Yeah, there’s a point to this one. You just have to get past the rant.
For anyone that knows me, has met me, or simply asked directions, I’m willing to talk about pretty much anything and everything. I’ve been told upon occasion, I can even be entertaining, or at least a warning to young children about what happens if they grow up to be like me.
(Do your homework kids.)
At one point, I was in the media, and I have occasionally still contributed to a variety of publications, mostly on technology, project management, or professional development. Other times, I’ll do a little something about writing and fiction.
If you want my opinion on Cthulhu for President, I’ll probably have one. And be more than willing to share it. (For the moment, I’m waiting to see what an elder god’s opinion is on concealed carry and NC HB2.)
In short, if someone wants a blog post, article or interview, I’m pretty good about doing them as long as I see your e-mail. And you can put up with a smart ass.
Names from here on out have been changed to protect the guilty, but I’ve had a couple of people hit me up recently for contributions, but with a twist. They want me to pay them for the privilege of being interviewed.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue charging for services, and if everyone agrees, it’s like anything else. I’ve spent most of my career consulting. I understand charging by the hour, and both charging any paying for services.
The first person tried to explain how they charged to help defray their website costs. That makes sense, except they also ran a lot of advertising and affiliate programs. Again, I don’t have a problem with that, but I politely declined based on the numbers. If they have the volume they proclaim, then the “nominal fee” shouldn’t be a factor in running the site. If, based on what I saw, they need my nominal fee for operating costs, they don’t have enough volume to be of any benefit.
And oh yeah, don’t ask me to write a professional piece based on my own developed materials for you to run on your site, and then give me a contract taking ownership of my IP.
And the second case, I had someone talk to me, they enjoyed some work I’d done, etc., and came to me for a blog post. Nothing big. Happy to do it.
The response was “Great, when can you deliver it.” And attached to the questionnaire was an invoice for $100 for marketing services, and a rate sheet for other services.
Needless to say, I again almost politely declined. Polite mostly because it was in writing.
Again, I have no problems charging for services. I do it myself. If I am working with someone, depending on what it is, if you want a significant amount of my time and expertise, yeah, I’m going to charge you. It may be a beer, or real hourly rates, depending on how much I like you. But I’m up front about it.
Back door sales stuff pisses me off. Almost as much as the guy that sat in the driveway last week honking his horn for me to come out for him to do a sales pitch. Yeah, it was too much work to get out of his truck until I put the conference call I was in the middle of on hold to find out what jackass was setting off the dogs.
He didn’t get the business either.
Among the creative community, we have all been asked to do something for the “exposure.” I’ve even swapped it off. And yeah, I’ve done free work as a contribution. And I’ll do it in the future.
Out of choice.
So why am I writing this little rant?
Whether you’re a writer, an artist, a musician, a magician doing kids parties, YOUR TIME AND SKILLS ARE VALUABLE. Spend them wisely. Time is not an infinite resource. Make educated decisions. Treat your endeavors like a business.
Even if you’re only engaged in your creative work part time and aren’t making a living at it, YOUR TIME AND SKILLS ARE VALUABLE. And so are the time and skills of everyone else.
I have a lot of fun doing posts, and contributing to other people’s sites. I’m always happy to boost the message for people who are getting work out the door. My door is always open for someone who wants or needs help, even if it’s just an encouraging word or feedback.
And I’m willing to pay for valuable services when I need to, because I know time and skills are valuable. But if you’re asking a creative type for time or money in a way that benefits you, ask yourself how it benefits them too. That couple of hours it may take someone two write some copy for you, the Photoshop and graphics work for your event, whatever it is you need and are asking for. Remember, that’s time the other person isn’t spending working on their own stuff, or binging on Netflix. Be thankful and respectful of what others do, and remember.
Exposure isn’t remuneration. I’m not saying don’t do free work. Just think about it like loaning $20 to a friend. Don’t plan on getting it back, but if it pays off, it’s a bonus. Do it because you want to. Not because of guilt, or some nebulous perceived payoff.
And yeah, I’d love to swap blog posts.