Call it the curse of being a service entrepreneur and a creative professional.
Throughout the past four years, I have been asked countless times if I can “just help out with a website” or “can we lower the price” of such and such. When I was first starting out (back in 2007), I was happy to do a project here and there for very low cost, because I was trying to build up a portfolio.
But now, no. Hell no.
I have worked on more design projects than I can count, I’m not needing to “build a portfolio” and finding new clients isn’t a problem that I’m facing, so why would I agree to “help out with a website” for free or at a discount?
(You wouldn’t walk into Starbucks and ask for a free latte.)
Granted, it may appear as if I’m making money from nothing, just sitting at my computer all day, or just pushing a button on the camera. But there’s so much more that goes into the business:
- Equipment (computer, software, camera, lenses, lighting equipment)
- Training and workshops to build on my skills
- Conferences and meetings to network
- Gas money to drive to client meetings and photo shoots
And the list goes on and on…
Yes, I charge more than $99 for logo design. And if you want to pay that for a logo from one of those bargain websites, go right ahead. But, if you choose to work with me, you aren’t only paying for a logo design, you are paying for all of the branding and marketing knowledge that I have gained over the past x years as a designer and all of the experience that I have gained from attending conferences and workshops.
And please don’t ask me to look at your website and give you free feedback about the design and structure. Looking through your website takes time, as well as analyzing and typing out a list of things that can be improved. And how do I make money? By exchanging my valuable time to work on design & branding projects.
(Although, I am more than happy to book consultations, please email me for rate information).
And now, to contradict what I have just written, there are a few exceptions to my rule. There are a few conditions and projects that I would be happy to do pro-bono (for the time being):
- Types of projects that I will do pro-bono: photo assignments, writing assignments
- Large publications (eg. Southern Living, Bon Appetit, National Geographic, etc.)
- Non-profit marine animal conservation organizations
- Projects or events that will expose me to high-profile people or organizations that could potentially boost my career.
- Barter for services I actually need (eg. legal advice, copywriting)
- Brainstorming with fellow women business owners who are part of my “support system” (blog post coming soon)
And to recap, these are the types of projects that I will NOT do pro-bono:
- web design
- graphic design
- logo & identity
- blog design
No, I won’t design a website for you for free.
No, you can’t have a discount.
And no, you may not pick my brain.