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You Know Youre Too Ethical When...
Yeah, TOO ethical!? Lately, with some of the issues I've had to deal with in my day to day business activities it seems I am one of the rare few who is concerned about proper ethics and naturally is inclined to react with integrity.
The last straw was when faced with a dilemma of one of my client's competitors "cheating" for positioning online by using tactics obviously against the terms of service for most search sites, in this case Google. I explained that they had great listings (only one slot below the cheaters) and that our plan was for long term successes while the other guy's could end at any moment. I then had to listen to this client lecture that I was too ethical when I would not use these same tactics to help gain listings for their site. They then commented "We'll have to work on you!"
Work on making me less ethical? Work on getting me to agree to break the rules? It seems as of late my solid methodology of strong business staples, knowledge acquisition and long term strategizing seems to be making me a real PIA. See, I am not one of those who will say what a potential client wants to hear just to get the call back stating "send us a contract." Nor do I cater to the hype and online schemes of quick results or easy income just to book another billable hour. Silly me.
How about all those online auctions where the item's price is $1.00 only to find out they charge you the balance of the product's cost in "shipping and handling" fees? I sure wish eBay would nip that in the bud! Shipping and handling should be shipping and handling, not a combo of the product's price just so the seller can be listed as the least expensive ? when in fact they are not.
I contacted one such seller online about this strategy and was typed to as though I was the idiot ? "do the math" he said. Is everything online turning into the best man wins that figures out how to use deceptive practices or sugar-coat reality to the point of making your teeth ache just to make a buck? On second thought, don't answer that...
I've been doing this long enough to know all the red flags, hype and pitfalls. And some of them do work in the short term - with certain demographics. I also know the right way to do things and that if followed you will succeed - but you may not have the instant results all the fast, cheap and easy noise online claims is possible. When you deviate from the line of what is right, it will always hit you in the back of the head. Yes, sooner or later ? sometimes later ? but what comes around always does go around ? even online.
I may have lost a client to an unscrupulous "black hat" SEO firm using trickery and linking schemes to inflate results for the near term. But for the long term, these issues as well as many others I run into are simply not in my character to cater to when I know what is right ? and I won't.
You know you're too ethical when:
=> You give your clients the details and real-world view of what is required to achieve online success ? whether it is what they prefer to hear or not.
=> You do not minimize what is involved in efforts, time or cost to reach their goals.
=> You are clear and realistic about your own skill set and only offer services you excel at.
=> You provide referrals to other juried businesses whose expertise is outside your realm of experience.
=> You charge a fair price for your offerings reflecting the quality of the product/service offered.
=> You point out to clients in detail when their goals are unrealistic and why.
=> You don't hide your product's actual cost in other "fees".
=> You have your terms, policies or modus operandi available online for client review 24/7 and you back them up.
=> You back up your work, offering refunds when necessary and don't charge to remedy oversights or errors on your part.
=> You do not buckle to clients or customers who demand you deviate from what you know is right just to get their business.
=> You don't e-mail anyone without their explicit permission to do so - period!
My business is all about ethics and integrity in an industry of hype and misinformation. I've not signed every potential client that has come my way, but that is O.K. I know that for those who are smarties and hire me that they made the right choice for all the right reasons ? not because I was willing to compromise my ethics, cut corners or break the rules just so either of us could make a buck. In the long term, we both succeed.
It's so nice to be able to look at my cute little face in the mirror each day when I go home. For those who haven't been able to do that lately, add a dose of integrity to your life ? you might find honesty refreshing and actually freeing compared to sinister deception for commercial gain.
"Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never. Never -- in anything great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." ~ Winston Churchill
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