Why didn’t you take my offer?
If you’ve landed here, most likely I’ve sent you here because you asked me to do some work for you in exchange for either no pay, or future earnings. And I want to take this opportunity to explain a few things to you.
Here’s the summary:
Pay me with your credit card instead of a promise of future earnings. It’s not my business; therefore, I should not be the one to eat the risk.
Let’s talk money here
You want to make money, I want to make money, we all want to make money. And I’m pretty sure you don’t like the idea of working for free or cheap. Neither do I. That said, rather than just say “no,” I’d like to educate you on the way things work now. Even if you never contact me again, it is my hope that this education will help you down the road the next time you try to contract with a designer or developer.
There is a movement in the design and development world called NO!SPEC. You can visit the site at the link below, but I’ll give you a basic summary:
NO!SPEC stands for “No Speculation.” The ideology is that people should not work on the promise of money (speculating that they will get paid). Most often this situation appears in the form of design contests, or companies that put out calls for “samples” or “ideas” and later pick one from a bunch of them.
While some see this as a way to get a contract, or a way to boost your portfolio, the fact remains… only one guy gets money. The rest did all that work for nothing. Additionally dangerous are situations where the requesting company now has full rights to all the designs, even the ones that weren’t chosen (or paid).
What does that have to do with anything?
You’re essentially asking me to work on spec. You want me to potentially spend hundreds of hours – hours I could be spending on a project that actually pays me for my work – working on your project or idea based on the mere promise of payment.
Let me put it to you this way… do you ever go into any other professional’s office and ask the same? Imagine: You go to a barber. You say that you absolutely have got to get an amazing haircut to land this job for which you’re interviewing tomorrow, but you can’t pay him until you get the job. You ask him to give you a free cut, and you’ll pay him double when you get your first check.
Now the barber is in a really tough spot. He doesn’t make much on cuts as it is, and now you want him to spend an hour cutting your hair for free. He doesn’t know you, and it’s extremely likely that if you don’t get the job, you won’t be back to tell him. Even if you do get the job, it’s possible you still won’t pay him. How does he know whether you will or not?
So the smart barber looks at you and says: Pay with a credit card, or give me your watch to hold. That’s how things work.
Risk versus reward
You have what you feel is a great idea. Awesome! Great ideas are hard to come by. Unfortunately, mediocre ideas that never generate any profit are a dime-a-dozen. Moreover, ideas that never even get off the ground are plentiful. There’s a few reasons why this happens:
- 1) No business plan
- 2) Not understanding what you’re doing
- 3) Jumping on bandwagons with no clue what to do next
- 4) Assuming you understand more than you really do
So, there’s a huge risk that your idea won’t turn out to be anything more than a fanciful dream, and there will be no profits in the future to repay me for my services or expertise.
In the “real world,” starting a business is very hard. You need certain fundamental things:
- 1) An idea that can generate profit
- 2) A business plan to realize that profit
- 3) Startup capital to pay for personnel, equipment, services
- 4) The guts to do it.
I don’t doubt that you have numbers 1 and 4. Numbers 2 and 3 are the problem here. So, what to do about it?