He was going to pay me thousands of dollars and I was going to take it. He wanted to pay me to help him promote a legitimate product to a demographic that really did need it. There was a problem though. He bought a list of email addresses but didn’t really know who they were.
I asked him if it was a list of people that had asked to get information from him specifically. He said that they had all opted in at some point. “Opted in to what?” I thought but didn’t ask.
If there’s on thing I’ve learned from reading 4,648 Seth Godin blog posts it’s that permission based marketing is the most powerful way to gain allegiance and build a business. For more than a few thousand dollars I thought I could let it slide. It would be about 10 hours of work for me and the people on the list would never know that I had any part in their SPAM inbox gaining one more message.
Two weeks after we spoke for the first time I told him I was going to pass on the project. He was spared the details of my moral quandry but I made it clear that I didn’t reject the project because he wasn’t paying me enough. I slept very well that night. I sleep well most nights. I wish my newsletter list was bigger and that I had more Twitter followers but at the end of the day what I really want is authentic relationships with people who see me as a person who can help them find success and joy in life. Permission is important to me and it’s important to most consumers. Ask permission and then sleep well. I do.