I saw an ad that got me thinking about my work philosophy and expectations. “Why I charge $10,000 for Building a WordPress Site”
No kidding! Me too! (I’m joking.)
I help people start, manage, and complete online projects with quick and affordable “get to the goal” graphic design, copywriting, website management, ecommerce shop management, SEO, social media management,and photo/video editing services. I make myself available to your cause.
I’ve always wanted to have my own website, blog, or space, since the web became a thing at my mom’s house, in like, 1993. I never thought too much about what the subject matter would be. I figured I would just share my personal experience.
But…what is my experience and do I really want to share it? Never mind. The subject of the site doesn’t matter that much. I just happen to really enjoy almost all of the elements involved building websites and other things for the internet.
I enjoy beautifying online real estate, making terrible photos look dazzling, and creating specialized buttons and well-timed GIFS. I love colors that pop. I love writing and always keep a journal, even if it is scattered across several mediums and multiple physical locations, uncategorized. I have always hoped to share some of my journal with the world, just to contribute something to the Recorded Knowledge of Known Knowns of Being… or, I suppose, if I am honest, to have my say, to be heard.
I spend a great deal of time researching different subjects. I find myself curious about many things and my first response to my own curiosity is to begin making a mental checklist of possible information resources and compiling all of my questions. Sometimes, maybe too often, I become so deeply fascinated with a particular subject or idea that I’ll fully entertain the idea of earning a PhD on the subject.
To be successful online, in a financial sense or otherwise, requires finding and engaging with an audience, which is something I often claim to be uninterested in. I may have been shamed as a child for wanting attention, making self-promotion rather challenging today. (I’m letting that go now. I swear.)
Over time, the cheerful enthusiasm which has been a cornerstone of my personality across time, space, and social circles, has matured into a dogged perseverance. At times, when challenged, I do recognized a need to shift focus, but giving up entirely is almost never a serious consideration. I always say: if there is no solution, then there can’t possibly be a problem.
Working solo as I do, I could create and fully manage maybe 8 – 10 websites in a year’s time. That is not due to any laziness on my part, but is the result of my insistence on giving my best to whatever undertaking I choose to accept. It doesn’t feel good to me to “half ass” anything and I truly do take pride in my work. All work.
For example, during a short stint as a house cleaner back in 2006-7, I discovered more enjoyable aspects of the work than I expected. First, there is the immediate payoff of making something dirty clean. The dirtier something is, the worse it is, the greater the immediate pay off for me when I clean it.
There was also the payoff of knowing how happy my customers would be. As I would exit the home, I would always turn around at the door and take one last look at the home, breathe deep, and imagine the feeling of satisfaction and ease that my customers would experience upon entry to their home at the end of their workday.
I believe that without a strong commitment to a job well done, any task is rendered menial.
Here’s something interesting I’ve noticed:
When I was cleaning houses, or otherwise engaged in menial tasks for pay, nobody ever asked me if I would like to work for free. Nobody ever offered me “exposure” in exchange for my work. “If you clean my house for free, my guests will see it and I’ll tell them you did it”. Can you imagine? You have to imagine because it never actually happens in real life.
Yet it astonishes me, as an artist, writer, and creator; who has spent tens of thousands of hours developing my skills and as many dollars on formal education; how often I am offered the “opportunity” to work for less than minimum wage, no money at all, or worse, for “exposure”.
Here is my response to being asked to work solely for exposure:
Your project can only give me exposure if it is a success. And how is it going be a success if the people whose skills and time you require are consumed with worry over making their rent or mortgage payment? How likely do you think they are to be taking calls if the bill collectors are breathing down their necks, and blowing up their phones?
I get things done; things that you don’t have the skills, time, or energy to do yourself. You expect that I will provide some form of tangible work product to you within a designated time frame. By asking me to do this in exchange for exposure, you are asking me to pay you in advance with my skills, time, and energy, for an undefined possibility at some undetermined point in the future.
Unless your offer is something tangible, that I have an immediate need for, and you can deliver within a designated time frame, you are asking me to provide you with a service in exchange for exactly nothing; you are asking me to volunteer my services while making it seem like a barter. It’s shifty.
Not only is it shifty, but unless you are some kind of celebrity, you may also be delusional to think that providing a service for you for free is going to result in so much exposure that it will make an actual difference in my world. The more likely result, if any, is that I end up with a reputation for not knowing my own worth and being easily taken advantage of.
I LOVE helping people reach goals, but I hope you can understand that I’m not willing to slowly kill myself by neglecting my basic needs to help you out.
I look forward to a time when I can afford the rewarding feeling of volunteering my services to a cause I believe in, but that time will never come if I accept work from shifty people who want to compensated me only with possible “exposure”.
My rates for services are very affordable in the first place, and I guarantee you that I do a lot of little extra things that aren’t explicitly stated in my service description, and spend more time on your project than you’d think, to make the magic happen. I almost always go the extra mile to provide excellent service.
I want to be fully up front about the fact that I am a fully functioning adult human, with all of the obligations that entails. I get shit done and I do it well. I expect to be fairly and tangibly compensated for my time, energy, and skills.
While I’m not entirely opposed to an honest barter where I recieve something that I actually need, money is not an option in life. It may be the root of all evil, but however one feels philosophically about it, it is a requirement for survival, and therefore it is a requirement to receive my services.