Time to be honest

Time to be honest
I am going to be very honest with you.
An email popped in to my inbox earlier this week, which I want to talk about. For some context, I receive between 60-70 emails a week and many more than that on social media, asking for advice, questions, tips, recipe locations etc….. I respond as quickly as I can.  It has been harder and I have been a little slower over the last 6 months with a new baby but I work as fast as I can to get back to people.
I get it. I have put myself out there, I have given out my email and I am accessible for everyone and I am happy to respond to recipe or diabetes related queries or to those struggling and needing emotional support and encouragement. I love connecting with people, it is all part and parcel of what I am creating.
However, this email was different. Instead of questions, there were expectations.
The email started with ‘Emma’… No, hi, no hello. This person, who I had never heard from before, started by telling me a little about themselves, their medical history and what they like and don’t like to eat. They then stated that they wanted me to create a 14 day meal plan for them. Including an explanation of what they should eat on a weekly basis based on their likes and dislikes. A list of suitable snacks and what shops best to find products from. . .
The final part said that they were aware I had a book and blog but that it was quicker to get the information from ‘the horses mouth’ than read through a ‘load of text’. No thank you, no ‘if you have time’.
I responded that afternoon. I was polite, I gave a few links. I kindly stated that I couldn’t provide such depth of information without charging a fee for my time because it would take me several hours to put meal plans together and I would need more information etc.
Their response came later that evening. A condensed version, read:

‘Good. I will look at the links when I have time. Why do you charge a fee? You could write for me during a quiet period? Not very happy paying when I could get this from a qualified professional for free. Would be great if you could do it. Just need guidelines and meal plan, as mentioned in previous email. Let me know?’.

Anyway. I felt deflated and sad. I felt sad because I give so much of my time and yet someone thought my time was of no value. A light bulb pinged in my head. Something that I should have switched on a long time ago.
It was 3 am, I had just fed my baby girl, who was asleep next to me and I was sat up responding to a stranger who had not only demanded ‘free work’ from me but had not had the courtesy to be polite.
Dear reader, so many of you have been so wonderful and so supportive to me over the years. I love what I do, I work so hard to create recipes that help others. That have and continue to change the lives of those, especially those living with chronic and life long conditions like diabetes. I love that my work has reached people all over the world and that I receive so many beautiful messages of thanks.
I don’t get paid for my blog. I don’t have sponsorship, I don’t have sponsored posts or adverts. I am not associated with any brands. I receive gifts from time to time, in exchange for a review or a social media post. I only agree to said gifts, from brands I believe in. Gifts that work with my audience. It is an honour to be gifted…but gifts don’t pay bills. The money I earn is solely through the bread-in-a-bag I make and the cooking classes I was doing before lockdown. I am a one man band, who simply cannot afford to work for free, anymore.
For everyone, there are over 150 FREE recipes on my blog… There are recipes all over my social media pages (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter ). I have a cookbook here and an ebook here. I try so hard to give as much as I can.
However, if you would like more from me I will be adding the following:
  • Running monthly Zoom cookery classes and ‘ask me‘ sessions. These will be 1.5hrs long. I will record them for those that can’t join. As a special introductory offer each session will cost £10 to join. At the end of the session you will receive a pdf with the 3 recipes on. My first one will be on Sunday 12th July at 11am. You can find more information, below. There are limited spaces.
  • If you would like a personal Skype call to talk through meal plans, low carb approaches, recipes etc. I can provide this. My hourly rate is £45.
  • If you wish to make a contribution to my blog, to help me continue to create the content I do, then you can do so. My PayPal link is paypal.me/mrsemmaporter 
I will always continue social media conversations and I will respond, of course to queries on my recipes, pregnancy and t1 diabetes etc. I will also continue to create recipes. Things won’t change there.
I must also make clear that I cannot give medical advice. I am not qualified or educated in medicine. I can give you my story and share my experiences but that is it. If you are concerned about your health you must seek advice and support from your gp / consultant etc.
I cannot be more transparent. I have to help keep my family’s heads above water during these horribly difficult and uncertain times. I hate that I can’t do my cooking classes or host talks and I hate that I have had to write this but, I either sink or swim.
Please always be kind. So many of you are a beacon of light for me and have supported me so much over the years and been on this journey with me. I am so thankful for you. The frustrating / hurtful messages are few and far between. But when they do come in, they sting. Being a small business is hard but manners go a long way.
I hope you understand.
x x
ps. Back to the email trail, as I know you will be wanting to know the ending. I responded again, calmly and politely. This time explaining that it was probably best they seek the guidance / meal plan from a qualified professional, if they could get it “free”. The response was too defamatory for me to share on what I view as such a positive outlet. So there we go. They are now in my “trash can” on my email.

12 thoughts on “Time to be honest”

  • Wow Emma! That is outrageous behaviour and I am angry on your behalf. People never fail to amaze me, often in a good way but sometimes sadly like this. I’m a lot older than you and I have learnt the hard way that some people are never satisfied how ever much you give. As you say, bin the conversation and move on and try to focus on the positive comments however hard that is to do!

  • I am utterly stunned by thus person’s attitude Emma and I am sure they are just a unique oddball who came across your website. The rest of us are extremely grateful for your inspiring recipes and all the other work you do. Pity them – they clearly have some kind of problem and you dealt with it very well.

  • I get this all the time Emma, people think the years I spent studying, the hours I spend every year on CPD, plus the extra seminars, research papers to read, books to read, recipes to develop, all mean I should give this information I have gained through this hard work, for free, and in a simple format where they don’t even have to think about anything. You also get those who have spent 10 minutes on google who think they know more but still want to pick your brains just in case. It is hard work. I have 2 websites, 3 FB pages, 1 group, instagram, twitter etc, all of which need content, all for free, plus the emails to answer, messages, Whatsapp and social media comments, on top of writing books, running a clinic and trying to find time for family. It is tough, but you are rewarded every time you change a clients life, every time you get a message saying how much they loved your recipes, every time you get a smiley face or a like in acknowledgement of a posting. The reason I do it, and I know you do it, is to make changes, to help people and to be part of this amazing journey within the low carb community. You are doing the right thing – you are worth a lot to many people x. Sarah Flower

  • I am speechless, this is like asking a builder to mend your roof for free. What this person has failed to grasp is that following your links and reading the book you develop your own knowledge and understanding which is far more useful. Obviously someone who feels the rest of us were put on this earth to serve them! Emma your book and recipes are in constant use in my house, glad I was able to purchase your book so I could give a little bit back. Very best wishes to you and your family x

  • Emma,
    I admire what you do, with being the mum of 2 very young children. Keep going regardless of this person whom you should flick away out of your life like you would do a dead fly. No brain, no manners, no consideration…you don’t need this. Keep going.. you have made so many lives better.

  • Emma
    There are so many beautiful people out there and there are the takers and users- oblivious. As my little girl used to say, just “gnore” them. Give them none of your energy whatsoever. You’ll find it quick and easy.

  • So very typical in today’s world of ‘you owe me’. You are amazing and a huge contributor to healthy eating. Your reply is so very well stated. Thank you for sharing your time , talent and knowledge.

  • Hi Emma,
    I wanted to add a counter balance to the outrageous email you received last year. I have very recently been diagnosed with T1D which happened to coincide with my first pregnancy. The stress and challenge of learning to manage this illness while keeping my sugar levels in optimum range has been exceptionally difficult, but my partner & I bought your book ‘The Low-Carb Diabetes Cookbook’ and I’ve found it to be a game changer. This led me to your Instagram & subsequently your blog, and I honestly can’t thank you enough for all the information, recipes & care you share through these platforms. I’m living abroad with no family around and in what could be a very isolating time, your recipes & posts are helping me to keep control & find some semblance of normalcy. I’m making plans to move back to the UK next year at which point I will definitely be looking to join some of your cooking classes. Thank you again for showing what is possible, Danielle

  • Just came across your blog which is beautifully done. I’ve been looking for guidance and inspiration around low carbohydrate eating and your recipes look so tasty.
    My husband is a T1D but doesn’t count carbohydrates so this may inspire him. Thank you for all that you do 🙏🏻

  • I’ve just read this and I’m just so sorry that a lady like you should have to put up with abuse (& it is abuse) like that from a truly vile human being. I learned long ago, that by being kind to everyone and giving time to help others, you often find one bad egg every now and then, I’ve had my share of nutters too! 99% of the people out there are lovely and love what you do and expect nothing back. I myself sent you an email earlier today before I read this looking for more recipes (to which I expect no reply) thanking you for all you do, your recipes are superb and have inspired me to get back on the “low carb” wagon! Be assured, Emma, that most people out there are so grateful to you and really, really appreciate all that you do. Your replies to this utterly vile person are charming and I admire your constraint. Well done, keep at it, we love all you do and so appreciate your time and wonderful ideas.

    • Dear Heather, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to reply, I have only just seen this comment and also your email – which I have just searched for off the back of this comment. I shall reply. I am so sorry. Your email was in my junk folder and hadn’t come through to my Inbox. Thank you so much for your kind words. I adore what I do and will continue! I truly am very grateful that you took the time to write to me. Best wishes, Emma xxx

  • I work in customer service and people are just terrible, very spoiled and entitled. I just discovered your blog and it’s awesome. You shouldn’t put up with those people.

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