This is a very difficult post to write.
Context: I was recently sent set of screenshots from a Facebook group, Female Freelance Writers.
This group is (I shit you not) "... a positive, happy, and safe place" and "Unhelpful, negative, insulting or abusive comments will not be tolerated - AT ALL".
Unless you have a penis, anyway.
The topic of the discussion shown in these screenshots?
Your humble narrator...
Bully, Mansplainer, and Abuser of Women
A bunch of freelancers — women to a man — spent a whole afternoon wailing and gnashing their teeth about me even though none of them — with one exception who then went on to show herself a dissembler and perhaps even a liar — had ever met or corresponded with me, let alone worked with me.
What they thought it would do for their businesses I can but imagine, although it's their time to do with as they please. I am not my sister's keeper, after all.
Here's a selection of what these delightful women said...
"I kind of feel like I need a shower after reading this".
"Oh my god. Hey ladies, let me mansplain to you how to run your business".
"Also mansplain me harder daddy".
"This dude has either a superiority or inferiority complex and I'm not sure which".
"Wow, that is a whole new level. of mansplaining".
"Wow, this is disgusting".
"Wow. Thank you. I preemptively blocked him wouldn't want him to be suggested to me in any possible context".
"He could have condensed it 'Pseudo DOM who can't satisfy intimately seeking sub to humiliate in business'".
"Today has been wild but this might actually take the cake".
"SCAM SCAM SCAM".
"Dudes are grasping at their last straws of control of women. Sorry, man, the age of the feminine has arrived".
"Wait, is this how he finds dates? Please tell me what's my fate as a woman dude".
"Oh. My. God. Excuse the blasphemy. But how do these people continue to exist? Taxi for this guy".
"It's a troll post. His website has so many grammatical errors. Anyone who even in my email this full deserves what they get".
"No, he needs a permanent block from all females"
What they're referring to is my LinkedIn profile, here. This is a man they've never met, spoken to, or corresponded with, remember.
It may have changed by the time you get to read it so here's a snapshot of it and shows you what they took so much exception to:
All these women express a profound dislike of me.
That's cool. We're all entitled to have poor taste and judgement.
But those who talk specifically of "mansplaining"?
Opinions are one thing, but ignorance is entirely another. And when your opinion contradicts the facts?
You are simply wrong.
See, mansplaining has a specific definition, and what I do in my work doesn't fit it.
Not only do women ask me for my advice and opinions (and pay me for the privilege of getting it and them), but I speak to my male clients in exactly the same way (because they're all fucking clueless about what I teach until I teach it).
This may help them understand:
(By the way, if you think I'm mansplaining here by explaining mansplaining to women readers, you're as deluded as these women because by reading this post you're implicitly asking me for my opinion).
Anyway, I could spend all day picking over all their comments — not least the inappropriate sexual innuendo and 'sex shaming' we're supposed to think men are guilty of exclusively and by default — but there would be no point, as I'll come to in a moment.
And apart from anything else, I'm a hard core libertarian and a die-hard proponent of free speech.
What these women choose to think and say about me is irrelevant. Their opinions are none of my business and beyond my control, so they're about as relevant to me as the colour of my neighbour's kitchen ceiling. I'm indifferent to it all (although my daughter and women-clients are none too pleased).
And far from motivating me to change my methods and attitudes, it instead validates my work because women like this are exactly the kind of women I want to repel (yes, I find them every bit as repellent as they find me — the only difference is they seem to take it personally). I'll come back to this in a moment, too.
Regardless, I still thought long and hard about whether to include the screenshots here or not as publicly outing people isn't my style, although I also reasoned these women not only felt it was OK to toss my name around inside their group with impunity, but also one of them deliberately and maliciously misrepresented my actions and behaviour on a LinkedIn comment-thread.
I won't tolerate that.
I may be indifferent to what you think about my appearance, attitudes, beliefs, politics, writings, and philosophy, although when you cross that line and blatantly make shit up about my actions and behaviour then I'll correct you.
Not out of anger or outrage or because I've taken offence.
But because the truth is important.
Speech is free, but it's not free of consequences.
And while you're free to say what you like to and about me you're not free to avoid having your words held up for public scrutiny, especially when you dissemble and distort the truth to stay cozy with your echo chamber.
Even so, I decided not to post screenshots of any of their spite and vituperation here. If you want to see it in the wild, you can visit the Facebook group. Otherwise, let them remain anonymous. It's not like you'd want to get to know them, is it?
That said, I have posted a couple of links to a LinkedIn thread you might want to read (I assume it's still public). The pages behind these links do identify one of the women involved, but it's well within the bounds of decency to link to a publicly available page.
But before we get there it's worth explaining why I'm writing this post at all.
There are three reasons.
The first (and bear with me) is...
The freelance market is set to grow exponentially over the next few years
This is thanks, in part, to the knock-on effects of COVID and the dawning realisation working from home is a real possibility for most people.
It was obvious to me this was going to happen the moment the Internet properly took off a couple of decades ago. I knew it was but a matter of time.
It's extraordinary when I think about it, but even in my adult lifetime — less than 40 years — we've gone from "a job for life" being A Thing to virtually anyone being able to set up their own business in their bedroom and within minutes be serving clients on the other side of the world.
And the choices available to us are staggering. Most of what you can do for a living these days likely didn't even exist when I was pushed out into the world in early 1965.
It seems the idea of "going to work" in the sense of most of society having a "job" where you have to leave the house to be in a given place for a set amount of time each day has been a blip in human history dating back to the start of the Industrial Revolution, some 260 years (a long time for us as humans, but a mere eyeblink in the history of the species).
What a time to be alive
I say it again...
What a time to be alive!
So what does this have to do with me individually, let alone with a bunch of irate women?
... despite the ease with which they can set up their own businesses, most freelancers have no fucking idea how to run a business.
And so they struggle.
My job, my chosen profession as a freelancer myself, is to show them how to run their businesses better.
The biggest problems for most are with attracting decent clients, selling at high-enough fees to make it all worthwhile, and then making it all happen reliably and predictably.
I won't go into my methods right now, although if you're interested I suggest you check out my new book, The Well-Fed Freelancer, here.
For all manner of reasons the way things are set up makes the freelance market tougher on women than it is on men, which in turn makes the methods I teach all the more powerful and important.
Couple that with the fact I prefer working with women because they're more amenable to taking good advice and generally more fun to be around, my ideal client isn't hard to guess.
Therein lies the root of the problem: some women don't like it. Hell some men don't like it, either.
And an awful lot of both don't like me, personally, either.
But here's the thing: rejecting a message because you dislike or disapprove of the messenger or the way he or she delivers it shows a profound lack of emotional intelligence and maturity.
It's frankly stupid behaviour
Sure, it's easy and probably fun to engage in a feeding-frenzy, focus the frustration and bitterness you feel at the world's unfairness on someone else, and blame them for your own inadequacy...
... but none of this will solve your problems.
The freelance market is tough enough to test anyone's mettle, a fact evidenced by the amount of pissing and moaning and wailing and gnashing of teeth I see about it in the soggy-biscuit circle-jerks of misery and despair on Social Media.
So how much easier it is to take out your frustrations on someone else than face the truth about your current circumstances.
It's set to get a lot worse.
Because competition is increasing and more and more freelancers are joining the fray. This will inevitably exert downward pressure on prices as newbies come into the market at ball-crushingly low rates.
And unless you have a way to differentiate yourself from them so price becomes irrelevant you'll have no choice but to lower your own prices to match.
This is happening already.
And that's exactly the problem I solve with the Client Acquisition Framework 2.0 and its embodiment in The Well-Fed Freelancer (in a nutshell).
But this message is a harsh one, and not only demands you learn to sell yourself — something weak and inadequate freelancers are too afraid to do and resist by means of a whole host of bullshit self-justifying excuses — but also calls for resilience, starting with taking responsibility for your own situation, actions, and feelings.
This is rarely a message people like to receive and admirably explains their anger and tantrums.
Alas, no amount of anger, foot-stamping, or tantrum-throwing will change the facts.
And the fact is my shit works — and it works for women even better than it works for men. Your not liking me or my methods won't change any of that, and every minute you spend hating me and throwing shit my way is a minute you're not investing in creating a strong and robust foundation for your business.
The second reason I've written this is...
The truth is important
As I alluded to above, one of the women crossed what I think is an important line.
She went from sharing her subjective opinion about me to making insinuations about my actions and behaviour, and did so in a forum where I have no opportunity to put my side of it forward.
So I'm going to put the record straight here.
Short story: I commented on a post of hers. She then asked me a direct question. The accurate answer is fairly long and involved so I added her as a connection and then sent her a PDF detailing my answer. She thanked me.
And that was it.
Here's what she said on the Facebook Group
"Yes he shared some of his horrible unsolicited advice on my latest LI post! Creepy dude… and he followed his comments up with a DM and some downloadable pdf guide"
A clear insinuation from her of iffy behaviour from me there, right?
OK, well, her original post is here, and my specific comments are here.
I have nothing to hide, although she might feel she does.
Here's a summary for you
I commented: "Before you send over a proposal I suggest you first send over an invoice for it and do nothing until it’s paid".
She said: "Seems like jumping the gun a bit, no? Like sending over an engagement ring before the first date. Interested in your theory though...".
Interested in my theory? That's an invitation to explain unless I miss my neurotypical mark.
I said: "It’s not a theory. It’s what I and my clients do. Why do you work for free? I also charge for the initial 'chat'. ".
She said: "Ah...I see, so you send an invoice for just the proposal?".
That is a direct question. So I connected with her and sent her a DM with a PDF copy of The Well-Fed Freelancer.
I said: "RE: your question. This is my book (not a pitch, so fret ye not). Easier to send this than type War & Peace in a comment".
She said: "Haha thanks! I'll give it a read".
I said: "Obliged, Ma'am".
That's the entirety of our interaction to this point.
If you think that sequence of comments and my DM in response to a direct question are "creepy" then...
I'm afraid you Have Issues
In fact, you have Serious Fucking Issues and need therapy.
It’s so easy to misrepresent others to the echo chamber when you have no integrity isn’t it?
Fortunately, I have the screenshots to document this blatant misrepresentation of the truth.
I have all the screenshots to document this blatant misrepresentation of the truth.
(So let me know if she deletes the thread and I'll post them here).
Bottom line: she is a dissembler and perhaps even a liar.
Feel free to go onto LinkedIn and read and perhaps comment on the thread if you wish and highlight her duplicity or, indeed, agree with her if that's what you feel.
My real problem with this
She is a perfect example of why the idea "believe women" was never, ever a good idea.
No one —man, woman, or child — is entitled to be believed unquestioningly or uncritically, and this is exactly why (and please don't tell me how "rare" this kind of thing is because we can't know that without the evidence we're supposed to dispense with, even one time is one time too many, and it's nothing more than another way of saying "not all women" and we all know what kind of reception men get when they say "not all men", don't we?).
The potential damage this kind of thing can do to the very cause she and her angry cronies are trying to further is immense.
And the irony?
Men like me are potentially great allies for women in their fight for decent and equal treatment: strong, assertive, intelligent, courageous, educated, articulate, evidently privileged (although my white male privilege is no more or less important than your neurotypical privilege, a fact many get very angry about when I point it out to them), and not entirely without influence. Fuck, this is one reason I choose to work chiefly with women in the first place (not out of any sense of altruism, but because it's easier to get the results they want).
But I'm no one's whipping-boy.
So don't be surprised if I — and men like me —shrug my shoulders and tell you it's not my problem.
Don't be surprised when we ask you "prove it" because we know there are liars among you who'll make this shit up just to make yourself look good in front of a witch-hunting mob.
You don't have the right to my help and assistance.
Act like you do, try to bully, shame, and intimidate me into toeing your line, insult and lie about me to put a shine on your own victimhood, and you'll probably come to wish you hadn't because I'm nobody's victim and "cancel culture" is impotent unless you fear it.
I look forward to whatever responses the young lady feels fit to make.
But I won't be holding my breath.
And the third reason I've written this?
It's good for business
Here’s the thing: everything they say boils down to an ad hominem attack of one form or another.
It’s water off a duck’s back to me for various reasons, notwithstanding the fact it's not unknown for my detractors to widen their vituperative net and cast it over my wife, daughters, and clients. They really are that vile.
If they genuinely wanted to know about me and what kind of man I am they could ask Mrs EBG, my daughters, or my clients, the very women they're all-but accusing me of abusing.
But of course they’ll never do this because they don't want to know. They’ve made their minds up already, doing what so many armchair psychologists do on Social Media and diagnosing various complex psychiatric disorders on the basis of my LinkedIn profile and a few posts and comments.
All that aside, notice what they don't do: invalidate, discredit, weaken, or undermine my arguments.
Because they can’t.
Why can’t they?
Because I am right, and they are wrong.
It's not all doom and gloom
Because a few women in the group correctly point out my marketing and promotion is doing exactly what it’s intended to do: I’m repelling the kind of individual no-one in their right mind would want to work with, attracting those I do want to work with, and getting a whole pile of free marketing (and I've had a dozen or so connection-requests from women on LinkedIn on the back of it).
The lass who sent me the screenshots, a client of mine, asked the group:
"Have any of you actually worked with him? I have and he was insanely helpful".
Crickets and tumbleweed.
Another, somewhat more clued up than the baying mob, said:
"I don't know... it seems pretty innocuous to me. He even tells you what his strategies are: targeting clients, optimizing pricing, and developing systems. He even says he's autistic in the description (which I know isn't an excuse to be a turd, but it is a factor to consider for social situations). Plus, if he's as keyed-in to targeting markets as he wants you to think, then this is really speaking to his ideal client. If you’re not gonna be paying his bills, then quit paying him unnecessary attention".
Aha! Someone gets it, even if she perhaps thinks I'm a turd (hard to unpack that one).
And yet another said:
“Yeah, this whole thread is basically free advertising for him. I never would have heard about him otherwise”
It’s ironic these Woke and Right-On women undoubtedly champion the causes against bullying and discrimination yet behave so shabbily towards someone they don’t know.
"Be kind", no less. "Be kind".
It's all according to plan
This is why I do what I do and do it the way I do it — I’m picky whom I work with and this kind of self-selection makes life so much easier.
And you can't skim off the cream without making ripples in what lies below.
Here are a couple of messages I got on LinkedIn from women who read about the whole debacle:
And finally, an email sent to me from one of my clients after I recounted this whole saga to my list over a couple of emails to my list:
There's a lesson in what she said if you but care to look for it.
And as one woman commented on a post where I alluded to the behaviour of these women and those like them:
I share these messages of support with you not to defend, explain, or justify myself or to seek your approval and validation.
Instead I'm demonstrating the fact my shit works.
I'm not in business to make friends or be popular.
I'm in business to do business and to do it only with the people I want to do business with, a one of the seven fundamental principles of Personal Sovereignty I preach in the Client Acquisition Framework (CAF2.0) and the Well-Fed Freelancer.
My methods work.
This is beyond question.
It's a fact, and one I can prove easily enough (but it's far better for you to prove it to yourself).
Whether you like them (or me) or not is not the point.
They are legal, moral, ethical, and entirely above board.
- You can charge premium fees.
- You can filter out bad prospects and deal only with the one you want to deal with.
- You can charge for initial consultations.
- You can charge for "proposals".
- You can charge upfront.
My clients — men and women alike — have end-to-end processes in place to attract the best clients and sell to them at premium fees, and all without resistance, anxiety, or having to resort to begging and discounts to secure the work.
They are doing all of this every single day of the week, and while LinkedIn is awash with copywriters and other freelancers pissing and moaning about a "quiet market" and how "the ALGoRiThM" has dropped off, my guys and gals are fully booked well into January 2022.
Feh, "quiet market" my fucking arsehole.
But to do it takes more courage and self-esteem than most people have.
This is also the truth.
And people like these women on that Facebook group don't want the uncomfortable and inconvenient truth.
They want quick, easy, and comfortable, even when it's built on lies
The only thing anyone has against me and my work are subjective emotional arguments, and they use them because they have no objective logical or rational argument.
Just their "feelings".
And while it may be trendy these days to believe and act as if people's feelings are more important than facts, I have no truck with that idea.
The fact is this is not a moral issue and trying to make it one makes you guilty of intellectual dishonesty.
It ultimately comes down to nothing more than choices, actions, and consequences.
- If you choose not to qualify prospects hard before speaking to them on the phone or over Zoom then the consequence is you will inevitably end up giving free advice and never hear from the prospect again.
- If you choose not to charge for proposals and instead put in time and effort — work — to deliver a detailed plan to the prospect for free, then the consequence is you will frequently get ghosted.
- If you choose not to charge from the outset and follow through by working for free, then the consequence is you will get led on, ripped off, given the runaround, and often ghosted.
- But if you choose to charge from the outset and refuse to work for free, then the consequence is these things cannot happen.
It’s not my place to tell you how to run your business.
If you’re happy to be treated badly by scrote prospects and douchebag clients, that’s entirely up to you.
You are free to make any choice you like.
But you are not free to escape the consequences of your choices.
So choose wisely.
And if you get an inkling you'd like to choose to work with me, here's the place to start.
Business mentor, trainer, author, speaker, and autism advocate