I recently saw “The Book of Eli”, a post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.
The reason why I mention the movie is that it showed a world where money as we know it no longer existed. Instead of dollars, every-day items served as currency. Offering everyday items for services provided was a standard way of living, just like in the times before money was invented (600BC).
Sometime I feel like we are living in one of those times, before or after money was common currency. Why?
I am a designer and a marketing strategist. I work with small businesses helping them grow and succeed online. I am a business owner myself. Like my client’s, my goal is to make money so I can pay for mortgage & groceries, buy a new car when I need to, or go on vacation.
While I occasionally offer to work pro-bono when I believe in a cause and want to contribute, I mostly accept work that I’m not only interested in doing but one that pays my rate. In money.
As a freelance designer I come across interesting proposals by people in need of my service yet not very interested in paying money for it. I’m sure all graphic and web designers out there deal with clients from hell occasionally.
Some of the proposals are not so bad. I once had been offered to use a vacation home for a week and if my family situation were different I would probably consider.
Yet, most are ridiculous even offensive. Take this tweet, for example:
“Can anyone recommend a talented, fledgling graphic designer who might want to get paid in, like, home-grown & -canned tomatoes?”
Sweet. Though I grow my own tomatoes, thank you very much!
Freelance graphic and web designers are professionals who are in business and like anyone else deserve to be paid money for their work/creations.
How has it happened that there is a notion out there of hiring a designer to work in exchange for goods (canned tomatoes no less) and not money? Why is it that acceptable?
I don’t see people getting haircuts for a bucket of ice-cream or plumbing work in exchange for a batch of cupcakes. Have you ever?
Every time I see a statement such as the tweet above I am professionally offended by how much people undervalue our services & our work.
Dealing with prospective clients who are only willing to offer spare change for our work is frustrating enough. Wanting to trade produce for weeks worth of professional & creative work is downright offensive.