Sunday, March 22, 2009

free or slavery?

when it comes to helping your friends, there is always a place where you have to ask yourself, "what is this worth?"

there's always a point when, because you're doing something for nothing, they run you round in circles "getting it perfect."

their answer is they are so personally-invested in the product, they are so close to it, that they have to call you at 3am with a BRILLIANT idea that disregards everything you've said to them so far.

everything that you've spent 15 or 20 years learning and perfecting and getting well-paid for doing.

here's where the problem starts.

most people don't respect what they get for free. (and if they get it for even half-price, somewhere in their minds, they are thinking that if they REALLY HAD THE MONEY they'd go to the expensive guy.)

perceived value. sadly.

i was talking to a lawyer the other day and i really liked her. so i said, "could i hire you?"

and she said, "you can't afford me."

and then of course, i was desperate to figure out how to get the money to pay for her services. she referred me to another lawyer who charges a very fair price and, of course, i secretly believed the other person was substandard.

that's why when your friend (or your mum's friend or a friend of a friend) asks you to help rather than hiring someone to design her logo or write her tagline, she is never totally happy with any of your work.

in the end, after you've worked like a dog, she takes your design/tagline - the style of which has been good enough for several multimillion corporations - and futzes with it in appleworks or something and decides that she could have just done it herself all along.

and when (if) she becomes really successful, she will hire fabien baron or doug lloyd or something.


i suggest that - unless you are helping a friend with a not-for-profit charity and maybe even then - you should charge them. even more if they are a family friend.

if they don't have cash, charge a percentage of profits or sales or something that equals what you would charge in real life.

you can have a contract that shows a donation of services to a not-for-profit

and/or one that requires them to mention you in any PR or press materials.

because not being appreciated when you're working for nothing is just slavery.

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