“Here’s the deal, I’ve got no money.
But I’ve got contributors lined up… as soon as you make this website I’ll get a bunch of donations and then I can pay you.”
Client: We love your WordPress theme designs. How much would it cost to have you do themes for us? We would be giving you pretty regular work, maybe as many as a couple a week.
Me: Well, my usual fee for a commercial site would be $1500 to $2000 but if you’re going to be bringing in consistent regular work maybe we can work out some sort of deal.
Client: Oh, we were thinking something more like $50 per theme.
Me: That’s too low. I wouldn’t be able to do that.
Client: That’s what we were paying our previous designer.
Me: Maybe you should stick with him.
Client: He was a student. He did a terrible job, never finished anything on time and disappeared on us.
Client: “What’s this invoice for?”
Me: That’s the initial deposit; you pay it to start the project and ensure my time commitment to you.
Client: I can’t pay this, I don’t have any money.
Me: “Uh… um. OK, well I can’t build you a website then.”
Client: “But you agreed to. I signed your agreement!”
Me: “I think there’s been a misunderstanding. You agreed my terms which includes paying an up front deposit. We talked about this. You said money was no object.”
Client: “Oh yes, well, I meant money’s no object after the website is built and I’ve sold all my sculptures. I can’t pay you anything now. I want you to build me a free site, then when I’m rich, I’ll pay you.”
Me: “So you want me to work for free with the possibility that I might one day get paid? I’m sorry but it doesn’t work like that.”
Client: “Of course I don’t expect you to work for free. You’ll be paid when I sell my first sculptures.”
Me: “I have a better idea. How about you sell some sculptures first, perhaps at a craft fair, then when you’ve made some money, you can use that to have me build you a site?”
Client: “Are you trying to be funny?”
Client: “…Well, you see, I don’t have much cash right now.”
Me: “Um, okay. Since you don’t have a hard deadline for this, we can do an installment plan. I’ll let you know when I have a quarter of the illustrations done and you can pay a quarter of the price when you have the money, and we’ll just repeat until the project’s done.”
Client: “Uh, well, that’s an idea, but I’m using all my available capital for printing costs. Can I sign you up for a percentage of the profits when the book sells? I mean, you’ve read it; you’ll probably make more money this way!”
Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. As an illustrator I’ve found that calculating on possible sales isn’t a good business strategy.”
Client: “What? Why not?”
Client: “The English version of the site looks good. I was thinking if we could make a Spanish as well as a Portuguese version of the site? … since the site will mainly be seen in South America?”
Me: “Ummmm …. You told me the site was mainly for an American audience! I could do it but I don’t speak any of the languages. Can you send me the translations?”
Client: “Oh that is no big deal. Just type out the text from the English version of the site into Google translate and put it in their. Also check those versions for spelling and grammatical errors.”