The below text is an example of an email I – and I’m sure many of other Freelance Designers / Developers – get all too often. It goes a little something like this:
Dear Sir / Madaaaam,
We’ve just come across your work and we think you would be a good match to work on our super-exciting new project.
I’m sure you hear this all the time, but we really think we’ve thought up the next Facebook / Next-Huge-Thing. We really think it’s going to be worth billions.
We’d really love for you to spend months of your time working on a design and developing our half thought-out ideas in the hope that you will make us very, very rich.
Unfortunately we can’t afford to pay you anything.
Would this be of interest to you?
Now I appreciate that some of these people will have legitimately awesome ideas and they’re genuinely looking for someone to help facilitate their dreams, but it seems these people care little for the time and effort required of the Designer / Developer they’re looking to hire / bleed dry.
Freelance Designers and Developers are just like every other small company on the planet in that we don’t have a huge amount of cash and are often going from job to job in the effort to pay the rent, pay taxes, pay the bills, feed the cat and we’re not always in the position to work pro bono on anything, least of all a lengthy project that will only seemingly benefit the non-paying client.
This is an old adage, but would you really approach an architect & construction company and say: “Hey! I’ve had an AMAZING idea for a skyscraper that I want to create that will make me GAZILLIONS of pounds! I’d like you for you build it for me… but I’m not going to pay you. INTERESTED?”
Because if we did that, we would be being very disrespectful and well, pretty stupid.