Blogging Lesson: Learn From Your Mistakes
I recently was asked to be a regular contributor to the U.S. News & World Report My Money Blog. It was a nice honor and I graciously accepted. For my first article, my editor asked me to think about the possibility of an article related to taxes as we approach the dreaded tax season.
My first thought was “NO WAY”, I am not a tax expert, nor do I play one on TV. I should have followed my gut, but after some deliberation in my own head, I decided that I could write something about tax write-offs to consider if you’re self-employed. After all, I have been self-employed for the past 11 years I know a good amount about home office deductions and the like. Editor said “great” and so I was off to the races.
Bottom-line: I didn’t do enough research. I wrote the piece from my perspective only and didn’t consider that not everyone who is self-employed works 100% from home. The home office deduction gets really fuzzy if you don’t work exclusively from home and can be a red-flag to the IRS. The article got picked up by Yahoo! Finance, which my editor said was a really good thing, but the comments quickly corrected my advice as not completely accurate. As is the case with anonymous comments on the Internet some were completely rude, although I found this one funny:
My Mom is going to be sooo flattered, she was referred to on Yahoo!.
What I Learned From This Experience
I am always telling my kids that we all make mistakes but the most important thing is to learn from them and move on. Mistakes serve as amazing opportunities for real character growth for all of us, both personally and professionally. It was time for me to take my own advice. I absolutely hate the fact that I published something that is not accurate and could possibly cause someone harm with the IRS. Initially, I thought some of the comments were unfair, but I realized a long time ago that you have to have thick skin when it comes to anonymous commenters. It is literally impossible to find a news story online that does not have at least 1 rude comment.
So after getting wind of my inaccuracies, I immediately emailed my editor so see what my options were. Could I update the post? If so, would the article on U.S. News & World Report and Yahoo! Finance be updated? I also considered leaving a comment apologizing and admitting that my advice was not complete.
In the end, I was able to update the article on U.S. News & World Report website with the correct information and am still waiting for the Yahoo! article to be updated as of today.
What a great lesson for me as I start to take this blogging thing more seriously. I have to either stick to topics that I know like the back of my hand, or do a TON of research before I put fingers to keys.
Have you had any experiences like mine where you may have bit off more than you could chew? If so, how did you handle the situation? I look forward to any comments.
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