Thursday, April 1, 2010

How did my classified ads work?

Some weeks ago I put two classified ads in the papers to see what would happen. It was my first time doing this.

In response to the ad above, I got one call from a man who said he was a photographer and he wanted to work for me. He sounded earnest, saying he had just "come back" from abroad and was looking for photography jobs. I told him the ad was for my services. He continued trying to sell himself by saying that he was into photographing all kinds of things. Realising that he was intent on being hired and would hear nothing else, I said: "Sorry, we're not hiring at this point." He told me to keep him in mind. I put down the phone thinking "Well, at least he's proactive in looking for employment avenues and trying to sell himself."

My second ad (above) got three responses, none of which were about proofreading. Either they didn't know what "proofreading" meant or they just read the 'Get your writing right' part.

The first caller was a woman who told me that she wrote short stories and was wondering if I could publish them for her. I told her that I wasn't a publisher, but I could proofread and edit her material. We chatted for a while and she said she still had work to do on the pieces and would get back to me. I somehow don't think she will ... but you never know.

The second was a man who called and asked if I write letters. When I asked him what kind, he said "Business Letters." An 'astute' business person looking to make money off of any opportunity would probably say with enthusiasm (even if they don't do this): "Yes! I write business letters!" Then, they would get someone to write the letters for them and mark up the price so that they make "a little something" off of it. Well, that's not my strategy, so I just told him: "The ad is for proofreading services."

The third was a woman who called and said "I saw the ad for getting your writing right." She wanted to know if I could help her 8 year old daughter who needs help with her handwriting. I explained to her what proofreading is and she apologised. As I put down the phone, my heart went out to her. I thought of how earnest she had sounded as a mother - as though they had tried many avenues to help the little girl, none had been successful and they were reaching out to this ad that promised she could "get her writing right". The part of me that feels sorry for people in certain situations wanted to call her back and offer to try ... but I didn't bother. At the end of the day I don't know how to begin helping a little girl to improve her handwriting and "business" isn't about feeling sorry for people.

The 'old me' would have gone and tried to help them in some way and probably would have ended up having an interesting experience as a result of it. But ... I guess I'm changing.

Anyway, that was my classified ad-venture. Four interested people calling in one month isn't bad. At least it shows that people do read the ads and respond ... even if they're calling for something else.


Tammy-Jade™ said...

The "old" you? What does that mean?

Elspeth said...

Exactly that. Evolution. Not that I'll never 'help' people again, because that's in my nature. But I'm not out to save the world.

Kris Loya said...

I like how you said that...not that you'll never help people again but you're not out to save the world. I'm not a say no person. I offer in some way that usually inconveniences myself a lot and I end up getting frazzled so i stopped promising. It feels good. Sometimes its really hard to keep my tongue bit and mouth shut because it is very much in my nature to and learning :)