Stalked on Craigslist

Beware of Craigslist.

Shhhh. Don’t look at my email or you will want to cry.  Something is going on and I’ve attracted some bad energy on Craigslist.  What is it exactly? Someone is blackmailing me and trying to wreak havoc but I’m ignoring her crazy behavior.  She claimed she would post negative reviews about my company online if I didn’t pay her.  Pay her to go away is what she was hoping for but I’m not giving in.

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Watch out. Criminals are lurking on Craigslist.

The way Craigslist works is that everything seems completely anonymous.  You can’t actually see who you are dealing with so you can’t be sure they are real.  I am a very genuine person and try my best to do exactly what I’m supposed to do.  That’s probably why I get my heart broken so frequently.  There are people out there who are full of hate and determined to get something for nothing.

I recently offered a gig on Craigslist for local writers.  As soon as they completed the gig, I paid them promptly for their work.  The pay was decent for the amount of time required.  $5 for two minutes worth of work.  Not bad, right? Until Scammer Girl decided to start blackmailing me.

First, she sent me a few emailed threats letting me know her plan.  If I didn’t pay her off, she’d post negative reviews about my company.   I checked the reviews and nothing showed up.  Then she posted a few negative rants, mentioning me by name and saying my company was fake.  I continued to ignore her.  And then I googled her through the magic of Paypal, since I’d paid her out a few days earlier.  (Even then she had threatened to leave negative reviews when I didn’t pay her instantly.) Her mug shot popped up on the screen.

So I’m now officially ignoring her.  There are so many great, hardworking people out there that are willing to help a small business like mine.  I’m not letting one negative energy sucker bring me down.  Thanks for listening.

The internet can seem like a totally anonymous place.  Behind all these screens, let’s show the world that we’re real.

Update: I wrote this blog post on Friday the 6th and it’s now Monday the 9th.  On Friday, every new email in my inbox caused my heart to beat faster.  First there were threats.  Prepare myself.  Stalko was going to ruin me if I didn’t pay her right away.  Why was I testing her? Did I want her to go off? So I kept checking my email even while I was sitting in traffic.

Was it Stalker Girl? Had she posted another rotten review? Was my company going to suffer? How would I get rid of these ugly reviews? What seemed like the end of the world has softened just a bit.  Yes, stalker Angela did post a one star review on one of our websites.  We have more than one business and she left her review on Google.  She mentioned me, Heather, by name and said that I did not respond to emails and that my company was fake.  Now, her comment seems laughable.  Plus her spelling makes her look like an amateur writer and not at all credible.  One bad review out of many is to be expected.  Her review wasn’t even written under her real name.

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Know who you are dealing with when you hire a freelancer to help grow your business.

So today I feel better about the whole stalking debaucle.  I have learned a valuable lesson and am taking a break from Craigslist now.  I will be more careful about hiring freelance writers off Craigslist from now on.  That sucks because I got to work with so many genuine, caring writers who were doing positive things online.  Yes, there was this one girl, Angela Lopez/Reese Marshall whoever this person really is who tried to blackmail me.  Luckily, my site is not huge (YET) and I am still learning the ins and outs of online business.  And another plus is that Angela’s demand was for less than $20.  She clearly needs money in a bad way if she is willing to rip someone else’s business apart online for that price, what else would she do to get money.  Thanks, Angela Lopez, for teaching me that there can be a dark side to Craigslist and to be wary whenever you hire a freelancer online.  Know as much as you can about the person who you are working with before you get too involved.  And if you do get yourself into trouble, please post it so I can read about your experiences.

Do I Need Drugs to Write Decent Content?

In college I remember one night after Creative Writing class I was so focused, so determined to get down the story in my head that I holed myself up at a desk in the main building and grabbed my pen, writing as fast as I could, scribbling on the backs of other pages, determined to get the mishmash of words down and fleshed into form.  The words were like glass nuggets, each so shiny and perfect, coming together like they had been issued to my pen.

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Did I need pills to get the words loosened from inside my mind? 

My brain found just the right descriptions, the exact percentage of eye rolling, tongue-in-cheek humor necessary for writing about a night in high school.  Maybe the scene was a cliche, hanging out with my friends at the amusement park, Riverside, waiting to meet guys and then we did.  Only the details were slippery.  Kim and I both wanted the taller one with the beautiful teeth and then I tried to back off, let her have him.  I forced myself to hook up with the sidekick, with his bad teeth and spotty skin.  In the story, life was flipped and I was the tall guy, struggling to use my charm, awkward in my oversized shoes but trying to be smooth, to make it happen.

And everything fell apart.  I tried to charm her the best I could, told er I was on the football team.  I was inside his brain and the words were mine, ours, just coming to me all at once.  This was the flow I’d heard of.  The runner’s high, only it was writing.  I was high on the creation, the carving, getting it down and touching up the details that made it mine.  I couldn’t wait to turn that story in the next week in class.  I was a proud writer.  Was I a writer? I had no reason to call myself that but deep down I’d always known that was what it was growing in me, taking hold.

When it happened, there was such raw emotion coming out onto the pages.  I took my own pain, the awkward experiences, the uncertainty, fumbling in the dark for mental zippers and used that in my characters.  That was what made me write.  I wanted those tiny cuts in my soul to help others heal themselves, to forget their own pain long enough to follow my words and journey together toward the other side.

 

Become An Expert in Your Field

Want to make it as a writer? Are you trying to develop your blog and grow your followers? Start with awesome content.  We’ve heard that a million times.  Like you just press a magic button on your brain and the little guys up there furiously pick up their number two pencils and start scribbling away.

Figure out a topic that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to start researching.  It could be anything from what to grow on the shady side of your house to selecting the best solar lights for your walkway or how to update your kitchen cabinets for under $100.  It’s not always the topic that is exciting.  It can be how you present the topic.

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Got a passion? Share it with the world

Find your passion and start sharing your knowledge with the world and you will become an expert in your field.  Not sure what you want to focus on?

Follow Other Bloggers

If you want to grow your audience, start following other bloggers today.  Read what they’re writing and see if it triggers any ideas.  Connect with other writers online and leave comments when appropriate.  Ask other bloggers if you can link to their articles.  The more connected you are as a writer, the more opportunities will appear in your life.  These can be job opportunities, financial opportunities, writing opportunities and so on.  Do not expect to be rewarded in terms of dollars and cents when you’re first charting your path.  It takes time to become an authority on a topic.  If you’re on sites like LinkedIn, post samples of your work.  Upload articles you’ve written and link them to your website.

Complete Your Profiles

If you spend time on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is complete.  Take the time to fill out as much information about yourself as possible so you have a complete resume visible at all times.  Let the world know what you’re up to if you are a freelance writer.  Create as many posts as you can while you’re establishing yourself.

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Connect with as many people as you can and grow your network.

Grow Your Network

You know how to make friends in real life.  Make a few jokes.  Strike up conversations with everyone you meet.  Show them that you’re an intelligent, witty person and they will want to spend time with you.  How does it work online? Browse around different websites.  If you’re a blogger, explore other blogs besides your own.  Why should anyone care about your content if you don’t even read theirs?

Add friends on Linked In.  Connect with people from all aspects of your life.  Think beyond your immediate work friends and add friends from church, local groups, people you worked with in the past and more.  Remind yourself that it’s not going to happen overnight.  Just wake up each day and do one thing that day to grow your network.  Read a friend’s blog.  Post your new article on LinkedIn and share it with your friends.

Why Reviews are Critical

You know how important SEO is for your website but do you know how valuable reviews are? My friend Kris, owner of www.cabinetdoorsforless.com  recently got a one star review on google.  A nasty one star review based on one person’s poor opinion of the business.  Even though the review was unfair and undeserved, there it was, right at the top when you googled Kris’ business.

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So anyone else who happened to be checking out reviews for Cabinet Doors for Less was likely to read that review and form an opinion from that person’s negative review.  What do you do when you get a bad review.  There are two options.  First, you can reach out to the person who left the review and ask that they remove it and offer a solution.  They are upset about what they believed happened (or didn’t happen) with their order/service.  So that person took the time to lash out and post that negative feedback.

If you can’t get the person to retract their review, the next option is to bury that one bad review with lots of positive four and five star reviews.  That’s where our freelance writers come in.  We have some of the best writers and reviewers in the business who can use their writing skills to portray your business in a positive light.  Let our team of freelancers get your business noticed online.