Several times a day I read emails from people who want to do business with GaptoothDiva, and several times a day I ignore, delete, and reply back “No. Not that I don’t want to collaborate with people, it’s just has to be right. I’ve done this for quite sometime, with no help from any outside source that can claim that they “made me” or created my persona. I’m proud of that fact alone, but there were lessons I had to learn and mistakes that were made. I knew that giving up could have been the easiest route to take, but I’ve never been an easy girl (ask all the boys in high school), nevertheless my grind is my gold, and I will never let that go.
In order to collaborate with other people, there are several factors to consider. Without these characteristics, I personally feel like your business, your project, and your “grind” is a waste of time. Does that mean you should give up? Yes, if you don’t plan to change things. However, after reading this list you may want to revise some of the things you are doing, so that you are more inclined to receive legitimate business offers and start seeing the success that you deserve.
1. Clean your House – Is your website traffic ready? Do you have a clean design? Are there grammatical errors on your pages, business cards, flyers, and profiles? These things stand out to me. Having website under construction on your website, is like having store closed on your storefront window. Either way, it means you are not in business at the time. These types of mistakes can either make you look like a fool, or a joke. Both of which I’m not interested in working with.
2. Hit Me Up – People always seem to think that other people will reach out to them. Why can’t you make the first move? Put your ego to the side for a second, and think about it. You know who I am; I don’t know who you are. So why wouldn’t you reach out to me and introduce yourself. If you want to work with people, stop assuming everyone knows you and should do business with you. Just ask, the worst that can happen is that they say “No” or ignore you. Nevertheless, don’t take it personally, because if you are truly going hard, they WILL come see you eventually. Patience is a virtue.
3. Name Dropping – One of the first things that make me say to myself, “this person has no talent of their own”. I hate to hear someone dropping names, because it makes him or her sound like they built their business off of their “friends” success, not their own. I despise this more than money hungry promoters, but that is another story. If you know many influential people, then get them to send in testimonials, otherwise shut up. I’m trying to work with you, not the people you know. However, you could use this to skip the middleman and get to the talent. Why waste time, right?
4. Freebies – We are not rich. If only we could do everything out of the kindness of our hearts. That is not the world we live in, so why do people think it’s cool to ask for free stuff? If you can’t afford to pay for the services you request, then either barter service for service or wait until you can save up enough to pay. Simple.
5. Fishing for Ideas – I constantly have people call me asking me what do I think about this and how would I feel about that. The projects that they’re talking about have nothing to do with me, I’m not involved, but somehow my opinions matter. Bullshit! They want ideas. They want to utilize my creativity to push their stuff farther. It’s starts like a friendly conversation, then it starts getting into their schedule, next thing I know their asking me for advice or tips on what to do in their business. There is a fee for that, a very reasonable one at that. It’s somewhat disrespectful to consider hustling me out of an idea, without attributing any of it to my business and me. It’s no way to do this without being obvious, but so many people try.
6. Get your Facts Straight – Check the spelling of people’s names before you post stuff, print flyers, or send out info. Find out the accurate website, address, and profile handles. It’s so amazing how lazy folks are. You look like an idiot when you say your working with someone, and you can’t spell their name, don’t know their website address, or can’t find them on twitter. Shut up and sit down, you are a clown.
7. Selfish Promo – If you only go on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else just to promote your projects, events, mixtapes, etc. without commenting and checking out other people’s links, please kill yourself. No, don’t do that, but really… stop. It’s not cool that you don’t know what’s going on with your friends and peers but expect people to support you. Check out the competition, comment on your friend’s stuff, Retweet and share someone else’s shit for a change, and maybe you’ll get the results you want.
8. Customer Service – You may not work in the hospitality industry or sell retail products for a living, but no matter what your business should have good customer service. Do you return emails in a reasonable time? Do you conduct follow up calls with clients? Do you confirm appointments and important meetings? People need to know that they can depend on you to come through and do what is expected. Even if you are a rapper, you still need to exude some professionalism. That will set you apart from the rest of the mess out there.
9. Think – I hate when I call someone and he or she decides to hit me up via Facebook. I called you, why wouldn’t you respond back through the same form of communication. What did people do before Facebook? I’m not always online, contrary to what it looks like. If I called you through means of telephone, that is what I expect back. It’s quicker and I don’t have to be logged on to have a conversation. I think people are too lazy to go back to traditional means of communication. This hurts a lot of business relationships and great deals, because without communication we all fail. If we are collaborating on something, make sure you have the phone number and the email. Text, call, email, and then tweet and Facebook – social media should be the last alternative to trying to reach someone. This is business… it’s not personal.
10. Be Consistent – I’m always struggling with this because I have a family and other obligations that may prevent me from posting at the same time everyday. That’s the benefit of working for myself; I don’t have certain deadlines to meet. However, when working with someone else, try to get back with him or her within 24 hours. If someone request something from you provide that info as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate, and then think that they will be waiting to take care of you in the end. My motto “one monkey don’t stop no show” I have way too many clients and potential features to worry about one person for weeks on end. If you can’t get it together, then I feel sorry for you. Try to bring it 100% every time, then people won’t talk shit about you and mess up your credibility.
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