When trying to troubleshoot the online presence of your business, many business owners will turn to have someone do SEO work in order to have their business “found” online. As a web developer, I will say for the most part that it is not the website that is the problem. It’s the idea of saving cost on the website that IS the problem. Most people I design for say they have “no idea” how to develop a website, and then once the contract is signed, all of a sudden they dictate how the website should be built. That is not how any professional trade should be, yet with design, it is all too commonplace, and almost expected. You don’t tell a doctor how to remove your appendix though, right? more “The Lie About SEO…Unfortunately”
I belong to a website called Alignable, and how often do I hear small business owners complaining about “not getting ranked” and how all the “big business” is killing small business. After a while, your humble narrator has to jump in and open a can of whoop ass. Maybe you will find this interesting, as what I wrote seems to be generating muchos buzz about it on the site itself. more “The Most Common Misconception About “Web Magic””
The scams on us creative types never ceases to amaze me. We are often seen as people bordering homelessness who will do any “make money quick” scheme, as long as it involves being creative.
This is just an overview of a phone conversation I had this evening with someone trying to work that shtick.
First of all, the guy owns a real estate company, which should have been my first clue that the lines were about to get greasy. He said he had a bunch of videos he needed to edit which had “great potential” to make a lot of money for individuals. So basically, he was saying he had a “gimmick”, like he was a motivational speaker of some sort. Mind you, I have never heard of this guy. He said he knew someone I used to work with that “praised” my ethics, and got the referral from them. Ethics were pretty high in demand for this guy, because he said he could really “monetize” on these videos. Of course, I have learned to interpret this over the years as follows: “I want someone who has some ethics, because I don’t have many myself.” more “I’m A Creative, Not An Idiot”
I recently watched this Abbott & Costello video, and figured out the math some clients try to use on creative people. Go ahead and watch it…I’ll wait.
Now you see what happened there? At the time, it makes perfect sense. And most clients who utilize our services talk about how they aren’t making enough to afford your regular rates. Since you are tired of eating Ramen and Peanut Butter and Jelly every day, you think to yourself, “At least some money is better than none.”
You give in. You want to be seen as the nice and understanding one, and quite frankly, rent is due. You think, “Gee…Maybe I will get some exposure, and then the money will roll in.”
Clients count on this. While they go shopping at Whole Foods, get $120 hair cuts, and go home to a house with a view of the city, you are in your one bedroom apartment eating Ramen and Peanut Butter and Jelly. more “Creative Folk: You Are Worth It”
Recently, someone tried to scam me. I figured I would let all of my friends and anyone who is interested in on the joke. I immediately knew it was a scam, but I figured I would go for the slam dunk on it, since I like to mess with their heads. Yes, everyone thinks I am a nice guy…And there is a reason…It’s because I can handle my shit, and I do not crack under pressure. 🙂
This is a derivation of the Nigeria 419 scam, and it has been duly noted on the interwebs. I am just putting the knowledge out there so you and others can be aware…Plus, I love to display how I mess with these folks.
The first email I received: more “Dear Fellow Business Owners”
It is common for most of us creative types who do work in this field for a living to talk about our “clients from hell”. This may scare some of the new creative people who are up and coming. Look…The reason why we only talk about our “clients from hell” is because it is funny. And really, if you don’t laugh at some of these people, you’ll only end up kicking the cat…And it really isn’t the cat’s fault. Some people just don’t have social skills, and you will find that in any career.
So I would like to say that since I have been doing independent design and video for people in the Central Texas Area and beyond since the beginning of this millennium, I have had only FOUR clients from hell…So in the greater scheme of things, I have had a really good run at this business. But, the main reason why I have a really good run in this business is because of the attitude I bring to the table.
Most confrontations can be avoided if you look at the client like a person. I know! In this day and age! But trust me, they are people. Oftentimes, us creative types forget that. Yes, I am saying that WE have a responsibility in this. If all you are dealing with are “clients from hell”, you may want to think about how you are treating the people you are dealing with.
So it’s 2:23 in the AM, and that can be pretty dangerous for me as well as others…Thank goodness no one else is here. Well, my cat isn’t too happy. But I will share with you some of the thoughts that runs through a creative person’s head at 2:23 in the AM…Oh, make that 2:24.
And that’s Central Standard Time, in case you were wondering.
I think the biggest complaint we ever receive is this: “I gave some so-and-so guy/girl so many thousands of dollars and they still haven’t built my website yet!”
And then who do they give a hard time about it? You guessed it. Us. Or someone else like us. Either way, it’s wrong.
So I am writing this both for the people who do these sorts of things, and the people who need to be on the lookout for these sorts of things.
I don’t really believe that the people who are taking people’s money with the promise of a product are actually designers. I think they SAY their designers, but I don’t think they really are. Scam artists, maybe, but not designers. If they are designers, what a designer needs is a portfolio. If they are just taking people’s money and not building up their portfolio, they will not be carrying on this scam for long. With web-trends changing all of the time, their stuff will start to look dated, and they won’t be able to get the pay off they used to. One of these cases involves a friend of mine who worked for months to get a small business loan, and they gave a supposedly reputable designer $2000 to get started on her site. That was over 5 years ago. She still has nothing to show for it. I’ll tell you why later. Now, $2,000 may not have been much to this jerkwad, but it was everything to her. And you know what? I know who this guy is! He was more concerned with being a rock star and being “seen” then he was in having some integrity. In his eyes, she may have been a “nobody”, and people do think this guy is awesome, so he probably thought it didn’t matter. In fact, you often hear people like this saying, “Yeah, I got the money, but she kept calling me and bothering me about the site. I don’t need that in my life!”
We know. We have all been there. You want to develop a portfolio. You want to get your work recognized. You want to excel in your field so you can be set when you graduate. But I am here to appeal to you from your future. Stop under-cutting those of us working in the field.
Now, you might say, “Pfft! Of course he is going to say that. He’s not in my shoes. He’s already in the business.”
Well, you’re right. I’m trying to pay bills, have a life, afford gas…But I am telling you that YOU are going to be doing this in the future. And you are soon going to hear “Why should I have you do it when I can get a student to do it for next to nothing?”
That is when it becomes real. When your rent is due. When your bills need paid. When you want to go out on a date on a Saturday night. When you should be a self-sufficient adult. By under-cutting those people working in the field, you are under-cutting your own future in this business. That is what they don’t teach you in school. So I am going to try and teach you Designing Life 101 right here.
I suppose the first issue I want to tackle with this thing is how “cheapened” the creative world has become. Whoa, Phil…Them’s some strong words. Well, maybe…But it’s true. Especially when you put it into a certain perspective…Which is the point of this entry and having an opinion.
I suppose I will preface this by saying this is only my opinion, and I am not trying to pass it off as fact as so often many bloggers do. That being said, let’s move on.
As I peruse the web, there are many sites out there claiming that “you, too, can be a designer in a just a few simple steps!” which is a bunch of crap. I think this philosophy started with the idea that “everyone’s a winner” in the 90’s, when even the last place teams got a trophy for “trying”. You know what last place did to people like me: It made us look for something we were actually good at. That’s the heart of the argument here. Technology has watered down the whole concept of the creative process. What takes me and many of my colleagues thought and hours to create, there is now an “app” for that…Giving people the illusion of being “creative”. But just because your iPhone has an app to give photos a certain look and feel to them, there is nothing creative about it. If anything, the phone is creative…The person who created the app is creative…The person is merely an observer of art.