a powerful person. It gets so easy to shift how you do things [ethically or otherwise] to be in constant “agreement” with a client or boss. It almost feels like parenthood. Like, we all have the intention to be a good boss, but when we actually become one, we fail miserably because all we know is how to be the same as the bosses we had coming up in the world.

      • Great points ladies.
        Additionally if this contractor would be hired locally, he/she could, probably, voice her real opinions openly without being afraid of them being spread out so easily.
        The connections online reach deeper and broader.
        The status of The Devil is bigger online just due to our perceptions I guess.

        • “The connections online reach deeper and broader.”

          Such a good point, Marta. Isn’t it strange how online implications can feel more loaded than in-person ones? Doesn’t it seem like it would be the other way around?

          • LOADED! That’s the accurate word.
            Yes, it should.
            You know, I think we’re transcending this online presence/business into something else, generally. I’m not sure yet. But I hear tired voices, disappointed voices. That’s why there is so many life coaches and questions like : “what’s my passion, really?”, “who am I and what’s my branding?” etc.
            Because when you try to do it as the rest is doing there is a point when you feel sick of “following”.

          • Martaaaaa, you’re speakin’ my language girl. From the very beginning of starting my business, I was uber aware that *most* successful online businesses make their money by teaching other people who to have a successful online business. It’s like a hamster in a wheel, going in circles, and not creating anything new or real.

            Even in my coaching, I’m acutely aware that part of what I do propagates this, which is why I’m vert honest with clients about the fact that it’s not just a no-brainer to make a blog + start making money. It’s a LOT of hard work and takes a lot of time.

            Doesn’t it seem strange that “following your passion” very often ends up leading people to create an online business that serves other entrepreneurs.

            This is a huge digression, but something I’ve been thinking a lot about. The few elite online A-listers are at the heart of this. And while I myself value the learning I’ve received from these people, it needs to be spoken more often that there are MANY ways to do things, and we don’t need to like sheep in a herd, blindly following.

  40. I think this is a FANTASTIC post, Illana, thank you for writing it – and writing it so well so that it’s not, as you said, a rant about “so-and-so is an a-hole” but more of a springboard for discussion.

    I had a similar experience last year where an “A-lister” (not quite on the level of Marie Forleo, but probably still an A-lister, whatever that means) put out a call for applications for a part time gig working with their team, about 10-15 hours a week I think? From the description, it sounded like project management with some customer service mixed in, and I liked what this person was doing so I sent in an application with an hourly rate and whatnot (that, by the way? was totally standard and maybe even low for project management work – not that that matters). Imagine my shock/horror/embarrassment when a few days later, I see this person tweet “Going over applications and I have to say I find it interesting that people expect to be paid $x/hr for what’s basically a customer service position.” (With $x/hr being the number I had quoted.)

    WOAH. HOLD UP THERE. So many things wrong with this:

    1. So unprofessional. If nothing else.
    2. Seriously? You charge $100+ an hour (last I knew, it’s probably way higher than that now) for your consulting (teaching people, by the way, to get paid well doing what they’re good at, IRONY) but you’re unwilling to pay less than half of that hourly rate for someone to take care of your CUSTOMERS? What exactly is your business without customers?
    3. The job listing didn’t read like “customer service” specifically; if that was the case, it could have been a LOT clearer.
    4. I think what really upset me the most is that I distinctly remember at least one person replying to this tweet with the equivalent of “lol that’s ridiculous pricing”. Another entrepreneurial person, no less; and nobody I saw was like “hey, that’s not really cool…”

    It left a really bad taste in my mouth (it certainly guaranteed I’ll never willingly give this person my money) and even though I got a nice/professionally worded “Thanks for applying” email a week or two later, it’s always colored my opinion of this person since. I know that people have bad days and make bad decisions about snarking in public (I’m guilty as often as anyone else) but to me there is something deeply, deeply hypocritical about building an empire that’s founded on the concept of getting away from the old model of work/business, and then continuing to perpetuate that old model in the way you hire contractors and employees.

    On a related note, the “no side hustle”/”no business” thing bothers me too; aside from, as you said, sort of aiming that towards people who are stuck in jobs they hate and just desperate to escape them, I don’t necessarily think that “entrepreneurial” = “bad employee” or “bad contractor”. I actually read a resource a few weeks ago that was talking about team building and it rubbed me the wrong way because it said that if you’re looking for long term contractors (not even necessarily full blown employees, but just contractors who have other clients who are working with you for a year or two years or more), it’s best to stay away from people who have their own businesses or are building their businesses, because those kinds of people don’t want to share the limelight with you.

    I think that’s fundamentally wrong and that it probably says more about the person writing it than anything else. For one, I think people who work behind the scenes deserve to be given credit for their hard work, often and in public, and the clients that I love working with do that anyways. I feel like that attitude is setting up a false dichotomy that’s not necessarily founded in fact, too – someone being a hard worker that does what you need and someone being a freelancer/business owner are not necessarily mutually exclusive and I’m not sure where they idea came from that they are.

    For another thing – unless you’re willing to take someone on as a full time employee with all of the benefits they’re legally due, it’s downright unethical to specifically source out people who don’t have a business. If you’re not paying them enough to pay all of their bills and live comfortably, but don’t want them to find other work or build other streams of revenue, then…what exactly are they supposed to do? What situation are you inadvertently putting people in?

    Now that I’ve written the LONGEST COMMENT EVER, I’m not sure if I’ve actually added that much to the conversation; the tl;dr post is thanks Illana, this is a FABULOUS post, and I’m looking forward to watching the conversation.

    • Michelle…. your comment was long, but totally worth the read. Your input is fab. I loved what you said about how hiring an entrepreneur is a bad idea b/c they won’t want to share the limelight. Isn’t there enough light for all of us? Seems to me that working with brilliant people should be celebrated, no?

    • Yep, Michelle, I remember that ad clearly, and I applied for it as well. I also remember the conversation we had about it. >.<

      If you need help, and are willing to pay for it, STATE IT PLAINLY.

      You don't have to make up a bunch of bullshit fluff to cover the fact that you don't really want to answer 3284903278493 emails every day.

      You also don't have to jazz up an entrepreneurial ad so that it doesn't sound corporate.

      I think it's definitely time to re-think the entrepreneurial & "solopreneur" mindset to that of true small business, which includes strategies for hiring appropriately and remaining legal, ethical, and profitable.

  41. Ilana,
    You are so right on.
    I would like to add to this the oft-practiced concept of gurus who get their flock or “herd” as Jerry pointed out Dan K. calls them, to staff their events, make calls to potential flock members, etc all on their own dime. And in the name of “service to gain experience”. Fuck them and a pox on their kids.
    The fear based techniques, the NLP, the hypnotic language – used in both the marketing materials and the live events of these shucksters.
    Anyway – thanks for pulling the covers on one aspect of it.
    Love you, love your work!

  42. Ah. Oh. Eh. Uff. You said it. You SO said it. I’m actually wondering how many people wrote something in the comments but paused, didn’t click “enter”.
    Maybe I’m wrong. But my intuition tells me that you don’t say NO or you don’t write upset posts like that about such icons.
    I know you just cringed, when I said “icons”. Illana? :)

    Just recently I wrote this post about art, rip offs, charity and cheap cheap cheap everything. May I share? (In case someone is interested and I think it’s so important for creatives to read it : http://j.mp/PoyDNK Thank you!)

    Those cheap requests from people who obviously don’t value anyone’s time…Those promises on future greatness and glory if you only sacrify yourself now. Or money. Or stability. Or health. Like you said.
    And I’ve noticed that too, like Steve did — why not to just hire a VA?

    It’s so funny to watch what’s been happening…So many people learn from the same people, constantly. How is that even sustainable? One clustered persona built on 3 people online. Wow. We’re really getting it…

    I don’t know if I have a point, right now. I just loved this post so much and I’m hitting this “enter” with such pleasure, Illana. Thanks a bunch lady!
    Becca (TheUncagedLife.com) thanks for posting it on Facebook lady!

    ::Marta

    • Thanks so much for your comments and support, Marta! I’m a fan of your work and can always tell when I’ve stumbled onto something with your stamp on the interwebs, as it always feels different from the norm (which I am clearly a big fan of these days. I will definitely take a look at your post as soon as I can. I appreciate you sharing it in a non-skeezy way:)

  43. Well-articulated! I’m grateful that you substantiated your rant with facts…about the IRS and ICE implications of the e-mail (I got it too).

    The whole bit about signing a non-disclosure agreement and not even daring to have a “side hustle” kinda rubbed me the wrong way.

    It may not have been intended to come across so arrogantly, but you’re right…we should be responsible for how we are in the world as we’re developing this “new” economy.

    The way you laid out Marie’s own values (of helping people to do the work and have the life they love) and then showed how this posting contradicted that was really effective.

    The only thing that I think you could have done more clearly is maybe give an example of how this posting could have been made more ethically. (BTW…loved your suggestion about making this about hiring a competent VA…I think that’s the right direction)

    What if Marie’s e-mail had said instead:

    “I am so grateful for the support of you, my faithful readers and fans. Because of your overwhelming support, we are growing here at the company!

    You all are already the driving force behind all that we do, so I wanted to give you an opportunity to engage at a more personal level.

    We’re looking for a competent and detail-oriented virtual assistant to support the values we’ve built as a community.” (etc…)

    Awesome post!

    • Thanks for the input, Steve! I think your ideas are strong and might go into a future post. There was a lot to say here and a lot of different directions to go with it. I really set out to keep the focus on one main issue, and I didn’t want to presume that I have any magic bullet solutions. I think that when a person acts from a place of integrity, it’s really easy to tell. I have had countless conversations with people behind the scenes about this kind of behavior. It was time to speak up.

      • I totally agree. I understand how easy it is to get caught up in the “I’m on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday now” moment.

        But you’re right. Integrity and humility are paramount. Of course, I have to say that we’re judging a whole lot of motivations that we can’t truly know. But actions do speak loudly.

        I hope that if I’m ever in the place to say the wrong thing (or the right thing in the wrong way), I will be able to hear the honest criticism of good people like you.

        Thanks for starting this great conversation. This really isn’t about Marie’s business so much as it is about what each of us can learn from it. This illustration just allows us a place to start an analysis and discussion of a larger issue. Again, thanks for starting that discussion. I do hope you’ll do follow up to this. Maybe do a series of “ethics and business” or something.

        In fact, I might get in touch sometime and ask you onto my podcast or something to discuss this topic if you’d be amenable to it.

        • Super Soul Sunday let’s me to sloooow down. No matter what who :) Watched 2.

          And I agree. It’s not about Marie per se, but it’s such a great reference to what’s in the open cards and what’s not.

          There is always a possibility of learning from those who are ahead of us, however it’s defined. If Picasso would like me as cheap labor I’d probably make sure he has a warm delish espresso every morning and — heck yeah — I would massage his feet.

          But we know…. we know what’s genuine, what’s really worth the time.

          Awesome input Steve!
          ::Marta

        • I love that this feels like the spark of a discussion and not a plain ‘ol rant. I really and truly want to see some of the bright brains that talk about these things all the time come out and play and say what is clearly on a lot of minds.

          Ethics are certainly a juicy topic, and I do intend to cover them more…. have much in the works around creating a real voice for reporting on our industry. Just wish I had more time in the day to get it finished faster!

  44. Great post, Ilana! I’m so tired of folks who want shit done, don’t want to do it themselves, but aren’t willing to pay for it. I’ve lost track of the number of calls I get from people who want me to “joint venture” or “partner” with them; I finally figured out that was just asshole-speak for “build me a website and e-commerce system for free, and I’ll pay you if it works” (as if my skill as a designer can somehow compensate for their shitty or non-existent marketing skills).

    Here’s a tip: if you need something done and you can’t afford to pay someone to do it (or pay them correctly), do what the rest of us do and learn how to do it yourself.

    Thanks for posting, and thanks for having the balls to name names!

    Jerry

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