My Love-Hate Relationship With Social Media

Craig W. Smalley, EA
Founder/CEO
CWSEAPA PLLC
Columnist
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Let me start by saying I know Social Media is a necessity. I am on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but I quit managing my Facebook and Twitter pages along time ago. 

My wife found some struggling college kids that post my articles.  However, the one Social Media site I manage myself, and don’t ask me why, is LinkedIn.  The thing that I have determined about LinkedIn is that it is full of salespeople.  Here is a story about what happened to me recently:

First of all, a pet peeve of mine is a lazy salesperson.  Before I meet with a prospect, I usually do a lot of research on them so I get some sort of idea of who they are.  I have determined that the reason these salespeople are trolling LinkedIn is because they don’t do their homework.

I got a message from someone on LinkedIn that wanted me to speak at a cannabis event in California.  My rule, is that all of my expenses are paid for between my wife and myself. Then this person mentions they want me to be a sponsor of the event.  That is always a no-go for me. 

People pay large fees to come to these conferences and I’m not going to spend any of my money to sponsor one.  I will let my speaking do my promotion.  Then she gets bolder and talks about a program they have called revenue-share.  I play dumb and ask what revenue-share entails.

Revenue-share, if you don’t know is where this company sends you qualified leads.  How they are qualified is unknown.  If you get them as a client, then you share a portion of the revenue with the referring company.  Sometimes as high as 50 percent of the revenue. 

My advertising budget boils down to my time to write, speak at events, and do countless interviews.  All are free, by the way, unless you count the time it takes.  But I love to write, speak, and do interviews, so its no big deal.  This revenue-share was for any cannabis client that got referred. 

I’ve been in cannabis [tax work] for almost eight years and it is a close-knit society.  You do right by one client, the next thing you know, you are being referred to everyone. 

I not only do the tax work and tax planning, I also provide consulting services.  Between all that I write about cannabis, and these referrals I get, why would I need to pay someone for a “qualified lead.”  I abruptly ended the conversation with this person stating that they should do their homework before they try to sell something to someone that doesn’t need it.

In the beginning, I made a lot of trips to speak, on my dime.  Eventually, I started getting paid and getting my expenses reimbursed.  I get asked back to the same conventions every year, because people want to hear what I have to say.  I’m doing all the work, and I’m not giving one penny to some salesperson.  I decided that I was no longer going to accept invites from salespeople, or those that appear to be sales people.

The other nonsense I get on LinkedIn is someone wanting to get into cannabis or crypto, or anything else, and they want me to teach them.  Now, I am not a jerk.  I get at least seven emails a day from professionals needing help, which I will help.  However, why would I help someone break into a market that I am doing very well in?  Do they really think that I want the competition?

I honestly don’t care if you email me with something you are stuck on, or want to have a philosophical discussion about something I wrote.  Just keep in mind, no one helped me, and in this business it is something you have to keep on top of, do research daily.  If you aren’t dedicated to it, no matter what I tell you, you won’t be successful.

I often tell people that taxes and tax law is my hobby and it is.  I am constantly reading about it, I just happen to get paid for it.

About Craig W. Smalley, EA

Craig Smalley

Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as representation before the IRS regarding negotiations, audits, and appeals. In his many years of practice, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses and has an excellent knowledge of most industries. He is the CEO and co-founder of CWSEAPA PLLC and Tax Crisis Center LLC; both business have locations in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada. Craig is the current Google small business accounting advisor for the Google Small Business Community. He is a contributor to AccountingWEB and Accounting Today, and has had 12 books published on various topics in taxation. His articles have also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, and several other newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He has been interviewed and been a featured guest on many radio shows and podcasts. Finally, he is the co-host of Tax Avoidance is Legal, which is a nationally broadcast weekly Internet radio show.

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