I cannot agree more with Kena’s post last week: “Will Work For Free? Seriously…Is It Written Across My Forehead?” I have also dealt with surprisingly high numbers of requests for free business and web development consulting. Anyone who has worked with us knows that we are fair about our rates and work hard for what we do. And I am sure that we are not the only ones.
Bartering can be a really great option for people starting out, but it does not pay the bill$. So many of us offer free advice and tools for other businesses on our blogs. We share DIY information and resources on our blogs, on our Facebook Pages and even Twitter. These are enormous contributions to others who are starting out, so we should not feel obligated to donate more of our time towards the greater good of others. Should we?
We must also be careful about how we agree to be paid as well. I have had some very unusual offers about compensation for my work. I had one fairly large company recently that wanted me to build an entire e-commerce site for them and get 5% of the sales of the site. Things like this sound really great if a site is already up and getting traffic, but this one wasn’t.
I would have been responsible for providing free SEO (so that the site could be found and sell some of their goods so I would get paid), web design, development, e-commerce accounts setup, graphics research and customization, and so much more to bring it all together. There are hundreds of tasks to be done for setting up a site like this. Many companies are out there investing thousands of dollars on services like these and they weren’t willing to even offer a down payment!
Needless to say, after doing the math and considering the hours of work involved I said no thank you. It’s like Kena said, it’s not like I don’t want to help people. Anyone who knows me knows that I am willing to point you in the right direction, however, now I am getting more and more people who are coming to me for direction and that is cutting into my billable hours. I am going to have to start charging business planning and analysis fees to make ends meet.
Now that half of the year is already over, we need to revisit our financial goals for the year and make sure that we are not losing focus on doing what is right for ourselves and our businesses.
Say it with me: “I’m worth every penny!”