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.
, there are over 150 FREE recipes on my blog
… There are recipes all over my social media pages (Instagram
). 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.
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.