I have a couple of projects. (found your website on google). Like the site but not sure of protocol. I guess I would be considered a person who needs to hire some help. How would you suggest I do so? I seek students because they are not set in their ways and I need flexibility in finding the best solution – not the one that is most ingrained in the contractor I randomly connect with. I need a tutor – a mentor – a free thinker who can research and apply appropriate technology to web (with database) applications.
After sitting for a few days to digest what was really behind the email, I decided not to respond. One main reason is because they supplied their phone number, and the area code was out of town (I prefer to work with more local clients), and another reason is that they sent it to me here through STF, and not to me through my professional site. But the other reason was the contradiction that seemed to be going on here, which made me uneasy. Can you spot the contradiction?
Before I go into the contradiction, let me step back and explain a few things. Since I have been freelancing (three years this month), I have always been a student. I learned early on that unfortunately there are people that want to take advantage of students. Thus, I learned quickly how to spot troublesome clients, especially when it comes to my student status. Since I have learned this, it makes me very uneasy to work with clients and potential clients that personally seek out students and don’t follow up with a solid explanation on why.
So the contradiction here that was a huge red flag were the lines “I seek students because they are not set in their ways” and “I need a tutor-a mentor-a free thinker who can research and apply appropriate technology.”
Now I could be completely wrong, and totally off base, but from experience, people who seek out students to complete their projects do so because they know students are typically not very experienced when it comes to running a business. This makes students very vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
The reason the two lines above are contradictions to me is because they are seeking two different individuals. They are seeking a student and a consultant. Consultants charge big bucks for their advice, while students typically charge very little while they are in school and starting out. So what kind of a person was this person wanting to hire?
To me, this person was seeking the advice and direction of a consultant at a student price. So the issue isn’t that this person doesn’t think that the student can’t complete the work, but rather it is one based on price versus quality.
This is the reason I stress to students to charge what you are worth. If you feel that you and your work are worth more than you currently charge, then raise your rates. This will help keep “red flag” clients away. If I responded to this person with my consultation rate, I probably wouldn’t hear a response back, because they are shopping on price and price alone.
The moral of the story? Conduct your freelancing as a business, and become “set in your ways” where it comes to your pricing, your value, your worth, and your business policies. I hope that this example email will allow you to spot troublesome clients before you start working with them, and give you things to look for when discussing with prospects.
What would your response be to the above email?