Working in a No Trust Zone

We’re living in an age that is quickly becoming a “No Trust” zone. If you do business on the web, you should be especially concerned by antics occurring on the national stage which are serving to erode trust.

My family, like many others, has Olympic fever. However, you don’t have to be following the games to watch the degradation of trust that is occurring on the international stage.

I’ve written before about the importance of transparency in the world of Web 2.0. The law of transparency applies to every entity whether it’s a business, a country or an individual.

Building trustWeb 2.0 can be great when you’re authentically providing valuable goods, services and information. On the other hand, it can be your worst enemy when you’ve got something to hide.

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose, especially in these days of Web 2.0 which could be called the “No Trust” Zone.   When trust is abused, it scars us and makes us less vulnerable and less willing to trust.

The problem is, when you’re doing business via the web, you’ve got a HUGE obstacle to overcome in that often you don’t meet your customers and clients face to face. For the throng of people who may visit your website, they have to TRUST that you are who you say you are. They have to TRUST that you can do what you say you can do.

Recently, as I was corresponding with my editor, the issue of trust came up. This is not the same editor I used to edit my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results, so this new editor hasn’t had the opportunity to earn my undying trust. He made an innocent comment which, little did he know, set off a multitude of alarms for me.

Fortunately, I was able to communicate with him WHY his comment had set me off. Last year, I hired a virtual assistant. I had spoken with her repeatedly as she did work for one of my clients. Long story short, I signed a contract to pay her $700 per month for a minimum of three months. I gave her a project immediately to which she claimed she was anxious and able to do. In the end, she didn’t have the skills she claimed she had. I ended up paying $2100 for something I could have created in 10 hours because she possessed neither time management skills nor the technical skills to complete the project. (Did I mention that when she finally delivered the product, it was such a mess I couldn’t use it!) She refused to refund my money and instead offered her future services. I haven’t heard from her since.

Ken McCarthy once wrote words of wisdom to which I still cling. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “9 out of 10 independent contractors don’t know what they’re doing.” He followed this statement with a story of how he hired a gentleman to create a video for him. The gentleman’s website showed an image of the man holding a high end video camera. That was enough to sell Ken on giving the guy a try. Unfortunately, when the guy showed up to the shoot, it was painfully obvious that posing with the camera was all the guy had done.

Which is why Ken recommends that you “try out” new contractors on unimportant contracts before you give them the assignment of creating something important to your business.

You’re living and working in a No Trust Zone. Your marketing, your blog, your advertising must ALL focus on a single goal: to build trust with your clients or customers. You build trust slowly, through communication. That’s why I adore blogs as marketing tools for independent service providers. A blog allows you to build trust with potential clients and customers because quite honestly, it’s hard to “fake” expertise over the course of a hundred or more posts.

Are you viewing your blog as a trust building vehicle? Do you see evidence of client’s lack of trust? How do you build trust with your potential clients and customers?


  1. It really sucks when something like that happens. And there’s nothing worse than forking out a small fortune and winding up doing the work yourself.

    Blogs are definitely a great way of building trust. I think we’re reaching a point where freelancers can’t afford not to have one.

  2. From a freelancers perspective I actually understand where you are coming from Cathy. That is why I offer a money back guarantee. Some might say it is risky, but I firmly believe that this helps me to cross those trust barriers with a new client.

    So far I have never had an issue with trust between me and clients. I also think that since I’m exposed on the web as it is, people seem to trust me more because many read my blog before they ask me to work for them.

    As an employer however I also worry about the trust issue. mainly because I don’t know whether the person will deliver what they say they do.

    Therefore I understand the issues you had with your VA. I think giving them sample work is key to a possible long term relationship. It helps to build trust and assures that both parties dance the same dance.

    Monika Mundells last blog post..Sucked Into The Lion’s Lair

  3. @Cathh

    You’re right. The VA I hired didn’t have a blog – and that should have been my first clue that time management wasn’t her strong suit!

    @ Monika

    Red flags should have gone up when she required a 3 month contract before doing ANY work.

    Once again, I bear the scars of “experience”. DARN IT! I’m anxious for the time when I start learning from other people’s experiences….. that’s known as WISDOM! That’s why I’m a regular reader of BOTH of your blogs!!!

  4. Contractors Lansdale PA says:

    Yeah, the internet is a hard place to have to work in. There is no way of know who it is you are really dealing with.


  1. […] living in a No Trust Zone and transparency is crucial to the brand development process.  If you think you’re going to […]