nothanks_thumbHeyyyy, an offer of $300 to write a post on my own site here at Get FIRE’d! And I’ve been doing this for nothing since the beginning. Now someone wants to pay me for my work. But hang on a minute, what’s the catch?

It’s true. The other day I received an email from a reputable marketing company asking me whether I’d write an article for my blog that could incorporate some mention of their client and how using their services could benefit my readers. Has anyone else heard of this?

It’s all quite legitimate as what it does is improve the client’s internet search engine ranking by providing backlinks from various blog articles to their site. This in turn is recognised by search engines, such as Google and Bing, as giving their site an improved level of credibility and thereby boosting them up the rankings.

So by employing a few bloggers to write about how using the type of service they offer can be of benefit, and happening to mention that, “oh, ABC Company is a great place to find out more”, the client’s website suddenly sees a jump in internet hits which in turn boosts their search engine rankings and therefore pushes them onto the first page you see when you do a search.

And for writing a suitable article and posting it here for you, dear readers, they will pay me $300. Now since it takes me around three or so hours to write and post an article, that’s a sweet 100-bucks an hour which seems like a pretty sweet rate for something I’m already doing, eh!

So did I take it? Nope. Their client turns out to be a company that specialises in providing online finance for suckers out there who feel the need to take out a loan to buy motor vehicles and other expensive leisure toys. And we should all know by now that if you have to finance anything, besides your home, you can’t really afford it. Just read Millennial Money Man’s latest article to understand why.

As tempting as it was to take their money, and quite possibly the opportunity for future assignments, I politely declined the offer.

And it’s not the first time I’ve limited the revenue-making opportunities for this site. If you look to the right of this article, you’ll see some ads that I’ve incorporated into the site to hopefully make a few bucks to help pay the running costs of my blog. I say hopefully because to date, I have made the sum total of AU$6.71. At this stage I’m not making any big plans to spend it.

Now one of the ads is an affiliate link which means that if you click on it and sign up for the services offered, I will collect a small commission for referring you to them (so don’t hold back).

The other is a Google AdSense ad which pays me a cent or two when you click on it. If you don’t know how AdSense works, the ads shown here are different for every user as they are selected by Google based on your browsing and searching history. For example, you begin researching airline fares for your upcoming trip to Hawaii and good old Google will start populating this space with ads for airlines, hotels, travel insurance and anything else that they consider may be helpful to your trip planning. And good old Google get paid a referral fee from the advertisers if you click through to their site and make a purchase.

Anyway, when setting up AdSense, you are given the option of excluding different categories of ads from being shown on your site. Since this blog is all about reaching financial independence, I made the decision to exclude categories that were aimed at giving you options to extend your working life by a few more years tempting you with more ways to throw your hard earned stash away on frivolous, wasteful spending.

So out went ‘Cosmetic Procedures and Body Modification’, ‘Get Rich Quick’ (yes, it is a category), ‘Online Gambling’, and several others that I fundamentally don’t believe in.

Have I thrown away the opportunity to make some easy extra bucks? Yes. Am I concerned? Definitely not. Perhaps if this little extra income was standing between me and poverty, I’d quite possibly throw my moral high-ground to the side and scream “sign me up”, but as you know from previous posts, making money is no longer one of my prime drivers since I became financially independent. Any extra money I earn now is what is sometimes referred to as ‘F%#k You’ money. Why? Because when you have enough money to call yourself financially independent, you are free to say ‘F%#k You’ to needing more money than you already have. Waving a few dollars under my nose to promote a service that I don’t agree with is not going to convince me to promote something that goes against the principals of my blog.

What could be a better use of Fuck You Money, then to actually say Fuck You (politely) in a situation where it counts so much? What better definition of the word “Badassity”, than the willingness to stand up and refuse to erase it from your own website, even in the face of mind-numbing financial consequences!? – Mr Money Mustache

It was never my intention to develop this blog as an income producing monster. I read around 20 other FI blogs regularly and comparing my modest income of $6.71 to the hundreds and sometime thousands of dollars a month their blogs are creating, I have certainly reached this goal. But in saying that, if I can create a little extra on the side, perhaps enough to cover my blogging costs I wouldn’t say no. But not if it conflicts with the underlying principals of why I write this blog in the first place.

What do you think, readers? Have I made the right decision? Honour before dollars. Or bugger it, just take the money? What would you have done? Don’t worry, your answers can be anonymous if you choose.

26 thoughts on “Why I Turned Down My First Paying Gig Offer”

  1. Hey Martin,

    We also receive these types of offers (perhaps the very same offer, we didn’t do a follow up). So far there’s been nothing that has caught our interest that would genuinely work with our blog, feelings, readership or staying true to the readers.

    Don’t get me wrong, $100s would really help us..but we don’t want to do it. I think you did the right thing too :).

    Tristan

    1. Cheers Tristan. I think so too. Once you start chasing any gig that’ll pay it’s a slippery slope. You may well have heard from the same company. They did ask me if there were any other FI blogs I knew of that I could refer them to. I did suffer from sudden memory lapse at that moment lol.

  2. I am interesting in FIRE and follow several blogs. One of the most interesting things to follow is the choices people make in obtaining it. The fact you given a lot of thought strengthens your.integrity as an author. And as a person!

    1. Cheers Green Swan. I’m not sure it was a garbage offer but it certainly wasn’t offered for my benefit and I feel that it would have just cheapened my blog if I had gone ahead with it. I guess the one positive is that the company who made the offer recognised that my site was worth investing in even if it was for nefarious reasons. Thanks for the comments GS.

  3. I think you and I tend to look at our sites similarly. While it would be great to have huge sums of money rolling in every month, that wasn’t why I started in the first place. I use my site to talk about things that interest me and things that I think will benefit the readers.

    That said, when I come across products or services that I use and feel would benefit others, I do like to write about them and even better if I can get paid to do so. But whether I get paid or not doesn’t change how I speak about or review a product. I’ll share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    I support your decision to turn down business because it doesn’t sit well with you no matter why that’s the case. That’s what’s great about having your own site. You get to make that call.

    1. Bang on the money there FS. That’s exactly why I started my blog too. I felt that I had something to share and what better way to do it than writing a blog. If people get value from it they stick around, if not, then there’s plenty of other blogs with great information out there. If they see an ad that interests them, then I appreciate the click through. I’m loath to slip ads in all over the posts to make a few cents more each day so I guess until my readership reaches the millions I won’t be getting rich from it anytime soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Very interesting, and good for you. I’ve been seeing more e-mails lately with similar requests. Like you, I’ve turned them down. I’m trying to build an audience, and a sponsored post, particularly one that does not jive with my message, seems like a great way to turn people away.

    Best,
    -PoF

    1. Just as you say PoF, I’m trying to build me readership with what are hopefully informative and entertaining pieces and filling in every blank space with an ad doesn’t work for me so why would my readers buy into it. Now if I get an paid offer to write something that I do agree with, I’d give that some consideration. Thanks for your comments PoF.

  5. As a fellow blogger to another, you did the right thing. Income-making opportunities definitely come along, but if you don’t believe in the product, there’s no reason to promote it. I’m sure other bloggers don’t mind (as some people consider it a primary source of income), but I’m of the similar mindset that you should only promote products that you’ve used or believe in. After all, your readers trust you and the information you’re sharing; why catfish them into giving their money to a predatory lender?

    I’ve also limited categories in AdSense, and I’ve found that, by doing that, I’m showing my readers higher quality ads in the first place! I hate hate hate HATE showing ads on my site, but hey, good hosting is expensive.

    1. It sounds like we’re of similar mind there Mrs Picky. I clicked through to a Get Rich Quick AdSense link the other day, that I saw on another site, to see what it was offering and how enticing it was (just research you understand) and what a load of shite it was. You know the old adage “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”, then this definitely fell into that. I don’t understand how people get sucked into these schemes, but they do.

  6. I 100% agree with your choice to not publish an article you don’t fully believe in. Especially since you’re financially independent. Congrats on that by the way!
    I previously use to endorse American Consumer Opinion surveys on my blog but stopped after I realized I don’t believe in them. They are tedious and no real skills are developed. I even wrote a post about it.
    Honour before dollars! I think it will pay off down the road and you’ll be happier with your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Well thank you Graham. FI is a goal I can thoroughly recommend to anyone. If only more would listen lol. Even if my refusal to show support doesn’t lead to $$ down the track, I’d just feel a little ‘dirty’ doing it. I think most people who read FI sites like mine are already above, or on their way, being suckered by such promotions. At least I hope so. Cheers for dropping by and commenting, Graham.

  7. It’s exciting that you were approached, but as you stated, you put a lot of work into this blog, so why would you tarnish it with something that doesn’t align with your values? Another offer will eventually come along that you are happy to work with. I read blogs where the writer states up front that this post has been sponsored. I don’t mind it, because then I have a context to add to my reading.

    I didn’t know you can exclude from AdSense. I see many PF blogs where the ad at the top or side of the post represents everything the blog is trying to caution against! When I see these, it does plant a seed of doubt in my mind as to the motivation of those bloggers.

    Principles are important, congratulations for sticking to them.

    1. Hi Mrs ETT. Yes, I was a bit chuffed at first until I thought about it and realised that they have probably contacted a bunch of other bloggers with the same offer. Tristan at Dividends Down Under confirms that they have.

      If you want to block certain categories of ads from showing, log into your AdSense account and you’ll see a tab called ‘Allow & block ads’. You’ll find it in there.

      Like I said in my post, google selects ads based on your browsing and searching so when you see those ads on other blogs it may well be because the site owner hasn’t blocked comprising ads.

  8. Good decision you made.
    I do not put adds on my blog because I hate adds. I might refer to some services via a text link now and then, but those are services that enable people to reach FIRE rather sooner than later

    1. Thanks for that. I reckon it was the right decision too. I’m not keen on ads either but if they help pay for my hosting costs, I’ll roll over on that one as long as the ads don’t compromise the site’s integrity. Thanks for dropping by and commenting Mr FOB.

  9. I think you’ve made a fantastic decision. Short term gains for long term losses aren’t definitely something that should be cherished. It’s also not my intention to earn mega wads of money from my blog, just at least enough to pay for hosting costs to keep the blog afloat. Great post!

    1. Cheers FS. Although I didn’t start off writing my blog to make money, I am constantly amazed by the sums that some are making on their sites. If I could cover my costs I’d be happy but if my blog started generating larger sums I wouldn’t say no, as long as the integrity of my site isn’t compromised.

  10. I think you made the right decision and I’d like to think I’d do the same if the situation ever arose. Just like some people are happy to sell an old banger of a car to an unsuspecting punter, some bloggers I’m sure do fall for this kind of carrot. In the long term, if you want to build up a community that trusts you, you have to make decisions people respect!

    1. Hi Sarah and thanks for dropping by and commenting. Nice analogy with the old banger for sale although I do hope that most FI bloggers won’t fall for such tricks. The trust thing is huge for me personally. If I read a blog, or any informational website, and all I see is ‘sell, sell, sell” it loses all credibility with me very quickly.

  11. Good for you for sticking to your guns and only promoting things that line up with your values. I know the money probably would have been nice but it sounds like you value your integrity more. Which is awesome. Thanks for sharing!!!

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