Maureen Frank wonders what to do with emails like this one:
I really love the “Hearts As One” mandala, and I was wondering if you know how I can get it without buying it.
Let’s put aside the “Oh, brother” response for right now. It’s a great question, Maureen. Your sensitive soul wants to help someone in need, but your left brain is going, “Hey! Wait a minute!” It might be akin to people always asking you to donate your art or talents to this or that cause. Listen to that left brain.
I asked Maureen if the email was signed. Nope. Nada. Notta name in sight. That’s good enough reason to hit the old Delete button. FAST! If people aren’t kind enough to sign their name, you have no reason to be kind enough to respond. That’s one of my first rules with responding to email. You must sign your name and address me politely.
I have learned to mostly ignore emails that ask for free consultations, free website or blog reviews, or that contain complaints about my fees. It’s hard to do, but I’ve found out that no response other than “Sure, you can have it for free!” will satisfy the person sending that email.
Here are the Rules
1. If someone sends you a special request and it is not signed, hit Delete.
2. If the request is signed and it looks like a real person, consider the tone of the request. For the question Maureen received (”How can I get it without buying it?”) I confess I’d be a little sassy if I could summon the chutzpah. I’d probably say something like “Well, you could steal it, I suppose. But that has the risk of jail time, so that’s probably not a good option.”
If the tone is nicer, more polite, you could say, “Gosh, I hadn’t thought of offering my work for sale without payment. Maybe we could work out a payment plan and you could pay it off in 6 months.”
3. If you know the person and you’re up for a trade, see what they have to barter with.
4. You can’t go wrong with sending the offending email into the trash and pretending you never saw it. Truly, do you think anyone who sends such an email really expects to get something without paying for it? No. And they don’t expect a response. Delete. Besides, you can always claim that you never saw it.