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Gift Horse Killed

June, 05, 2014 | Articles,The Curve

Having expectations in a business like web design can sometime lead to anger and frustration. This only happens, when you decide to do something out of the goodness of your heart and not for monetary reasons. A while ago, one of my university instructors admitted that he designed and developed several websites for free, when he was just a noob in the business. I strongly disagreed with that concept, but he assured me that it is a necessary evil. Contrary to his belief, this approach is not tailor made for everyone. This goes for both, client and designer. If you are still not sure, does the term, gift horse killed by crazy client strike a nerve?

As a designer, you are – at least I am quite passionate about what I do. I am not in the habit of delivering less than good quality work simply because no money is involved. After all, my reputation is on the line. With that in mind, I make it my business to deliver an adequate product. One should also keep in mind that everyones time is valuable. I would rather work on a project for free, than work on the cheap. If a client decides to just toss a few hundred bucks your way, and you accept it, you are both at fault. Selling templates, WordPress themes or one size fits all work is not the same as a custom design. Once you accept that short money, the relationship can only go south. From a business perspective, the client might take you for granted and assume that you will work for scraps. Scraps, cannot pay the bills. At some point, you might begin to feel uncomfortable about the entire situation and have an uncontrollable urge to end it asap.

What usually leads to the disconnection of designer and client is a lack of understanding. From the clients perspective, he or she do not see your passion or even have a clue about what it took for you become a web designer. Most importantly, many clients tend to group anyone that works a keyboard in the same category. Some clients refer to web designers as the IT guy, or expect you to know how to hack government databases. I once watched a video by a famous web designer out of Brooklyn NY, whose entire oration was based on saying “No” to that certain type of client. He went over how some designers will be pressed to get their name out or desperate to start earning. Sometimes you just do not have the luxury of saying “no”. Regardless of your situation, I am leaning towards the fact that you have to turn some people down in order to maintain your sanity.

Mr. Blox

I dream in code, find conformity repulsive and drink excessive amounts of coffee...

10 Responses to “Gift Horse Killed”

  1. Jaime

    June 5, 2014

    This is why I have not quit my day job as much as I would love to be my own boss exclusively

  2. Lindsay

    June 6, 2014

    Seems like you’re trying to work with a people that don’t really understand this business.

    • Ian Mbe

      June 7, 2014

      Is that your real picture?

    • Pink

      January 25, 2017

      Admiring the commitment you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed infnomation. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  3. Robby-O

    June 6, 2014

    People are strange like that, they want something for nothing and also want room to complain

  4. David

    June 7, 2014

    Very personal Dan…

  5. Anna M.

    June 7, 2014

    As a recruiter, I often run into clients that have no idea about what skill sets they are really in need of. This can be challenging for me since I am the one that does the screening for their potential new employee

    • Heather

      June 5, 2014

      That can be so frustrating, especially when they are spewing the spiel from a third party that is so negative and full of contradiction.

  6. Barnet

    June 7, 2014

    Working for free is completely un-American…