Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The problem with professional favors is that...

...at some point, one would have to ask one of two things:

How can this person ever find the means by which to repay this favor?


Am I willing to -- or can I afford to -- do this out of the kindness of my heart without expectations of any future compensation?

At this point, I really can't afford to do much out of the kindness of my heart; some things tug on my heart strings to the point of crippling pain, but I can only give so much of myself before I'm out on the street.

Unfortunately, I am slowly realizing that I am probably the only solid web designers that many of my close friends know. This comes to my attention, because my last four years have been spent primarily in the company or writers, photographers, reporters, artists, musicians, designers (clothing or similar), models, and a handful of other programmers and engineers.

The programmers find themselves very capable of handling their own web design, but most of them don't have a requirement to sell themselves as an individual product. The same is true for engineers, since both groups would be able to easily work in firms where individual presence is negligible.

Unfortunately for the rest of those people -- the ones who have chosen careers in artistic or individually-competitive fields -- the most crucial tools to them are their experience, professionalism, and marketability as personal product. In today's industry, the fastest way to do this is to make contacts and develop a web presence. I have known this for more than a decade.

But it seems suddenly, many of these people are only just embracing this revelation. That's where I [apparently] come in! In the past 72 hours, I have been approached by at least four different people about the prospect of building them a website. So, I prepared a response which I posted to Facebook earlier today:

"Yes, I know many people want to develop a web presence. Yes, I do know how to build a website and get you the resources people need to make that side functional. But be forewarned: it is not inexpensive to do something that isn't a free blog, at some point you will have to take over control of your site (i.e. I cannot ...be held accountable for user error), and no it will NOT look or function as well as the following:Because you are most likely not a millionaire. But if you need my help, and you are willing to compensate, then yes, I will help you if I have the time as long as you PROMISE not to be like this: How Web Design Goes Straight to Hell"

So like I said, I'm not opposed to doing favors. As I was reminded this weekend, nothing should be beneath me at this point; but it's not that. Right now it's just a matter of finances and demand. And if one person asks the favor and is willing to compensate, then if I have the time to make myself -- as a personal resource -- available to others, shouldn't I rightly require compensation from them as well?

Just some ranting, and food for thought.

Over and out,



  1. Out of curiosity, what's the going rate these days to have a personal Web site built?

  2. The research I've done says, "Avoid hourly pay unless there's a set minimum number of hours the client must pay for (including time spent consulting)." At that point, hourly charges range from $35 -- someone who only knew the basics -- to the highest I saw being $80 -- someone who was doing personalized flash design and video bumps for their client. Theoretically, that should put me around the $45 an hour range.

    Major freelance contract projects are invoiced, with an initial price being charged for starting the project, and additional costs per page, utility, subdomain, database, and reference used, as well as cost for site maintenance being halded by the actual owner (i.e. server space, domain name, etc.).

    I don't plan on charging someone I know an arm and a leg to help them set up a simple, quaint, working site based on a template. I always recommend template sites for personal use, because it cuts the cost. It requires someone to READ the code and edit it to fit the users' requirements rather than spend three months building the entire thing from scratch (which is quite difficult without a full team).