Free stuff and the value of what we do

I’ve taken the old blog down. Welcome to the new blog! Please read this post to learn more.

Over the last week, I’ve been under constant attack by a woman running a shampoo bar group. But that’s not what’s upset me – it’s watching people whose names I recognize jumping on the monkey pile to say bad things about me. People say to ignore it, but that’s hard to do when it’s relentless, day after day, just about everywhere I go. This year has been especially terrible – I know that when you rattle cages, people attack – but every single day, someone somewhere on Facebook thinks it’s okay to insult me personally.

Raymond said he thinks they’re trying to re-live their high school days, but this time, they get to be the mean girls. When they’re criticized, they pull out the “bye, Felicia”, “haters gonna hate”, or “jealousy is an ugly disease, hope you get better soon” gifs.

The first thing they do is criticize you about wanting to make money from your knowledge and hard work.

Why shouldn’t I be paid for my hard work? My chemistry courses at school cost $1,000 each. The viscometer and incubator I bought weren’t free either. My supplies, my equipment, my computer, my time – none of these are free – and the readers of my blog all benefit from it.

I’ve been giving away free stuff for more than nine years. I’ve given away every penny from the sales of the e-books to charity for eight years. I’ve written more than 2,900 posts that I’ve shared for free (from a total of 3,333 as of today). I have spent the last month answering pretty much every question asked of me on Facebook about shampoo bars.

But I’m a money hungry snake who has to get every dollar from her readers. I’m ruining my karma for not continuing to share my charts for free when people were using them to make money or were linking directly to them when I asked them to do a simple thing like link to the page, not the PDF. The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild happily took my energy and expertise for free, but when I criticized their terrible shampoo bar, the president accused me of doing so because I had an e-book or class to promote.

The people who want my shampoo bar formulas plan to sell the finished product: Why am I criticized for wanting to be paid for developing and perfecting them?

Because people want free stuff, and this is a very effective criticism. I’ve been deeply saddened over the last little while as people on Facebook are demanding more of my time, more of my energy, more of everything, all for free, and all the time. People have been asking me for links to my free shampoo bars in the very posts where I’ve shared them. (One person has been asking people for days to give her links because she doesn’t like searching.)

People don’t value what they get for free. They horde recipes, trade them around in closed groups, make things without learning what they’re making or even caring why they’re doing what they’re doing.

So I’m not offering free stuff any more.

I love this new blog. I’m more excited about writing and experimenting and sharing than I’ve been for a few years because you’re all so chatty and curious and fun! I wake up in the morning, and before my tea has finished steeping, I have my computer out and I’m typing away! I’ve been trying to get the people who say “I don’t read your new blog” over here so they can be part of the community because we are building a community. I don’t want to be the only voice: A community needs all the voices to create a safe space where we can experiment, fail, succeed, learn, laugh, and share. We all need to be open to being questioned or criticized, but never attacked.

The people I saw clamouring for free stuff on Facebook don’t come here to be part of a community. They don’t comment, they don’t question, they’re like ghosts that come, copy and paste, and leave. They contribute nothing, but take so much.

I’ve set the minimum subscription to this blog at $1 a month. This is my living now, and this is what I’m asking as a minimum. For that you will never see sponsored posts, affiliate links, pop ups, or “one weird trick” or banner ads. But more importantly, when someone pays for something, they’re invested, they place value on it, they appreciate it.

Thank you to all of you who have been so lovely and supportive, to those who are active members of this blog, to those who feel they’re too timid or feel too green to comment yet, to those who have challenged me to be a better formulator and writer, and to all of you who have invested in this blog and this community.

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