|"Multiple Chicks", So This One Guy Series, 2011|
I recently reached out to a fellow artist to ask some questions about her process for a new piece I've been working on.Visually, I knew what I wanted , but how to actually make it happen? Well this was a question that I knew could be solved with a quick conversation from my artistic colleague who worked in this medium all the time. I sent her a message asking for a few minutes of her time.
What happened next is the reason for this post, as its sort of a "oh no she didn't moment". When she replied back to me with this:
"Great to hear from you! I am out of town most of the month and enormously busy, Sorry wont be able to meet. I am sure you know how to create your vision. Best!"
Hmmmm okay, I just stared at my computer because I wasnt asking for help with visions, mostly technical application, but more than that WAS I JUST GIVEN THE BRUSH OFF? Was I passed to the left. Did she even read the message?
Ok fine, she cant help me, everyone is busy and although I was slightly annoyed by the tone of the response, I 100% understand. I've been on the receiving end of emails that request time and energy towards someone else goals, and as much as you want to help, if you took people up on replying to each of those emails, coffee and cocktails meetings, you could easily find yourself in a full time job of free consulting and THIS IS NOT THAT. HOWEVER, I do believe though that if someone has the courage (especially if they dont know you) to craft an email asking for help, then it is your responsibility to be as helpful as you can to them, and you can do that without them monopolizing alot of your time.
So how does one do that?
If my colleague wold have sent me the following message back, I would have felt like she cared, I would have been helped and the world would be a better place. That message would have said: "Great to hear from you! I am out of town most of the month and enormously busy, Sorry wont be able to meet, BUT CHECK OUT (INSERT A HELPFUL RESOURCE THAT COULD BE A GOOD STARTING POINT HERE) I am sure THAT COULD GIVE YOU A GOOD START.
you know how to create your vision. See you soon,Best!"
We all need boundaries, and its important that we establish them. So here are some other great ideas that I've seen others doing:
Create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Section and direct people there before sending you an email. Fashion blogger, Gabifresh directs her readers to read her FAQ section before sending a personal email.
Include a email/contact policy on your blog or website.Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield has a policy for how she handles personal emails, I had a question for her once and that was squared up by doing a search in her blog. Easy for me as I didn't have to draft and email or wait for a response.
Now, What if you need advice? How does one approach people for help?
should we approach people for help? How should we respond... I have a few ideas.
FIRST THINGS FIRST LOOK AROUND TO SEE IF YOU CAN FIND THE ANSWER FOR YOURSELF.. YOU HAVE TO DO THIS ANYWAY SO THAT YOU CAN KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH. Here are my tips for being super resourceful:
#1. Realize that you might not get the answer your are looking for!! Thats number one, where I thought ole girl was going to be open arms to me like she has been in the past. WRONG!! She simply didn't have the time, and you know what its all good, and you sometimes wont have the time either
#2. KnowEXACTLY what it is you need help with. If your asking someone for their time you need to be as specific as possible.
#3 Run a Google search of what you need advice with and explore those outlets first. Run a twitter search, Join a LinkedIn or Facebook group around the topic your seeking advice in. **This will be super important so that when you do ask for help you've already done your homework and will know some of these resources in case they come up, that is impressive*
What do you think? Have you been asked for advice that you dont have the time to give? Has someone given you indirect advice that was helpful? How do you handle this? Would love to hear from you