That’s what I was just called by someone in a Facebook group. She said: “Even prostitutes get paid when they put out. Just sayin. :)”
Here’s the context. I posted this question in two different Facebook groups: “Has anyone here ever given a course or seminar to local businesses about how to sell their products on Amazon?” (Both the groups, by the way, are support groups for online retailers. And I’ve spoken at several conferences about online selling, ecommerce, and Amazon.)
I then explained that the opportunity had come up locally and that while I would not be paid directly I saw it as a way to promote my ecommerce expertise while sharing valuable information. I then asked for advice or tips on how to deliver such a seminar.
The people in Facebook group one – I’ll call it MST – were very helpful and supportive. Loved the idea, gave me examples and tips and suggestions on what to cover.
The people in Facebook group two – which I’ll call ThreeP – were aghast. Why would I train my competition? More to the point, why would I train THEIRS? Why would I help any business sell on Amazon, thereby creating more competition for the businesses who already sell there?
In addition to the prostitute comment, I was told:
“If you don’t care about your own business, at least have some respect for others in your area who will be crushed by this.”
“Obviously it’s an ego thing for you. I think this business is the wrong line of work for you if you need the spotlight… is it worth it to poison the well for others?”
I tried to keep things civil; I had no idea my question would prompt such a negative reaction, and it upset me. (I guess the smiley face at the end of the prostitute comment was supposed to make me feel better, but it didn’t.)
But if I’m to believe the ThreeP people (at least the ones who commented in that thread) – helping a business succeed is not only a stupid thing for me to do, but doing it diminishes their own.
That is so patently stupid… to begin with, they’re in a support group to help each other succeed. If that’s not training your competition, what is? And am I to believe that no doctor or insurance agent or landscaper or whoever should ever train a new employee, because they might maybe someday open up their own business?
And if you expect to be in business without ever encountering any competition, you won’t be in business long.
While that comment upset me, I did get a lot of support from online friends, and I’ve had some time to reflect on it. Here’s what I learned.
First – be careful who you hang out with (online and off). It’s particularly easy for someone to post a rude or unthinking comment online. There’s no personal filter; people say things on Facebook or blog posts that they would never say to someone in person. I feel sorry for the other members of that ThreeP Facebook group; I hope they don’t think that the attitude displayed there is shared by everyone in the industry. And it’s certainly not a group I want to be associated with any longer.
Second – I could not help but think of the attitude toward money displayed in both groups. Rabbi Daniel Lapin (author of “Thou Shall Prosper” and “Biblical Secrets from the Bible”) uses this metaphor. People see money as cake, or as candlelight. If money is cake, then there’s a finite amount, and everyone fights for a bigger piece (or at least a “fair” slice.) If money is candlelight – then sharing it illuminates everyone, and it does not diminish my light at all.
The people in the MST group see money as candlelight; the people in the ThreeP group see it as cake.
Third – humor helps. I intend to use being called a “prostitute” in a humorous way when I can. It’s a great subject line for an email, right? I may even use it in a speech at a conference next week! I like the idea too of turning an insult into something positive.
And I guess I’ll just keep being a prostitute, then. (Hmm, could be fun business cards too!)