I’ve been embroidering long enough, and shamelessly advertising myself long enough, that I have had my share of opportunities from locals, online sellers, and agents for marketing companies. But I’ve had a lot more spammy messages from people trying to get me to sign up for a class I don’t want or need, or send my work out for free. I’ve gotten pretty good at investigating these opportunities when they present themselves – you may have seen my happy face snap tab in advertising for BP around the country! – so I thought I would share some of my tips for distinguishing a real opportunity from a faker.

  1. If anyone ever tells you to pay money for them to “represent” you, run!
    Remember how we tell young women who want to be models, that if a photographer asks for a huge sum of money to take photos or do any “professional development,” it’s a scam? If someone thinks you could be a big deal, they’re prepared to invest in you.
  2. GOOGLE!
    We have the world at our fingertips. If you get a message from “Sarah at XYZ Marketing Agency” asking for a sample of your work to be considered for a big job, google her! Search for the agency. Searched for the individual’s LinkedIn account. Do some digging.
  3. Ask more experienced friends for help.
    That’s what we’re here for, right? Ask in a Facebook group or Etsy forum. “Has anyone received a request for a sample from Molly at ABC Press?” Artists love to help each other get more exposure and succeed.
  4. Ask questions.
    Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable that this is a legitimate opportunity. What will be involved? How many? When? etc. If someone is out to scam you, they’re probably not going to spend too much time engaging in details – there are too many other fish in the sea to exchange emails with you for a week.
  5. Listen to your gut.
    Finally, mind your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. It’s okay to say, “I’m not interested at this time, thank you for the opportunity!”