topher

The other day I posited whether I should be doing what I’m doing for a living.  My doubt is not whether I’m capable, or skilled.  In my day job I have no doubts whatsoever that I’m the right man for the job.  I know where they’re going, what they’re doing, and I have the time to Do It Right.

But in the evening, at home, I do side jobs for small ministries.  Places that work on a shoestring budget, and need a web site that’s easy to maintain, and inexpensive to have.  A couple times now I’ve gotten to the end of a project, and found disappointment, and even fear, in the client.  Disappointment because it’s not as easy as they’d hoped, and fear because they’ve blown the annual spare change budget on a web site, and the web site doesn’t cut it.

What’s to be done?  Obviously, they still need a web site.  Should they pay me MORE money to "fix" it?  Do I spend a bunch of time for free fixing it for them?

So far, I’ve ended up doing a bunch of free work.  Partly because they just don’t have any more money, and partly because I want to leave a happy client.  But that gets old FAST.  I’m not making any money, I’m not spending time with my family, and I’m not really making a "happy" client, I’m making a content client.

I guess what I really want is to hit a home run every time, and no-one can.  And I know that I can’t really leave this line of work, I’d die.  ­čÖé

Thanks for talking through it with me, and the kind words.  I read the other day that most bloggers look on blogging as a kind of therapy, and I believe it.

2 thoughts on “Clarifying my position

  1. Well, that might be even more obvious.
    Don’t do it for them. There are lots of FrontPage Coders who can do a cheap job for a small business or org, and the org can maintain it cheaply.

    Alternately, it could be considered a ministry, but still, consider what projects are worth your time and suited to your skills. If someone just needs their five pages plus download the file of the week here, that can be template work for somebody else. FrontPage was designed for those people.

  2. i am SO with you on this. i think the bottom line is that people don’t understand what’s involved in putting together a great web site. they wanna pay $500 for a $5,000 site. i have wrestled with this for years, and have come to two conculsions, one of which echoes some comments others have shared.

    1. stewardship of my time, experience, and energy. i really like to help people. i hate seeing a ministry with a lame web site. especially a ministry i believe in. but my time is worth more than the $8 an hour i’ll end up getting paid by trying to help them out.

    i am a limited resource, i have financial goals i want to meet, and i have a life and relationships that need attention and energy.

    2. people value what they pay for. i’ve seen this over and over again. the clients i charge top dollar trust my experience and expertise and value my time. *most* of the clients i give a break to don’t.

    i’ve stopped doing sites for start-ups and people on a shoestring budget. i’m happy to tell them about building their own site using templates, but i’m done doing work for nearly nothing. i feel false guilt every once in a while, but mostly, it’s great. great to work with clients who value my time and are willing to pay for it.

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